Sound Advice: Polar Vortex, by Six of Swords
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Sound Advice: Polar Vortex, by Six of Swords

Debut EP from Toronto metalcore band Six of Swords is deceptively nimble for something so heavy.


The thing that is most surprising about Polar Vortex, the debut EP from death-inflected metalcore band Six of Swords, is not its heaviness, though the precise texture of the weight it conveys is something special. The way the record captures a sense of frigid labour, slogging through snow, the agony of frostbitten muscle makes it a tribute to the hard slog. What’s most startling about the EP, which will be released on Sorrow Carrier Records both digitally and on vinyl, is that while the tone has glacial depth, the songwriting remains nimble and devastating as a winter storm.

The recording has just the right amount of grit and filth, recalling the live-off-the-floor aggression of their 2014 rehearsal-space demo. There’s a ferocious spontaneity to the way the songs shift and writhe, undulating and tightening gradually here, or shifting with whipcrack mercilessness elsewhere. There is clear chemistry between the band members, a kind of battle-born trust, that gives these moments a bloody, breathless glee.

There’s no hellfire in the pit that the vocals on Polar Vortex issue from, only an abyssal chill. The buzzing guitars conjure the whirling chaos of a blizzard. There is a bleakness here, a landscape that is innately hostile. If you’re looking for something that will simultaneously make you feel like you have icicles in your heart and are also a frost giant bent on destruction, Polar Vortex is perfect.