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Taking Balfour: Dawn of Polaris

Taking Balfour is a Canadian progressive rock band comprised of Spencer Gill on lead vocals, Noah Anderson on guitars and backing vocals, Orion Park on bass, Tim Paty on drums, and Zachary Culp on keyboards and samples.

Out of the bat, Taking Balfour is not a progressive rock band, perhaps Prog-related like many other new heavy alternative/hard rock bands, those same bands that absorb some Prog elements from their music influences and smartly incorporate them into their compositions and execution, but their music isn’t progressive enough to be labeled as such. Dawn of Polaris is their sophomore studio album and an evident step up from their 2020 self-titled debut (perhaps because of some line-up changes) a band now starting to find their own sound.

I hear influences from Tool, Faith No More, Korn, Primus, and some late Rush, with vocals that at times remind me of a cross between Mike Patton (FNM) and Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys, with a heavier approach though.

A nice and short instrumental passage opens the album leading the way to the driving percussion and metallic riffing of “Neptune”, one of the highlights here. “The Watcher and The Witness” and “The Awakening” are both ok, far from the best material on the album, too mundane or too Nu Metal and grungy sounding, to my ears…

The opposite happens with “The Jester’s Fool” and “Polaris”, two really good songs with a little complexity added and a few noticeable arrangements, that’s the authentic sound I related to on my opening lines, songs that sound like Taking Balfour, its own tonality and even some experimentation. “Touch and Go” is an instrumental that doesn’t do much, is there and sounds good, even appealing at times, but it feels more like filling material, and the follow-up “Lightyears Away” isn’t that much better either, a mellow song that will bring the listener to those Incubus-STP-FNM mid nighties era, with a more modern sound that incorporate some retro sounding keyboards that unfortunately fall short in their quest to be enhancers. But then we encounter the icing of the cake, the best two songs of the entire album in “T.O.A.D.” and “Purge of Darkness”. The first one kicks off with a catchy, fat, and funky bass lines that are later joined by great guitars and keyboards, perhaps the most progressive minutes of the album showing that the band is eager to step into more challenging territory, and I think that’s the path they must follow simply because that’s how they sound their best. The last song is my favorite and I feel they left the best for last. The intricate guitars and percussion, followed by the deep sounding bass, bring that unique sound that starts to feel like a footprint for what’s to come, something I’m looking forward to… the downside to this good song? … the cowbell! Why? Well… maybe it’s just me who feels it shouldn’t be there… cheers!

Track Listing:
  1. Echoes (0:39)
  2. Neptune (4:08)
  3. The Watcher and The Witness (3:47)
  4. Awakening (3:35)
  5. The Jester’s Fool (5:18)
  6. Polaris (6:54)
  7. Touch and Go (1:37)
  8. Lightyears Away (5:18)
  9. T.O.A.D. (4:28)
  10. Purge of Darkness (5:10)

Added: September 3rd 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 394
Language: english

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