Polaris – The Death Of Me
Released: February 21st, 2020
Jamie Hails | Vocals
Jake Steinhauser | Bass/Vocals
Rick Schneider | Guitar
Ryan Siew | Guitar
Daniel Furnari | Drums
Okay. Okay! From the moment Polaris debuted their single ‘Hypermania’ live, we have been salivating so hard in anticipation of their sophomore album The Death Of Me. And I don’t know what to tell you, other than I’m an extremely excitable person, but I’m calling it right now – album of the year contender.
The Mortal Coil was their amazing debut effort, it was everything we hoped for following from their almost famous EP The Guilt & The Grief, but after The Death Of Me nothing will ever be the same. Because what we have with this sophomore offering is something more mature, progressive and darker even. They’ve overflowed their boundaries and with 2020 we’ve stepped into a new era of Polaris.
TDOM opens with ‘Pray For Rain’ and it’ll raise goosebumps as you take in the melodic opening with Jamie Hail’s strained screams. Intricacy is slowly added and the hype builds into the first drop. As the record’s first song, it showcases their technical skills more than ever and with some mature cleans it’s almost like they’re not trying as hard because brilliance has come so easily. This is a song that could even be an album closer. Very well delivered and structured.
If you’re looking for a super heavy track, ‘Hypermania’ is for you. No cleans, all screams. We even hear some screams from bassist/cleans Jake Steinhauser which is an exciting progression for him. And you know, if there were clean vocals they would detract from this sort of deranged groove they have going on. This track is heavy and manic and oh so great. Whereas the first single they released, ‘Masochist’ is a beautiful track. And you know what’s even more beautiful? Jamie’s cleans! Who knew! But anyway, this is one that has really hit home with so many people because of the lyrics: “And the only thing standing in-between happiness and myself / Was this depression I held so close to my chest / Am I addicted to the misery, is this how I’ll always be?” Mental health is a very real subject in music and the way they’ve portrayed this song is just plain impressive.
‘Landmine’ gives off some Slipknot vibes, something in the vocal delivery and the sliding riffs. But in all realness, this is 100% a live song. The thrashy breakdown is going to have people throwing down, the chanting of “Hey!” is a very purposeful (and smart) addition to involve the crowd even further. Basically ‘Landmine’ is an absolute landmine. It’s gonna blow up. Just as ‘Vagabond’ is, but in a totally different way. You haven’t heard anything like this from Polaris before, they’ve delved into the nu-metal/mainstream rock side of things but of course, it’s drenched in their own signature delivery. This is the kind of song that would get some more air time just because it’s (I really don’t want to say ‘mainstream’ but) slightly more mainstream. Don’t let that put you off! It’s a ripper.
Moving on to ‘Creatures Of Habit’ and the real stars here are the cascading riffs and Daniel Furnari’s brilliant drumming. This song is put together incredibly well – it’s just so well balanced; light and shade, heavy and melodic. The more you listen the better it gets. And both Steinhauser and Hails have really upped their vocal game with cleans and screams from both, even some spoken word which really raises the intensity. The versatility of all members in this band is ever astounding, and huge props have to go to guitarists Rick Schneider and Ryan Siew because their skills are to die for. Do we still call people virtuosos these days?
If you need one of those uplifting songs or one of those songs to push you through on that gruelling run or even to belt out emotionally in the car, ‘Above My Head’ is that song. It has grit, a great bridge and a timelessness that will withstand you playing it on repeat. And this leads into a lighter song, more of a palate cleanser which is ‘Martyr (Waves)’. Right here in the album, it calms you and brings you back to earth with a beautiful combination of cleans and screams, and atmospheric melodies. You know, if you have a friend that ‘doesn’t like’ metal, show them this one because I reckon this will be so many people’s gateway song.
And ohhh, I can feel the wall of death that’ll come with ‘All Of This Is Fleeting’. Feel it deep in my bones. And you know, it kind of sneaks up on you. On first listen it doesn’t seem like the song to have a super heavy breakdown, but stick with it past the chord heavy chorus, through the frantic verses and it’ll put you down good.
Finally we come to the closer. ‘The Descent’ has a sense of finality with a moody, doom and gloom atmosphere around it. Add this to your gym playlist for when you’re lifting heavy and listen out for that grooving, djenty riff. I appreciate a song that can last past the four minute mark and this one keeps on rolling over five minutes and with not a boring moment in sight. What a way to end this album. Powerful, emotive and riff heavy.
Polaris are one of those young Australian bands that we, as Australians, all feel proudly possessive of. They’re ours. They’re one of the best representations of Aussie metalcore right now, and they grew it right here. And when they started attracting international attention, it was like a proud parent moment. You know?
But I think with this album, they’ve turned the tide and they’re not wholly ours anymore. They’ve broken the mould and grown bigger, better, and we can’t hold them as close to us because we want them to grow and succeed on an international level. Polaris will always be Australian, and we’ll always be proud of them, but they belong to the world now.
Long live The Death Of Me.
Polaris – The Death Of Me tracklisting
1. Pray For Rain
6. Creatures Of Habit
7. Above My Head
8. Martyr (Waves)
9. All Of This Is Fleeting
10. The Descent