Ominously titled The Death Of Me, the new album from the dynamic and gripping Australian metalcore band Polaris feels like it’s weighted down with a crushing, emotional burden. There’s not really any even relief in sight, just somber music. This record feels like it’s packing an experience of going into the precariously dark emotional caverns fear might have kept you from before.
The fierce songs bound ahead with nearly relentless energy. There’s a definite technical intricacy marking most of these songs, but the emphasis feels less on the hits of the individual notes and rests more on the overall journey forward.
In other words, the album’s not about showing off musicianship per se. Instead, the record centers on delivering an adrenaline-packed immersion into the volatile, emotional states of questioning your identity and your place in the world, and wow—Polaris deliver big time.
All of the sounds on this album feel like they’re filled to the breaking point with boiling-over emotional pressure. The guitar and drum tones end up thick but never inaccessibly biting, and the intensity of the vocal work surges and retracts in tandem with the songs’ emotional chaos.
Thanks to the unique combo of the perfectly swinging, epic dynamics and the just relentlessly fierce, metallic power, when vocalist Jamie Hails belts out: “All that keeps me sane and whole will be the death of me. Get me out of here!” it’s difficult not to take him incredibly seriously.
It’s like the soundtrack to the scene depicted in the cover art of someone presumably struggling to walk along while the top half of their body is in flames.
It’s subtle yet breathtakingly gripping thanks to the sheer emotional abandon packed into these songs. The vicious, metallic hardcore riffs just pile on one after the other as the band focus in on their vision of diving into tension.
“Landmine” even includes a brief foray into some blast beats, and there and across the album, the emotionally devastating lyrics startlingly sting. When Hails denounces the chaotic web of those trying to nab a piece of your mind and soul, the crushing nature of the ensuing despair shines through very brightly. The band’s overall honesty feels refreshing and subtly invigorating.
Ultimately, The Death Of Me does not contain many answers, if any at all. The final lyric on the album addresses this head-on when Hails morbidly and memorably screams: “There are answers waiting for you underground!”
But the album, which drops on February 21 via SharpTone Records, does feel racked with passionate sincerity, and in the face of the kind of steep questions that the band face here, perhaps that’s the better option anyway.