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Review: Polaris – The Guilt & The Grief

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Polaris
The Guilt & The Grief
Unsigned

4 Score

Kicking off what we’re predicting will be a year packed with national tours, radio play and the inevitable signing to UNFD, Sydney shredders Polaris have just dropped their sophomore effort in The Guilt & The Grief, a 6-track EP that stuffs more blood-spitting fervency and chest-punching emotion into its meagre 23 minutes than most 15-track albums do in their hours. It’s without a doubt the record will serve as Polaris’ consequential break into the mainstream – after all, it debuted at #1 on iTunes’ Rock and Metal Charts, and #6 on the overall Album Charts; a stupendous feat for the little band known for opening hardcore shows at the Stag.

Musically, The Guilt & The Grief is peak metalcore in all of its pseudo-psycho glory – lead single and opening track “Regress” sets the tone without a hitch, a trenchant convulsion of pit-splitting breakdowns and vocal chops aplomb. From there, the riffs only get chunkier and the drums more vindictive. Scream lord Jamie Hails has improved a ridiculous amount since 2013’s Dichotomy EP, and paired with bassist Jake Steinhauser on cleans, there’s not a second where the duo have us anything less than enthralled. Their peak is reached early with “L’Appel Du Vide”, Hall’s slightly raspy gutturals fighting an onslaught of djent riffs like a surfer caught in a gnarly rip, before the chorus knocks a melody into overdrive.

Keeping in line with common genre trends, the EP is flourished with sparkly synth backings and the occasional ambient fader. It comes across at times as a little unnecessarily ‘safe’, but hey, at least they never go full Node with any of it. Polaris’ spellbinding brand of crushing heaviness still sits at the forefront of The Guilt & The Grief, and even at moments where the energy seems to have taken a dip, there’s an inescapable feeling – that pays off, more often than not – that what comes next in the array will knock you well and truly off your fucking feet.

Standing in at well under 30 minutes, it’s almost criminal that The Guilt & The Grief is so short. The EP comes and goes like a green light in an intersection, and wrapping up with the staggering “Hold You Under” (which features an enormous drop-in from Northlane leader Marcus Bridge), listeners are left desperately begging for more. Make no mistake: Polaris are going to be fucking huge. And when they are, we’ll be looking back on The Guilt & The Grief as the EP that took them there.

The Guilt & The Grief is out now independently
Grab a copy: Webstore | iTunes

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