In the mid-1990s, Fear Factory introduced a series of tropes into the metal canon that …
Sydney metal giants Polaris have always been an innovative band, and their place at the forefront of a new breed of Australian metal has been secure for some time now.
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But with new album The Death Of Me Polaris has achieved something cutting-edge, emotionally affecting, and uniquely heavy.
Opener Pray For Rain begins on chiming, swelling notes before vocalist Jamie Hails’ harrowed scream shatters the calm. Staccato riffing acts as a fuse to the bombastic, djent-affected power of the band in full breath, cribbing the rocky mathcore of The End and the searing futurism of Bring Me The Horizon. Hypermania spits with the scorned rock’n’roll swagger of Every Time I Die and dense technicality takes a back-seat to fist-pumping metalcore fight music. The lyrics seethe with post-fun cynicism, and nasty little gems litter the verses.
There are moments of depth and cleverness that will warrant repeat listens and the explosive presence of the band is undeniable. This is the music people create that rattles your heart and then some.
Third track Masochist builds on the melodic metal sound of The Amity Affliction, the strong clean vocals from bassist Jake Steinhauser elevating the song to a potentially radio-wrecking level. Follow-up Landmine lands back in pummelling rhythmic territory, with feral hardcore riffs primed by frenetic drumming and soaring, precise leads. Vagabond crackles like an old record and hints a nu-metal bounce before unravelling a complex and transcendent rock song filled with nods to European prog-metal and tech-grooves. The brighter influences bring the song up over the rainbow and let the band paint with some new colours; while follow-up Creatures of Habit takes needlework guitars, evolving drums, and visceral screams to keep the disjointed polyrhythmic nucleus on a steady tack.
Polaris borrow from post-hardcore history to bring familiar angsty resonance to Above My Head and then upend the tone of the song with a weighty, percussive backbone before Martyr (Waves) recalls brilliantly the genre-bending hardcore of Thrice. Polaris brings a level of nascent rage to the sing-along chorus, and the sparkling production adds subtle depth. All Of This Is Fleeting contains some of the album’s busiest riffs and a frantic orchestration that pushes the song forward. The song features some of the most physically demanding vocals so far, with powerful melodic leads and threatening screams. Final track The Descent works as a distillation of the themes of the album that preceded, building outwards from fisticuffs-aggression to an unassailable grandeur. The longest track on the album, the song doesn’t really let up but it takes a little time to add all its ideas together until the song peaks and begins to deconstruct to its simplest forms.
The Death Of Me is a human, imperfect record in a tactile and compelling way. The technical finger-work feels necessary–vital–instead of simply showing how clever the guitarists are. The assured vocal delivery retains a kind of “fuck the world”—spirit with every line. There are moments of depth and cleverness that will warrant repeat listens and the explosive presence of the band is undeniable. This is the music people create that rattles your heart and then some.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Hypermania, Vagabond, All Of This Is Fleeting
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Periphery, The Amity Affliction, The End