Every Friday, I scour the internet for new music releases. The weekly Friday Awards will highlight my favorite discovery each week, with a special emphasis on artists that are new, new-ish, or new to me.
This week continues the hilarious streak of almost all of 2020’s Friday Awards going to heavier (metal- or hardcore-related) artists. And the theme of February, apparently, has been falling for albums from random internet recommendations of artists I’d never previously heard of: first Envy, then Great American Ghost, and now Australia’s own Polaris.
Immaculately produced and infectiously fun, Polaris straddle almost all the genre lines within modern popular hardcore rock, with tracks that could stand next to A Day to Remember, The Ghost Inside, Scarlet, Underoath, Poison the Well, He Is Legend, and more; but it’s colored with classic rock, old school metal, and prog rock influences that hint at just how wise and experienced these players are. The fact that some of these songs could have played on Fuse or MTV2 ten to fifteen years ago is circumstantial to the more obvious fact that this style of music is simply what the members of Polaris wanted to create. And we are all the luckier for it.
Some tracks, like “Hypermania,” are unafraid to be aggressive without reprieve, yet a careful balance is displayed by the band, as that song leads into “Masochist,” one of The Death Of Me‘s more melodic moments. The vocalist effortlessly switches between singing, screaming, and the in-between, sounding fantastic in all forms; his bandmates also never let up on their responsibilities, laying down song after song of killer performances that are just as good for rocking out or road tripping as they are good for studying the inventive guitar riffs and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it drum fills. (Look no further than “Landmine,” with its Eastern-scale guitar solo, for evidence of all these praises.)
If you’re ever afraid that an album’s single or its opening track might be fooling you into listening to a full-length that’s not worth your time or money, you can rest easy that the opposite is true here; The Death of Me is so carefully crafted, and so reverent of the album format, that it saves some of its absolutely best songs for the end. “Martyr (Waves)” — featuring the album’s downright best chorus — proves that Polaris are no less powerful when they dial down the heaviness. “All of This Fleeting” moves at a clip, fitting more melodies and riffs into four minutes than some bands do in entire albums. And “The Descent” is the type of closing track that elevates these ten songs from “playlist” to “art,” refusing to submit to the more typical traditions of ending with a ballad or an epic slow-burn, opting instead to pummel listeners with the most intense number yet. I can’t finish this album without being excited for this band’s future.
I guess I’ll try to add more variety back to the Friday Awards next week. But in the meantime, go check out Polaris!
Author’s Note: The reason I created this website and write these articles stems from my belief that artists should support other artists, in the same way that art inspires art. My debut album Unfall is out now, and I’d love for you to hear it.