Polaris are one of the few acts who managed to break free from the confines of being a ‘heavy band’ and win over listeners who may not have previously been into metal.
It’s propelled the Sydney act to bonafide stardom, with the scope of their output growing so far and wide over the past decade that they are now regarded by many as one of Australia’s most impressive live outfits – regardless of their sound cutting its teeth as what’s normally seen as an ‘underground’ genre.
Making their third full-length release, Fatalism is one of this year’s most highly anticipated releases. So as a precursor to the album’s release, the group announced their biggest headliner tours to date – both at home and internationally – before making the shocking announcement that their lead guitarist Ryan Siew had tragically passed away at the age of 26.
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The news sent shockwaves through fans worldwide. Siew had long been a crowd favourite due to his technical approach to his craft, incredible onstage presence and infectiously kind personality. So naturally for many, listening to Fatalism with the knowledge that it would be his final piece of work was always going to make for a difficult experience.
However, there was never any doubt that it was going to be a phenomenal album. Across their past two releases, Polaris have ultimately changed the landscape of modern-day metal, proving to listeners that melody and groove can comfortably sit side-by-side with sheer aggression and thrilling layers of breakdowns. Now on their third release, they’ve propelled this to new heights, taking the most prominent elements of their iconic formula and honing in on exciting new methods of style and delivery.
This is only further enhanced by the unprecedented level of frustration in the group’s sound. Sure, they’ve always had a ruthless output, but here they take it to another level, largely because the group wrote the release as a result of COVID, forcing them off the road at the height of their The Death In Me tour.
Opener ‘Harbinger’ delivers sharp, jagged riffs alongside explosions of pounding percussion and bellowing gutturals. ‘Nightmare’ adds further layers of complexity, allowing for Daniel Furnari’s intricate side-hits to add a tight tension to the song’s ascending guitar riffs and sheer drop-off breakdowns. ‘Parasites’ toys with trance programming, giving way to frenetic time signatures perfectly matched by Siew and Rick Schneider’s methodical guitar work and Jamie Hails’ impressive bent vocal inflections.
‘The Crossfire’ sees the quintet experimenting with ambient post-hardcore leads and fast-tempo breakdowns, opposing most group’s standard approach of slowing it down, while ‘Dissipate’ maintains the ambience, boasting high-pitched guitar leads adjacent to machine gun riffs and what’s arguably the album’s biggest breakdown.
In the face of adversity, Polaris have delivered their most triumphant release to date. Fatalism is an absolute tour de force and an album that will undoubtedly continue to tighten Polaris’ vice grip on the modern metal scene.
Label: Resist Records Release date: 01 SEP