Australia has always been one of the prime contributors to the metalcore community, right from the inception of the sub-genre. The country had the early torch bearers with the likes of Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction. A few years down the line, we got another bunch of hard hitting groovy monsters from down under with multiple acts such as Northlane, In Hearts Wake, etc. The stage was set for the third wave to come and take the metalcore community worldwide by a storm. Enter, Polaris.
The Sydney based quintet formed in 2013, and hit the radars worldwide with last year’s sophomore EP, The Guilt and the Grief. While the EP was not revolutionary in any way, the band showcased their skills by writing some genuinely catchy and well-structured songs. They quickly gained ground in the Australian metal community, and signed on to Resist Records (Australia) and Sharptone Records (USA). With the stage set for reaching new heights, Polaris are finally ready to release their first full-length offering with The Mortal Coil, once again showcasing their skills in crafting perfectly executed metalcore songs.
The album kick starts with “Lucid”, setting the tone for the entire record with a small drum intro that gives way to some heavy riffs, hard-hitting drum patterns and a massive chorus. The breakdowns midway through the track are bound to get the listeners jumping and grooving along for the rest of the album. The album’s lead single, “Consume”, shows all signs of becoming a staple part of the band’s live shows for years to come. The ambient intro leads the track before the frenetic riffs take over, which then in turn give way to Jake Steinhauser’s soaring chorus midway. These disparate sections switch without breaking a step. But the real gem lies in the propulsive rhythms of the second-half of the track, when a delicious Ryan Siew solo paves way for the grooviest outro one might ever come across. Another highlight on the record is “Dusk to Day”, differentiating itself from other songs on the album by being a bit slower and groovier in nature. This gives the listener a small but essential breather; up next, “Casualty” launches a full frontal sonic attack on the listener from the get go. Powered by a huge chorus and massive breakdowns, the track is bound to draw out impressive mosh-pits whenever it is played live.
What truly shines through the run time of The Mortal Coil is the cohesiveness of the musical performances by the members of Polaris. The combination of Rick Schneider and Ryan Siew brings in some classic hard hitting notes to The Mortal Coil, akin to what we got on Horizon from Parkway Drive, or, more recently, on All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us from Architects. Moreover, the guitarists shine individually, with Ryan Siew’s Periphery-esque tech riffs on“Relapse” and the surprising hints of groovy nu-metal on Rick Schneider’s chuggy riffs in “The Remedy”. Further, the vocal delivery is executed to perfection, with both vocalists stepping up their game from what was heard on The Guilt and the Grief. “The Remedy” is good example of the same, as the powerful screams of frontman Jamie Hails are perfectly supported by the silky clean vocals of bassist Jake Steinhauser.
It is not to say that the album is devoid of faults, with the most glaring being the lack of individual identity. As good the tracks might be, there is nothing on the 11 tracks here that you have not heard before. The midway breakdowns and growled/clean vocal transition have become the basic roots that define the genre, and The Mortal Coil clings to these building blocks all through its playtime. Secondly, with such a narrowed, well-focused sonic spectrum, the album does tend to become a tad monotonous and unsurprising towards the latter half.
Where The Mortal Coil and Polaris as a whole excel is in the passion and energy of the music. Hence, these songs come out as genuine and interesting, rather than as a mere musical clone of the veterans of the metalcore scene. Despite sticking to the very crux of the metalcore sound, Polaris do so with a dedication which is praise worthy, and which other upcoming bands should look up to.
Notable Tracks: “The Remedy”; “Consume”; “Casualty”
FFO: Parkway Drive, Northlane, Architects
To know where the band is touring next and to keep up with all future updates, you can follow Polaris on Facebook or Twitter. To purchase The Mortal Coil, head on to iTunes, Bandcamp or the band’s official website.