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Album Reviews : Polaris – The Guilt and the Grief

By on January 27, 2016

polaris-the-guilt-and-the-griefIn an age of music, particularly metal,  which is constantly evolving, it’s always great to see bands and musicians taking risks, experimenting and aiming to create a niche of their own. Sydney’s very own Polaris are an example of this, with the release of their sophomore EP ‘The Guilt and the Grief‘. The EP begins on a very strong note with the crushing sounds of  ‘Regress‘, the first single that was released. It is quite the crowd-pleaser so to speak, with an extremely catchy groove, perfectly-timed breakdowns and the guitars teasing the listener in between with a few melodies. Jamie Hails has some serious vocal chord action taking place throughout switching from pretty hectic harsh vocals to those high-pitched screams; not something I’m personally fond of but it seems to work, especially given the chorus on this track.  My favourite part on this one and the release in general, would be midway through the song as this massive breakdown hits but transcends all too suddenly into a really unexpected section of ambiance which makes for a really interesting listen.

Track number two continues this pace but proves to be more rhythmic. This band’s strong point are the harmonies and the guitar tone that they use in among the heavier elements which may seem generic but at the same time, keeps you tuned in.  ‘Unfamiliar‘ follows with a little bit of a different vibe from the first two, consolidating that clean vocals are the way to go along with the spurts of ambient soundscapes. ‘Voiceless‘ is probably my pick of the record for its very groove-laden quality, eerie tune and that unpredictable yet effortless switch from harsh to cleans which really keeps things smooth and fluid. What’s even better throughout this EP, is that creative placing of ambient parts that really balance out the rest of the band’s sound.

The intro on ‘No Rest‘ is a definite winner for me and also given the fact that it is a more mellow and somber track, it has a very soothing vibe throughout, except for when the chorus kicks in and things get heavy again. From that aspect, what I like about this band is that they do know how to make an individual track really interesting – there’s that unpredictability when it comes to instrumentation and the general song arrangement. But taking the EP as a whole, for all it’s strong points, my main gripe with the album is the repetitive nature of the music. For someone that barely listens to the hardcore/metalcore genre, listening to this with a completely unbiased view, it did feel at times like there was a certain structure that they are going with on every song. This may or may not be the case, but that being said, it is a strong effort by such a young and upcoming band who definitely know what they want.

Marcus Bridge of Northlane fame features on the final track of this album, ‘Hold You Under‘ which moves at a relatively fast pace but tones down again with the clean vocals. Right from the start, it is clear that Polaris are a very passionate group of lads that have invested not just time, money and effort into this but a lot of feeling and emotion too. There’s heaps of highs and lows on the album that do reflect in the music as well as the lyrics and really bring out what the band is trying to express through this EP. By highs I mean the pleasant, melodic ambient sections that you can’t help but sway a little too before the more hard-hitting parts come in and make your brain rattle inside your skull. Definitely a band to keep an eye on in the coming days – catch them at one of their upcoming shows with Stories, Belle Haven and Perspectives.

About

Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.