It’s the best heavy album of 2020. We’re nearly half way through 2020 and im calling it. There’s a handful of real contenders (*wink wink* Make Them Suffer) and close followers already (looking at you Saviour) but after having listened to this album on the regular for a while now it is clear Polaris just have the edge and material to meet and take any challenger right now. I didn’t get around to reviewing this because i was too caught up in life at the time, so it was the soundtrack rather than the subject of work.
So here’s my reflections that no-one asked for..but im doing it anyway.
On first listens it was all about comparisons to the standout ‘Mortal Coil’ album, finding the reflections, improvements and departures. You understand what you hear now, in relation to what you heard before, so in a way it’s superior to the previous album just because it is new, similar and sometimes a different sound.
The dramatic Pray for Rain opens the album with an urgent and poetic passage screamed like a desperate rally to attention. The tease holds your ears hostage as the band incrementally joins the song. The sounds all build up and by the time that scolding hot riff drops you know it’s going to be a banger. (hottest riff on the album FWIW)
‘Hypermania’ is arguably the thrashier brawler track that is less about melodies and just sounding like a sledge hammer. The mid section holds a surprise switch up and whilst strong enough to warrant being released as a single, does well to steer away from familiar trends and delves into more off-road territory. I like the way guitars are playing with dissonance and Jamie sounds like he’s addressing a crowd rather than a controlled studio. It all feels unhinged and on the verge of meltdown.
‘Masochist’ was our first taste of the album and it’s a clear pick for the easiest and most immediate winner. The chorus is a hook, the verses are passionate and the bridge is just great. Nothing overly technical or abrasive..for them..just a good song. This is supported by the tune taking the #1 position on The Factions ‘Hardest 100 of 2019’. Clearly Australia agrees on this.
Where this album absolutely slayed me was on the unforgettable ‘Landmine’. They channel the Slipknot gods and bring about an avalanche of riffs, breaks and blast beats. The two step throwdown energy is big and I can’t get enough of it. It shows yet another evolution and progression for the band which is faultless. I adore the solo break and the way they drew that out to build anticipation for the next passage, rather than extending it for the ‘solos’ sake. The video which accompanied it also does a terrific job of matching the intensity and darkness. I mean if that closing shot doesn’t shock you, check your pulse. Possibly triggering, possibly too much…definitely arresting and easily in line with the weight of the song.
‘All Of This Is Fleeting’ was the surprise banger than caught me off guard. The soaring chorus that lands is just huge, the picked guitars and pinging delay at the start, the bullshit heavy drop in the middle.. just sick. All of it.
There is not one single filler track on ‘The Death of Me’. It’s a through and through triumph. Any band that reaches this standard is afforded at least a few lesser tracks but Polaris don’t even come close. It’s incredibly consistent and should cement them as our finest heavy export to the world.
Parkway Drive, Northlane, you guys did well bringing Aussie heavy music to the international stage…but Polaris can take it from here.