A year ago Polaris lined up to play Adelaide Unibar. The cramped venue packed to the rafters for the extremely hard working Sydney band. Having arrived from a Stateside tour only a few months before, the collective feel from the Americans in the know, and those in attendance that night in Adelaide, is this band will not be playing places this small again. This album, this blistering masterpiece of work, fully confirms this.
However where did the band go on their sophomore album? Stay on the same path that has allowed them to bludgeon their way to this point or bring their road experience – the ability to hone their craft under the spotlight of peers, grafting each night in a battle of endurance – and broaden their scope?
By now you would’ve heard the three song releases; Masochist which shows the band have evolved their storytelling skills, Landmine, which wears the bands influence in hardcore on it sleeves and Hypermania, which got dropped into the set during last years epic tour with Architects, but what about the rest of the album
The soft intro of Pray For Rain masks what is to come. It’s scattered riffs and time changes galore delivered with the precision of a trained killer rather than brute force of the past. The album is clean, faultless and doesn’t leave any trace of the devastation it’s just caused. It’s smooth.
The band have made it clear they don’t care for genres, they want to play these songs live and have people singing and dancing. Throughout the album, you can visually see how each song will be received , the aforementioned Hypermania, already finely tuned for the stage, with it’s cry to ‘Here We Go Again’ will rattle the foundations.
It’s all here, the machine gun breakdown in Landmine which flows into anthem like status shortly after. The early 2000’s rock vibe of Vagabond, with a chorus so catchy you’ll think you’ve got a cold, shows a completely different side to the band.
While the smooth melodies of Creatures Of Habit and the electronic ambience on The Descent can lull you into thinking they have gone ‘soft’, it’s in each songs head pounding riffs that the technical beauty of what they’ve become is apparent.
Within all this ‘dabbling with styles’ – there’s even guitar solosPolaris still crush it. Jamie Hails vocals still pierce the sky, the riffs are still as hard as a mountain side and they can still go old school, as shown in Above My Head.
The band wanted to make music for the crowd to go wild and they have. There is not a weak moment on the album, each song standing on its own as blueprint of how to evolve while staying true.
The Sydney wild eyed kids are now about to become the big dogs in Australia, hell, even further beyond. Their upcoming tour is the hottest ticket in town in a year of hot tickets.
It’s going to take something special to top this album in 2020. Polaris are levelling up and the ascent since last year is astounding. You won’t be seeing them playing these venues on this tour for much longer after this beauty drops.
Album Review By Iain McCallum