Having come across Aussie Metalcore newcomers Polaris during some of my more recent YouTube music video escapades, my anticipation for this review has already been heightened. It seems a number of vloggers share the same level of anticipation, as the reactions to the ‘Lucid’ music video have been very complimentary – see my retrospective article here for more details and links. Positive reactions aside, my general rule is to let the music speak for itself and not allow public opinions interfere with my verdict, so after listening to the album the first couple of times I made my own mind up and unsurprisingly I couldn’t argue with the critical praise this band has been receiving of late.
Opening with the previously mentioned ‘Lucid’, this is one of their strongest songs on the album and is a wise choice for one of the album’s promotional tracks. This is followed by ‘The Remedy’, another infectious song with plenty of hooky refrains and memorable anthemic choruses, both of which are evidently the band’s most prominent features.
For those who enjoy Metal with some added technical complexity, I would recommend ‘Consume’ and ‘Casualty’, both featuring rapid-fire melodic guitar riffs in tandem with ferocious, thundering percussion, including some intense machine-gun Djent rhythms and topped off with decent lead guitar solos for good measure. Once again, as with the majority of songs on this album, the anthemic clean vocals provide the hook during the choruses. Also worthy of technical merit is ’Relapse’ for its use of highly spasmodic guitar melodies.
‘Frailty’ is another excellent song, the title being lyrically appropriate here, though musically speaking ‘ferocity’ would be more accurate – the riffs are beastly!
‘Crooked Path’ and ‘Sonder’ up the emotional & musical intensity for the album’s close, with the former being more up-tempo, whilst the last song creeps along, growing increasingly venomous and darker in tone, culminating in its inevitable crescendo.
Apparent very early on during the first listen-through is the level of interplay between the highly emotional extreme vocals delivered with heaps of passion & conviction, against the lighter, more hopeful tone of the clean vocal choruses. One of Polaris’ main strengths is that during their relatively short tenure they have quickly understood and crafted a well-balanced structuring of the two vocal styles as they define the meandering emotive narrative of their lyrics. It’s not just the vocal styles that are well balanced either, as they have successfully applied intensity & heaviness against an uplifting, almost euphoric textural & melodic backdrop. There is even room for broody electronic interludes part-way through some of the songs, momentarily adding an ominous atmosphere.
It’s worth mentioning just how quickly these lads have gained notoriety after three years of hard graft on the touring circuit, before self-releasing their sophomore EP ‘The Guilt & The Grief’ to mass fan adulation and critical acclaim, then defying expectations with a Top 40 ARIA chart position, landing at the #34 position and earning 2nd position in the AIR polls, which by this point had grabbed the attention of a number of record companies. During this time, Polaris have toured with the likes of Hellions, Parkway Drive and Northlane, who are now label mates since the band have also penned a deal with Resist Records in their native Australia and an international deal with SharpTone Records. It has to be agreed that Polaris’ bright start is much deserved through hard work and whilst it’s believed that the stars that burn brightly are also the ones that tend to fade much faster, I’m sure many of their fans will be confident that, like the early expectations, these guys can defy those odds too and enjoy continued success through creativity for years to come – I certainly hope so.