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Heavy Prog • Germany

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Polis biography
The quintet is inspired by the 70s psychedelic rock, blues, krautrock, and hard rock with the use of the Hammond B3 and vintage instruments. While their debut was more in the bluesy rock style, their latest album is more progressive. The music of their second album has a romantic atmosphere and on the third album, the band gets heavier and darker. We can hear influences from PINK FLOYD, STERN COMBO MEISSEN, and URIAH HEEP.

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POLIS discography

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4.00 | 7 ratings
4.00 | 7 ratings
3.95 | 17 ratings

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POLIS Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Weltklang by POLIS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 17 ratings

Polis Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nš 697

Polis is a German progressive rock band that was formed in 2010. The band comes from Plauen in Saxony and has set up its own studio there. Musically, the band moves in the area of the psychedelic krautrock, but without falling into hour-long jams. They evolved from the playful, bluesy progressive rock of their debut studio album "Eins" that was released in 2011, to a more epic and song focused sound with German poetic lyrics. After numerous gigs performed in Germany and abroad, airplay on Deutschlandradio Kultur, Radio R.S.A., Radio Unicc and Radio T and an elaborate record and video production, Polis released their successor and sophomore studio effort "Sein" in 2014, which in addition with an extra vocalist, approached this, introducing thereby more sense of romanticism and fragility into Polis music. The next and current third studio album of them follows this direction further being a bit harder and quite darker. It was recorded in the purpose built recording studio of the same name and mixed and mastered with Tim Oliver and double Grammy winner 2023 Oli Jacobs at England's Real World Studios, known as the creative home of Peter Gabriel.

Polis was formed as a quintet and has been playing with the same line up ever since their beginning. So, the line up on "Weltklang" consists of Christian Roscher (vocals), Christoph Kastner (backing vocals and guitars), Marius Leicht (keyboards), Andreas Sittig (backing vocals and bass) and Sascha Bormann (drums).

This German quintet embarked on a seemingly prophetic musical journey to the high goals of the prog rock music with German native language lyrics. Polis is a reminiscent of a legendary time, the time of the typical prog rock music from the East Europe. They make their music in a converted GDR factory building with instruments from that time. They see their studio, which they expanded, in the sense of any sound optimization and equipped with old GDR studio and radio technology, as the cornerstone of their album that has an affinity for the 70's sound. It feels as if the hard rock was meeting with blues rock, krautrock and psychedelic rock, but also flirting with art rock and symphonic rock, in order to merge all these styles and genres to create something original and well balanced with the labels of "retro" and "prog".

Polis was inspired by the aforementioned era and gives us a glimpse into that wonderful world with "Weltklang". The album is easy to listen to and the band does use solid pieces of rock. We are dealing with a freedom of music playing that you hear in many bands of the 70's, where flowing organ effortlessly transitions into guitar, vocal harmonies and other interesting ensemble playing. The vocals are in German, which makes the album sounds a bit different from many other bands in the genre. Each song has its own dynamics and comes across as natural, as if it just flows from the musicians rather than being a preconceived plan. It penetrates all pores of its listeners and also stimulates the senses.

"Weltklang" has eight tracks. The opening trio, "Tropfen", "Gedanken" and "Eine Liebe, Tausend Leben" delve deep into a vintage prog sound with a psychedelic bent and a hint of krautrock. "Tropfen" is a hard rock track with a 70's flavour with fuzzy guitars, bass and great keyboards. "Gedanken" is a very successful combination of progressive rock from the 70's and today with great harmony vocals, cool guitar and nice organ work. "Eine Liebe, Tausend Leben" is the longest piece on the album that gradually builds up in force. It has a synth opening and then a groovy and rocky section which leads into a fragile singing. "Abendlied" is, as the title indicates, a quiet lullaby piece, touching and a melancholic track. "Sehnsucht" is another piece with a heavy approach and also with some aggressive retro prog. It's dominated by a roaring Hammond organ sound. "Gebet" brings us another short piece different from "Abendlied". The chiming guitar work adds a deep intent to this track. "Steig Herab" has a great melody and nice vocals with a twist and superb harmony. It has a section led by dreamy piano with other instruments making sporadic appearances building up towards a kind of a climax. "Mantra" despite has partly an experimental character, it remains true to its structure. The ever growing atmosphere of the tribal drum and the dark harmony vocals closes the album out in a quite heady style.

Conclusion: With "Weltklang" Polis delivers a musically and technically demanding album. Musically deeply rooted in the 70's, Polis do their own thing with German lyrics and a mixture of krautrock, symphonic prog, psychedelic and 70's heavy rock in a refreshing and somehow in a modern way. The band takes sonic risks and everything seems very well thought out. Beyond the barrier of the German language and its more abrupt aspect, we discover here a collection respecting the codes of the time by offering a vintage and psychedelic rock well in phase with that of the 70's with, for example, a remarkable work at the organ. Thus, anyone who loves music between psychedelic and heavy, garnished with great melodies that catch the listener despite some jam passages, is right here. As a conclusion, we can say that "Weltklang" is a fine album from Germany, nostalgic and well done, which deserves to be checked by all prog lovers.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Weltklang by POLIS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.95 | 17 ratings

Polis Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars This is the third album from East German band Polis. Here is a group who sound very much as if this is an album from the Seventies from behind the Iron Curtain, down to the use of a real Hammond B3, vintage keyboards and amplifiers, and all lyrics in German. Apparently, they even used as much recording equipment from old GDR studios as possible to really give it the sound of something lost in time. The album itself is named after the studio where it was recorded, although it was mixed in Peter Gabriel's Real World studios. The vocals are very important to the overall sound, yet I found myself somewhat pleased they were in German and not English as it perfectly fits with the music.

Imagine Krautrock mixed with Canterbury and Uriah Heep, recorded more than 40 years ago, then one may just, just, get an idea of what this album is actually like. There are some wonderful choral passages, others where the music is more in your face, with strong bass and drums driving everything on. When German bands attempt to sound German they often come across as Teutonic Wagnerian with huge elements of Rammstein, but these guys are taking influences from bands such as Jane and possibly Birth Control. There is a great deal of space in the music, a relaxed style which is quite at odds with the hard sounds being produced. This is classic 70's progressive hard rock with plenty of other elements, and the result is something which is polished and full of class. This is my introduction to the band, but I am sure we are all going to hear quite a but more as this is an album which definitely needs to break out not only from their native Saxonia but far beyond the borders of Germany.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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