REVIEW: “The Mortal Coil” by Polaris

“The Mortal Coil” is Polaris‘s debut full length album and the follow up to the bands 2013 debut EP “Dichotomy” and 2016’s EP “The Guilt & The Grief”. Hailing from Sydney, Australia the band have joined an elite group of bands from that area of the World who are in a rich vein of form – Northlane, In Hearts Wake and Amity Affliction to name just three. So where are Polaris at? Well, interestingly they describe themselves as a Metalcore band – and while this is true to a point – there is a Tech-Metal heart that beats inside the band. Throughout “The Mortal Coil” there are Tech-Metal flourishes that add an extra dimension and an extra layer to the bands sound. Indeed the brilliant “Consume” is a Tech-Metal track in it’s entirety. Polaris are more of the bastard son of While She Sleeps and Periphery than any thing else.

The album kicks off with single “Lucid” which contains the aforementioned Tech-Metal flourishes while throwing in breakdowns and solos to make for a solid opening track. Follow up “The Remedy” drops the Tech-Metal element but has a delicious hook which most bands would be proud to have on one of their songs while also highlighting the clean vocals from bassist Jake Steinhauser which are in stark contrast from the unclean bark of frontman Jamie Hails. “Relapse” has an intro riff that belongs on the latter half of Periphery III, it’s that good and the song itself acts as a fine pace setter for “Consume” which follows it up and is probably the only song that is completely Tech-Metal from start to finish. Its a real highlight from the band and features lead guitar work that really is something else. By this point in the album, the material is really sharp and on point and guitarists Rick Schneider and Ryan Siew are delivering. Next up is “Frailty”, which is a quintessential Metalcore song. Riffs and breakdowns alongside both clean and unclean vocals from bassist Jake Steinhauser. The energy levels an intensity of the material at this point is really something else – something that is reflected in their live show, where it’s obvious that they love every second. Now it’s at this point that the pace drops with “In Somnus Veritas”. It’s a much slower tune but atmospheric and showcases another side to the band. This continues into “Dusk To Day” before “Casualty” returns to the pace of the earlier tunes. In terms of production, it’s a masterstroke to place the two slower tunes together mid-album and not simply throw them onto the end of the affair. “Casualty” is in the main another Tech-Metal track which also makes a play at atmospheres while maintaining that bounce factor. “The Slow Decay” is a fairly standard Metalcore tune but has a message and while it seems to be filler on first listen, it grows upon you after several. It’s follow up “Crooked Path” has much more going for it, returning to the sound of the earlier album, smashing together the Metalcore and Tech-Metal elements with a clean vocal sing-a-long chorus. Closer “Sonder” is a far more experimental piece that borders on progressive at times. It’s slow build to massive crescendos and then drop and restart makes for great listening. Indeed, the album is very much all killer-no-filler. Polaris are up there with Australia’s finest exports right now and a full debut this good can only mean further greatness in the future [5/5]

Tracklisting

1. Lucid
2. The Remedy
3. Relapse
4. Consume
5. Frailty
6. In Somnus Veritas
7. Dusk To Day
8. Casualty
9. The Slow Decay
10. Crooked Path
11. Sonder

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