Sydney hardcore band N*ntendo Police (now known as N-Police) have returned with a new album after having not really existed for 11 years! The disc is offering ten tracks in total... a few re-worked, re-recorded versions of older songs, and a swag of new material. The tunes are super inspired and super great. The album isn't just hardcore as there is a bunch of interesting, playful shit going on with different styles and ideas being thrown around, heck even the artwork is fantastic. Standout tracks are definitely the title track "Artificial Suns" which is the band at their most straight up punk rock, and the instrumental album closer "Bladerunner" which is the band at their most creative. The lyrics also deserve special mention. I've always thought of vocalist Dave Seet as a genius having read his poetry and other writings released in various zines over the years, and that same genius most definitely applies to N-Police lyrics. His words come across as so effortless, but at the same time are potent as heck, smart and when combined with the rest of the wicked, charged jams on this disc the whole effort paints crazy murals in my mind.
The founding members of N-POLICE (formerly known as N*NTENDO POLICE) Diamond Rex and Shogun have been kicking around the Australian hardcore scene since the mid 1990’s, firstly as members of N-POLICE from 1996-2000 and then in various other bands around the Sydney scene. Artificial Suns is their new release which features some reworked older tracks and some brand new songs.
Due to the vast length of time that the songs have been written over (and more than likely the band’s range of influences – BAD BRAINS, DAVID BOWIE and ‘cock rock’ to name just a few) there is a lot of diversity to be found on the album. Quite often even within the same track the sound swaps back and forth through a couple of different styles, much like a boxer switching between a standard and southpaw stance during a fight. This is evident and really well executed on the track Hell’s Gates which starts off as a demonic MISFITS type arrangement (“Hell’s Gates – can’t wait”) before being completely flipped on it’s head and morphing into a RUSH-style towering anthem, complete with a soaring chorus. Just when you think you’ve got the answers, they change the questions. If the N-POLICE mission with this album was to squeeze as many heavy rock variations as possible into 10 tracks they have achieved their goal and then some.
Jumping between different musical styles is a consistent theme with Artificial Suns but rather than detracting anything in the way of quality the variety actually adds another element to the collection of songs. The band’s versatility is propelled to the forefront so that is sits side by side with the music itself. Other highlights include the old school 1980’s hardcore inspired Doomed and My Story, the thrashy guitar riff and angsty sneering lyrics (“You’re not the one, you’re done") of Female and the swaying indie rock singalong of the title track Artificial Suns. The band shows yet another side of themselves with finale Bladerunner, a proto punk instrumental that ends the LP with a futuristic blast.
This is either a CD designed to announce the comeback of one of Sydney’s premier hardcore bands after a long hiatus or a memento compilation of tracks that act as a full stop and a gift for the loyal fans. Whichever road the band decides to go down they have produced a commendable and vastly diverse album well worth a spin.