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Polemicist – Return of the Sophist

Return of the Sophist
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 July 2021, 11:27 AM

POLEMICIST is a Dark Metal band based out of Philadelphia, PA, USA. Their newest album here is described as “the ancient story of Chaerephon going to the Oracle at Delphi on a mission for wisdom.” The album contains eight tracks. “Dithyramb” leads off the album. It’s a short, one-and-a-half-minute mood setting track, complete with some female vocals and electronic and symphonic elements in the background. “The Way to Delphi (Chaerephon’s Journey)” features more of those traditional Black Metal elements…a wall of guitars, screechy vocals, and some odd and eerie sounds. The drummer goes into light speed mode at some point. “The Cave of Gaia” is oddly similar, with some dissonance in the guitars, and more of those eerie tones. The eerie tones give the song a harrowing quality that is hard to quantify.

“Epistemology Reduced to Absurdity” feature more of those harrowing sounds on full display. The meter shifts here and there, at the hands of careful songwriters. They pay attention to the details here, and it shows. A guitar solo rounds out the unusual sound. “The Delphic Temple Part I - Consulting the Pythia” is a five-minute track, beginning with a thick wall of guitars, and some thunderous drums. It settles into a groove, with some odd piano notes, combining with deep, dark vocals. “The Delphic Temple Part II - The Oracle's Response” sounds quite similar to its predecessor. These are the meaty tracks on the album. Lead guitars mix in, creating these wonderful layers. “The Delphic Temple Part III - The Resolution” is an under-two-minute closing to “The Delphic Temple.” It features some vocals chanting, and some odd instrumentation.

“Hemlock” closes this unique album. More of those eerie tones dominate the background, while the foreground is full of guitar layers. This song has an Egyptian tone to it from the chord progressions. It gains steam steadily throughout, ending on a big crescendo. Overall, this was quite a unique Black Metal album, that embraces darkness like no other. The traditions are still there, but they experiment with other elements, including some meter shifting that isn’t often heard in the genre. The band are considerate songwriters, not willing to rest on their laurels and just put out another Black Metal album. This is some really good stuff here.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Dithyramb
2. The Way to Delphi (Chaerephon's Journey)
3. The Cave of Gaia
4. Epistemology Reduced to Absurdity
5. The Delphic Temple Part I - Consulting the Pythia
6. The Delphic Temple Part II - The Oracle's Response
7. The Delphic Temple Part III - The Resolution
8. Hemlock
Josiah Domico – Guitars, Vocals
Lydia Giordano – Guitars
Pendath – Drums, Keys/Synths/Samples, Backing Vocals, Acoustics
Jon Norberg – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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