To say Polaris made waves with their first full-length, The Mortal Coil, would be one hell of an understatement. The 2017 record debuted in the Top 10 and nabbed an ARIA nomination, moving the band into “the next big thing” territory. It took them from local bars to stages all over the globe, creating an ungodly amount of hype for its follow up in the process. It’s no real surprise then, that on The Death of Me, Polaris have once again proven themselves to become one of the most exciting names in Australian (nay, global) metalcore.
After embarking on three sold-out national headline tours, support slots with Architects and Parkway Drive, five European runs, three tours through the US and numerous festival appearances, the Sydneysiders returned to their home studio in Mollymook to record LP2, buddying up with sound-engineer Lance Prenc and guitarist Scott Simpson (of Melbourne’s Alpha Wolf), both of whom co-produced the album with the band. There’s no doubt that spending the better part of the last two years racking up stamps on their touring passports did Polaris a world of good though. By the band’s own admission, it took them out of their comfort zone. The Death of Me has an extra developed, rich sound and it experiments with an array of songwriting techniques not readily seen on The Mortal Coil. With plenty of tricks still up their sleeves, The Death of Me marks a natural evolution for the band, but still maintains the integrity of their identity.
The record houses some of the band’s softest moments, but fans who have stuck around since the days of Dichotomy and The Guilt and The Grief will be keen to know that it also features some of their heaviest. Vocalists Jamie Hails and Jake Steinhauser are in their finest form on Hypermania, which, in its screamed entirety, pays tribute to Southern hardcore juggernauts Every Time I Die. Elsewhere on the album, the envelope is stretched even further, with alt-rock influences on ‘Vagabond’ and throwbacks to the noughties emo/pop-punk scene on ‘Above My Head’. Yet, The Death of Me’s real selling point is its introspective lyricism. Drummer (and head songwriter) Daniel Furnari has made no secret of the record featuring some of the band’s bleakest material, a note that definitively rings true. With mental health at the front and centre, recurring themes of depression, self-destruction and negativity float throughout. Fans got a taste of this confronting material with the release of lead single ‘Masochist’, but tracks like ‘Martyr (Waves)’ only serve to hammer the point home.
On The Mortal Coil, Polaris presented themselves as technical wizards who were capable of propelling themselves ahead of their counterparts in the genre. Despite this, we now know that they’d only just begun to scratch the surface of their potential. Now, on The Death of Me, the band has used their talent to position themselves at the top of the Australian metal hierarchy. Next step: world domination.
The Death of Me is out on February 21 via Resist/Sharptone Records.