ALBUM REVIEW: Dreams & Realities I​ – Polymerase

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After venturing on many psychedelic and kaleidoscopic trips, the Filipino psychedelic stoner trio POLYMERASE have distilled their experiences and turned them into heavy, hazy riffs that will knock you into the obscure dreamworld. Emerging from Quezon City, the second most populous city in The Philippines, they have created a brand of stoner rock that effortless blends the grungy psychedelics of KYUSS, the darkness of BLACK SABBATH, and the strangeness of SLEEP. Dreams & Realities I manifests the lucid and fluid ideas that formulated in these strange dreams and brings them into reality. With a surprisingly robust and cohesive narrative behind it, the album encourages you to embody the astronaut adorning its cover and to enjoy your trip.

One of the more interesting things about this album is the inclusion of instrumental versions of the songs in between the songs with lyrics and vocals. Yet with that in mind, it somehow gives Dreams & Realities I an interesting conceptual strength, as musical ideas are introduced through the instrumental versions before you hear the songs with lyrics and visa versa. It’s essentially musical foreshadowing, which is unique in this genre. On one hand the instrumental versions effortlessly slot into the album but on the other hand it could be considered filler by some. Either way, POLYMERASE have taken the time to layer their songs with a wonderful depth, and with both vocal and instrumental tracks side by side you can really pick up on the smaller nuances of the album.

As a result of this, it is very easy to get lost within the album’s progressive grooves and swirling riffs. It is one of those rare occasions when you can hear a band’s influences but that’s all they are, POLYMERASE have certainly trodden their own path when it comes to stoner, adding more metal elements into their music, notably a prominent double kick drum that rattles of bursts of percussive machine gun fire and a cannons tom blast from time to time throughout the album. At multiple points during Dreams & Realities I you find yourself zoning out because of the hypnotic, traditional psychedelic effects that are wrapped around the main lead melodies. Combined with the desert fuzz and steady beats, you find yourself drifting across a strange planet with a magnitude of colourful fungi and fauna, your mind truly escaping the realms of reality. One thing that POLYMERASE have certainly managed to do brilliantly is formulate and bring their dreamy ideas to fruition.

Outside of the conceptual magic, what may strike people about this album is the use of screamed vocals on what sounds like a traditionally psychedelia-based stoner record. With the aforementioned metal influences coming into play, it’s refreshing to hear harsh vocals doused in reverb bringing some bite to the usual chilled out, mumbled vocals of stoner rock. It adds an interesting dynamic and in some minds the juxtaposition of them may serve as a conceptual point of conflict; to elaborate, not everything in POLYMERASE’s dream world is as it seems. The band’s sound is quite refreshing in that sense, it is clear to hear that they have enjoyed experimenting on this album and it has all come together wonderfully cohesively.

The album opens up with Space Carousel, and the Apollo 11 sample really sets the tone for the spacey adventure you’re about to embark on. A dynamic bass groove and steady drum beat gives the illusion that you’re venturing far away from the earth, while short guitar sparkles emulate the glowing stars that you’re passing by. The Sage is the song of our protagonist, the astronaut that looks courageously up at the space monster on the album’s cover. This high-learned individual is looking to survive on a hostile planet, and the song’s dynamic shifts between dreamy yet tense psychedelia to rattling metal sections make you feel that the fate of the astronaut can go either way.

Evil Hand feels like a moment of realisation at the inherent evil around you, as the melancholic melodies float over chaotic drums. Possibly the most aggressive track on the album is Blade Of The Demon God and it comes thrashing out the gates like early MASTODON. Hulking stoner riffs and dramatic vocals make the song feel like the concept’s battle scene – it completely abandons the psychedelics for a ballistic metal assault. The instrumental versions mimic this action but the lack of vocals does give you a different perspective on each track.

POLYMERASE are certainly an interesting band with a refreshing take on the stoner genre, and it feels like something awesome may be brewing in Quezon City. Dreams & Realities I is a rich, layered, intriguing and immersive listening experience that helps you forget the confines of reality for a short while, which is always wonderful.

Rating: 7/10

Dreams & Realities I - Polymerase

Dreams & Realities I is set for release on February 3rd via Electric Talon Records.

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The post ALBUM REVIEW: Dreams & Realities I​ – Polymerase appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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