Polaris is at the cutting edge of the metalcore genre. Mortal Coil, the band's debut album, peaked at number six in Australia, which wasn't bad for a debut album that didn't shy away from unrestrained brutality and aggression.
It catapulted the Sydney quintet from budding acts to serious competitors, and they haven't slowed down since.
And what's not to love about the Polaris? The band basically took the metalcore genre and added something new and exciting to it.
Polaris is an Australian metalcore band.
Metalcore is a genre that combines hardcore punk and extreme metal. Metalcore, like other styles that combine metal and hardcore, such as grindcore and crust punk, is renowned for its use of breakdowns and slow, furious tempos.
Polaris' metalcore, on the other hand, is meticulously produced for maximum effect, insistently avoiding clichéd song structures and insipid lyrics.
Polaris' style has several facets. "Take our singles, "Masochist" and "Hypermania"," Jamie explains. "Masochist" "pushes the boundaries" and features a catchy chorus, whilst "Hypermania" is essentially "pure aggression" and proves that the five-star team hasn't gone soft.
Rarely would you find an Australian band that comes close to Polaris in terms of creating cutting-edge metalcore, whether it's bludgeoning guitars, melodic choruses or growls, or vicious breakdowns.
Before there was The Mortal Coil and The Death of Me, Polaris had been making music since its inception in 2012.
When guitarist Jake Steinhauser and drummer Daniel Furnari decided to squad up due to their shared interest in metal and alternative music, they quickly realized that they could not power their newly founded rock band, Polaris, alone.
Through mutual acquaintances and word of mouth, the two then recruited guitarist Rick Schneider, and vocalist Jamie Hails.
Later on, Matt Steinhauser, was brought on board to handle bass duties, and James West on synth/keys completed the line-up for a time.
Matt Steinhauser and James West would later leave the group in late 2012, with guitarist Jake promptly filling the vacancy.
But the band still needed a guitarist, so they organized public auditions, after which the rock band announced Ryan Siew as the new guitarist, cementing the quintet as we know it today.
In early 2012, the band began working on music together, creating and recording their first self-published single, "Summit", as well as the majority of the EP titled Dichotomy—both of which did little to bring Polaris then to the limelight.
Polaris released the album, Dichotomy, in 2013. After that, they released five singles as part of their EP, The Guilt & The Grief. The EP was recorded at STL studios on the North Coast of NSW with Sonny True Love and Evan Lee, and mixed by Grant McFarland and Carson Slovak.
The band released The Guilt & The Grief independently on January 29, 2016, and it peaked at #34 on the ARIA charts.
But we had to wait till 2017 for the masterpiece that is The Mortal Coil.
The Mortal Coil, Polaris' first studio album, set a new benchmark for the metalcore genre and turned heads. It single-handedly propelled Polaris into the spotlight, propelling them to the top of the Australian metalcore market.
On first hearing, they may appear to be a little basic for a metalcore band. Taking elements from other bands such as the brutal vocals of Architects and the infectious choruses of Of Mice & Men, many people share this opinion.
However, after listening to the full album, it's evident that Polaris crafted a fantastic masterpiece here.
The vocals are strong and brimming with emotion, as evidenced by the first two tracks, "Lucid" and "The Remedy". The acoustics endow every song with the same sense of ambiance as the lyrics do, and the technical guitar isn't just for the solos; it's persistently featured in every song on the album.
"Dusk to Day" is possibly the most energetic song on The Mortal Coil, flawlessly transitioning from the same ethereal clean vocals heard in Remedy to the buildup of the chugging chords also heard in Consume.
The Mortal Coil was released in November 2017 and was nominated in 2018 for the ARIA Award for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album. The album also clinched the Australian Album of the Year award at the J Awards.
Polaris issued their second studio album, The Death of Me, on February 21, 2020, to critical acclaim, riding on the success of The Mortal Coil. On their second studio album, Polaris built on the sound of The Mortal Coil, exploring the various styles and genres that made their debut so memorable, while continually surprising fans with something new.
The Death of Me is all about mental health, personal development, doubt, believing in oneself, the strain of expectations, faith crises, and better knowing oneself and one's surroundings.
Album #2 is differentiated by slightly fewer guitar-shredding acrobatics and blatant metalcore bangers, allowing each song to have its own distinct personality.
When it comes to "Pray for Rain", Jamie roars loudly over the intro - a decent first cut that builds up well enough, morphing into a Polaris-branded metalcore scorcher with tapping runs, neat little breakdowns, and everything in between.
"Hypermania" is short and snappy and displays a crispier Southern-hardcore demeanor in the vocals and riffage, whereas "Landmine" begins like a Slipknot track, with sliding, alternating drop chugs preparing the song for the next hit and outro following Jamie's aggressive "Are we cursed and condemned to live a life of misery?" war cry.
And so it goes: every song on The Death of Me had its thing, from the 90s-reminiscent "Vagabond" to the melodic prog-metal riffing of "Above My Head". The album was nominated in the category for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album at ARIA Awards 2020.
Polaris, a five-piece from Sydney, stands out from many of its contemporaries in an extremely vibrant environment for one significant reason.
Their songs, especially from The Death of Me, are quite strong, memorable, and dynamic; the instrumentation is tight, and the sound is super snappy.
While such characteristics are not unique to Polaris (several bands in Australia and throughout the world have achieved success following the same path as Polaris), what distinguishes the quintet is its unwavering dedication to the mission.
You can tell they've poured their hearts and souls into the creation and delivery of their records because it absolutely seeps through every one of their songs.