Free? Fuck yeah! But is it any good?
Yesterday, Sydney’s Polaris released their newest single ‘Consume‘ and they very kindly put it up as a free download on their website.
‘Consume‘ was tracked in the band’s own personal studio in Mollymook, New South Wales, with the band flying out producers Carson Slovak and Grant MacFarland of Atrium Audio from the States to produce and oversee this new recordings creation Now, I’m honestly not sure how much of a difference that made for Polaris, the five individual members, or their metalcore sound overall. However, something must have really clicked with that behind-the-scene combination as ‘Consume‘ is thus far the best song I’ve heard from these Aussie locals!
Unlike 2016’s mediocre EP, ‘The Guilt & The Grief‘, the clean vocals of bassist Jake Steinhauser have thankfully taken a back seat here, with the only moment their presence is felt is during the track’s middle eight (see: the 1:51 mark through to 2:16). What then follows is a solid, flowing build-up passage towards a wickedly punchy breakdown-riff combo that’s further bolstered by some short but sweet lead work over the top. And then it’s right back into the heavy, metalcore fray for that hard-hitting outro. As far as song structuring and overall pacing go, ‘Consume‘ is a real step up in those two departments, and it shows a greater ability in songwriting and execution than what Polaris has previously offered.
Yep, the band have won me over it seems.
See, the key issue I had with ‘The Guilt & The Grief‘ (I remember scoring the release 65/100) was that Steinhauser’s vocals were always shoe-horned into its six songs, to the detriment of their pacing and quality, though. A great example of this was the opening song ‘Regress‘, whose flow and impact goes right out the fuckin’ window when that rather obligatory chorus hits. And the choruses are easily the weakest parts of that particular track too. This repeated formula throughout the EP’s 24-minute runtime wore me down very quickly and made me file away Polaris alongside countless other trite metalcore bands that are all doing the same thing. Now, let’s not kid ourselves here, Polaris is indeed doing that very same thing here with ‘Consume‘, but the previously noticeable kinks have been ironed out, making for a tighter, more streamlined experience.
Of course, all of this is not to say that Steinhauser is a bad singer – he’s most certainly a fine vocalist and after seeing their Invasion Fest set last year in Melbourne, he sounded good in the live setting. Nor is it to say that he should stop singing outright or leave the band (I mean, someone’s gotta play the bass, right?) However, when you don’t have a great, memorable vocal melody to offer up for your compositions, maybe don’t include the clean vocals? After all, doing so may diminish your songs – which was the case with this band’s last release- and will more than likely place you deeper into an already overcrowded scene that’s filled with copycat-like groups. Besides, Polaris‘ commanding frontman Jamie Hails could easily spearhead the vehement charge of their music with his solid pushed-chest yells, growls and aggressive screaming, without the songs losing impact nor their pace failing.
Of course, that’s just me. At the risk of sounding like one of those trite, dickhead YouTubers who starts off every single video by screeching “HEY GUYS! WHATS UP? HA HA! WE ARE BACK TODAY DOING X, Y OR Z”, sound off in the comments below to let me know your thoughts.
You can score ‘Consume‘ (ironically) for free here by simply subscribing up to the band’s email list. Be sure to keen an eye on Polaris as they will no doubt be dropping their debut full-length album sometime later this year via Resist Records.
Hopefully, ‘Consume‘ is a sign of what’s to come…