Live Review: Polaris w/Silent Planet, Thornhill & Paledusk at O2 Forum Kentish Town!

It may sound like a cliché but having followed from the meteoric rise of Loathe and Harbinger on Metal Noise since 2017, the next band on that list is Australian Progressive Metalcore outfit Polaris. We’ve followed them since the pre-release singles for “The Mortal Coil” dropped, witnessing them at venues that have gradually increased in size with each time they returned. We chatted to them at the merch stand when they joined We Came As Romans on the “Cold Like War” tour run and then again at UK Tech-Fest in 2018. Witnessing them alongside Northlane on the “Alien” tour on “The Death Of Me” run was a special moment as were the arena shows they played with Architects. After the tragic death of Ryan Siew to see them having the strength to carry on in his name is a thing of beauty and tonight’s sold out show at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town London is a testament to how far they’ve come with “Fatalism“…

A change in the door times at the 11th hour means that not as many get to witness Japanese crew Paledusk [8/10] in full as they might have hoped but those who do are instantly converted to their eclectic ways. From Metalcore to J-Pop EDM and Nu-Metal to Industrial music their palette is rich in variety and most of it rammed into every single one of their sonic creations. Like their ancient ancestors Mad Capsule Markets, it’s the sense of fun they bring with them that makes their sound so damn addictive, as they leap in death defying fashion from a sickly sweet video game bridge to a mosh part like a high end sports car going from zero to sixty on the open highway. Their rumbling bass causes the ground the shake beneath our feet as the four piece rattle through their tunes, from “Black Ice” to “Palehell” and “Slay!!” accompanied by a blinding light show, the only limit the depth of our imagination.

The Deftones inspired “Obsession” may only be four days old but it’s deep grooves are adored by the packed house who came out to witness Thornhill [9/10] in full effect. The crash cymbals get obliterated during the performance with Jacob Charlton on fire vocally, a spellbinding moment in the centre of “Raw” seeing the lights turned up for a sing-a-long. It’s the beauty and the beast within this band that make them almost too hot the handle with slab after concrete slab of crushing riffs alongside monsterous bass making way for the soaring clean vocal moments before everything comes crashing down once more. Tonight “Casanova” is nothing short of majestic before the stunning  grand finale that is “Where We Go When We Die” brings the curtain down in style. How many bands that aren’t headliners get a standing ovation followed by chants of “one more song“?

It might seem crazy but Garrett Russell refers to Silent Planet [9/10] as “a small band from California who are lucky to be able to play a venue this size in London” between songs early on and his humility is a heart warming touch during a set that oozes class. Spine juddering riffs cut deep against his bare footed emotive performance, a cathartic release that frees him from inner demons that torment his soul, the bombastic bass lines putting bounce in the pit as crowd surfers are handled by security. A screen behind the band displays arty footage of nature and science as the band play cuts like “Offworlder“, “Antimatter” and “Panic Room” which all sound huge, the mix nailed by whoever is at the desk. The power of the repeated line “it’s always red, the static in my head!” in closer “Trilogy” is the icing on the cake of this captivating performance, resonating with all those who have known dark thoughts.

Welcomed to the stage like the returning heroes that they are Polaris [10/10] play through a set from “Harbinger” to “Masochist“, stopping only for “Lucid” from the album that started their international journey. Tonight just so happens to be the biggest headlining show the five piece have played outside of their native Australia and so when “Nightmare” finds the entire audience singing the choruses without any orchestration, it’s truly spine tingling moment. A venue sized circle pit goes off for a punchy rendition of “Landmine“, stuccato riff breaks and a flamboyant solo perfectly executed. Chants of Ryan Siew’s name have been drifting around the venue between each song and the inevitable moment comes before a stunning rendition of “Martyr (Waves)” for a heart felt speech. Vocalist Jamie Hails delivers it eloquently before breaking down for a moment, so much so that drummer Daniel Furnari has to step down from the kit to console him. A special tear jerking moment and a fitting tribute, it will be something that lives long in the memories of all those who witnessed it. Rather than use a backing track the Progressive Metalcore merchants have brought a second guitarist who remains humble and stays out of the limelight, a masterstroke that ensured that the integrity of their live performances is maintained without anyone being seen as a replacement for their fallen brother. Put simply, it feels too soon and while the show must go on, there is plenty of time for someone new to be officially announced. “Parasites” gets the bodies swaying like marionettes once more, the mosh pit violence mirroring the bands on stage antics before things come to a close. A triumphant return to England’s green and pleasant land from our Australian friends and one of Progressive Metalcore’s finest purveyors, tonight was very special indeed.

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