Last week, metalcore pioneers, NORMA JEAN, released their critically acclaimed and expectation-defying seventh full length, Polar Similar, via Solid State Records. To celebrate, the band has teamed with CLRVYNT magazine to premiere their music video for “Everyone Talking Over Everyone Else”.
Polar Similar is a daring release for Norma Jean, one that pushes their sound into new territory and redefines the band without ever sacrificing their core spirit. The video for “Everyone Talking Over Everyone Else” perfectly visualizes the dichotomy between Polar Similar‘s ferocious sound and vulnerable lyrics.
CLRVYNT magazine put it best saying, “For a lot of bands, the fire and excitement seems to die down by the second record, the group resorting to phoning in their following releases. But Norma Jean prove that, seven records in, they’ve produced arguably their best and most forward-thinking music to date.” For Norma Jean, the fire certainly hasn’t died, and ifPolar Similar is any indication, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
One in three women, one in four men have been assaulted by their partner. Twenty-four people are abused, stalked, and controlled every minute! if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, visit http://nomore.org for more information.
Sit and listen to the voices fade and sing again. Give them space to destroy it all and build again. Fill the space with the lies you shed and start again. Every sorrow every misery can and will be brought to life, if you put it in a story or a lie. Every sentence that you recognize. Every word of every kind but I was waking up, I was strong enough. Every in uential interview, I was in between the lies. But I was waking up, I am stronger now. Every picture every photograph, I was disappearing lines but I was showing up in the center of life. Every motion every point of view, I was always giving up but I have woken up every time of day.
Nearly twenty years since the band’s conception, Norma Jean has continued to throttle forward, proving that their legacy as musicians is not only deserved, but long-lasting. The consistency of Norma Jean’s tremor remains an immovable force, but on the band’s seventh full-length, Polar Similar, Norma Jean have taken risks sonically and lyrically, to create their most dynamic work yet.
First and foremost, Polar Similar is a reminder that Norma Jean is anything but rudimentary. “Sonically, we hoped to open minds to something different,” explains the band’s lead singer, Cory Brandan. “It seems like the world has found the cookie cutter, microwaved form of everything, and we pushed ourselves really hard to be something else.” Decisions like recording at Pachyderm Studio (the same studio where Nirvana recorded their boundary-pushing classic, In Utero) in Minnesota proves it. Each morning the band walked from the cabin to the backyard studio, turned on The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s isolation-themed thriller, and used the space’s legendary acoustics to record audio that would end up so powerfully raw, it would need no added effects.
Using the haunting chill of winter woods, the eerie acoustics from an indoor pool, and the unrelenting drive to capture natural, the band stayed put until their record—a vulnerable, haunting accomplishment—was complete. The finished product stacks itself atop an already impressive catalog of releases that yells just as powerfully, just as distinctly, and just as as profoundly as the ones preceding it. Polar Similar’s lyrical themes, however, set it apart.
Much of Polar Similar centers around abuse. Inspired by a tumultuous relationship Brandan experienced many years ago, this album is his most unguarded. “As a man, it wasn’t easy to face the reality of that abuse. Decades out of that relationship, I think it’s important to reach out to listeners who feel like I did then, who feel alone or different – like this has only happened to them – because the facts are one in three women and one in four men will find themselves in abusive relationships in their lives,” he explains. “It’s not just physical abuse either—physical abuse is the product of an already abusive relationship. The record deals with all this in emotional detail.”
From the track “Everyone Talking Over Everyone Else,” an anthem about clawing yourself out of the cave of abusive relationships, to the song, “A Thousand Years A Minute,” which looks inside self-harm, to “Reaction,” a song dealing with the struggle to reach victims, Polar Similar exposes—honestly and powerfully— the varied perspectives of relational abuse. Although each of Norma Jean’s albums are fastened together by unyielding talent and ingenuity, their seventh release does stand out in motive. “I hope fans can be reached through this,” notes Brandan. “It’s hard to know when you’re in an abusive situation; the most important thing is to know what the signs of abuse are and to take action.”
The making of Polar Similar in a secluded studio in the woods, however haunting, became a sanctuary for a twenty year legacy—one with the ability to build such mammoth sound as to reach the ears of those who need to hear it most. Inspired by their isolated setting, Norma Jean made a powerful record to remind listeners that they aren’t alone.