Two years ago, Australian Progressive Metalcore act Polaris made waves with their debut full length album “The Mortal Coil” which took vocalist Jamie Hails, guitarists Ryan Siew and Rick Schneider, bassist Jake Steinhauser and drummer Daniel Furnari around the Globe several times. A relentless touring schedule meant that we have seen them rise from supporting We Came As Romans at Camden Underworld to supporting Architects at Wembley SSE Arena in that time, such has been their meteoric rise with that album. As Wage War said they felt the pressure to follow up their hugely successful album “Deadweight“, Polaris said the same and so now “The Death Of Me” is finally here after a trio of pre-release singles, we’re keen to see what they’ve done with the opportunity.
Polaris are known for their ability to blend Metalcore elements with Tech-Metal infusions, Math Rock moments, emotive hooks and catchy leads. Opening cut “Pray For Rain” doesn’t disappoint on any of those things with an epic ambient start building into their full on. There are obvious comparisons with the aforementioned Wage War with the sounds of this one, it’s Tech-Metal parts and off DJent groove bounce being typical of their best work, but it also breaks up that side with some ambient electronics and impressive Progressive riffs, the likes of which we heard on their previous album and in particular on “Consume“. The second single and first song from this album to be heard live was “Hypermania” which takes an interesting turn with an injection of fun and a freer feel that sees the band shed some of the shackles of what you’d consider to be their sound and plays something less technical and with plenty of groove in it. The first single to be released properly was “Masochist” which again strips down the bands core sound a little bit, which was their intension according to various interviews at the time of its release and instead showcases some bigger melodies. As with a fair amount of lyrical content from Polaris, it deals with issues around depression, anxiety and loss with a contrast of styles not too far away from We Came As Romans.
Taking something of a Slipknot influence and building on it, “Landmine” changes direction and ups the tempo and energy with some big chug and chant moments and some decent crunchy riffs. It goes down as one of the stand out moments, not just because of its heavier approach but because it’s got that adrenaline rush feel that will come across very well live. It’s chalk and cheese on comparison with “Masochist” and if you heard both in isolation you might struggle to say they were the same band. The oddly title “Vagabond” which could be re-titled “Shades Of Monochrome” is a step back from the heavier sound of the previous track, the band instead investing in a Stadium Metal track with plenty of sing-a-long quality and the same fun feel as “Hypermania“. It’s an interesting deviation with an impressive solo and a well worked experiment that pays off. It will probably end up being a single. Returning us to the Polaris core sound with “Creatures Of Habit“, a bright and Progressive Metalcore cut with aggresive tendencies that keeps things flowing nicely, it becomes clear that the experiments have been kept apart in the order of the album as a whole. It’s dark spoken word and diving groovy tones are a fine representation of where this quintet are at. The very We Came As Romans sounding “Above My Head” with its bright clean chorus and equally bright lead riffs is another one with a huge sing-a-long quality and will go down well in the live arena without being too far removed from their sound.
The opening of “Martyr (Waves)” is reminiscent of older Silverchair material and has a big rock vibe with an orchestral backing that takes things in a different direction with its dynamic. By this point in the record it becomes clear that this is less off a record than “The Mortal Coil” was and more a collection of songs recorded at the same time. It will grab some fans while grow on others over multiple listens. “All Of This Is Fleeting” steps up from the previous cut and has “Holy Hell” era Architects moments in it as well as a brutal breakdown section in the later half before it’s final aching verse. Last cut “The Descent” takes up the slack and opens in a heavier direction to the previous track with an off DJent riff orientation and plenty of chug as Hails roars throughout. There are a couple of dissonant moments and nuanced intricacies that slow things down before the final verse punch back that add a charm bracelet to a posh frock and Polaris have conjured a fine album that cements their reputation. It might not be a Technical or Progressive step up, but it is a good time [8/10]
Pray For Rain
Creatures Of Habit
Above My Head
All of this is Fleeting
“The Death Of Me” by Polaris is out now via SharpTone Records