For Fans Of
So, how about that Soundwave-Eventopia shitstorm last year? Good fun, aye? Anyway, it’s now a new year and that means new music for us all, hurray! After a year like 2015, the local scene has really got its work cut out for it. In an early attempt to show up the most excellent year that was the aforementioned, we have Polaris. No, not the indie rock band from the 90’s, but the post-hardcore/metalcore band from Sydney that are about to drop their new EP, ‘The Guilt & The Grief’.
And you know what? It’s good, but it’s an EP that suffers from a bad case of generic-itis (patent for that genre title still pending).
See, this release ticks all the boxes of a metalcore release in this day and age, and that’s the problem. Now, that’s not exclusively designated to these local lads, no sir, but there is still one main flaw. Like many bands nowadays, Polaris suffer from a trend groups like In Hearts Wake have dangerously employed. That is, not every damn song needs to have a melodic, hook-filled chorus, which is led by the bassist (and in some rare cases, the guitarist’s) clean vocals. No, seriously guys, it doesn’t need those cleans as it eventually then comes to the detriment of the songs themselves. Which is the case with ‘The Guilt & The Grief’.
So okay, cool, you have a catchy and soaring chorus for all the UNFD crowd in the opening track, ‘Regress’, (which is arguably one of the best Polaris songs to date) but that didn’t mean you had to repeat it for the next five damn songs. Maybe keeping those clean vocals back solely for something like the ambient/atmospheric sections in ‘Voiceless’ and ‘Unfamiliar’, which are actually pretty damn solid moments, and really help to give the songs a great sense of contrast and space would have been much better. Going further with this train of thought, we have ol’ boy Marcus Bridge (as if you don’t know who he is) lending his voice on the final track ‘Hold You Under’, which is a no-holds-barred punch to the face, which is sadly just let down by the clean choruses that really pull back the reins and completely kill the momentum of an otherwise great track. The pattern begins to form, as one can see.
After many, many listens through this EP, we feel that vocalist Jamie Hails has the near-perfect scream for this type of music, but sweet shit; he should be headlining the show throughout, not sharing it. After Far West Battlefront showed nearly all of our locals up with ‘Status Cross’ last year (with songs like this and this) clean vocals in this genre of music just don’t quite have that pull or that “kick” that they used to contain (curse you, FWB, ya bastards). Now, those South Australian’s didn’t totally revolutionise the genre, not by any means, but they tried different things goddamnit; different mix techniques, different pitches and different ways of delivering a clean vocal part that made it way more interesting and unique than what their peers were doing, and as this EP proves, are still putting out.
Polaris’s debut EP is a great example of a good band being the sole whipping boy of their respective genre. So when you couple that with the repetitive songwriting and an all too often repetitive song structuring formula and you have a release that, while getting the job done, could have been so much more. Still, ‘Regress’ goes pretty fucking hard, don’t it?
2. L’Appel Du Vide
5. No Rest
6. Hold You Under (feat. Marcus Bridge)