Reviews list for Polaris - Fatalism (2023)
Fatalism is an album Polaris fans have been anticipating. The creative songwriter and performers are at it once again! And they even sealed a schedule of 3-year intervals between albums. Oh, what a solid strategy.
After the perfect one-two punch of The Mortal Coil and The Death of Me, the band continue progressing through their exciting creativity in Fatalism. Hearing the news about this album got my hopes up high. But then the news about guitarist Ryan Siew's passing was heartbreaking. He was one of the most talented modern metal guitarists I had heard, and he was only 26 (same age as my older brother). He had already complete his work before his death, so this album lets you hear his guitar wizardry one last time...
"Harbinger" starts the album with an atmospheric intro as bassist Jake Steinhauser sings his clean vocals over building synths. Soon the drums and guitars come in, and finally the moshing riffs and vocalist Jamie Hails' screams. The perfect opening storm that should work well live! "Nightmare" is the ultimate Polaris anthem! An easy metalcore banger with all of their signature aspects; screamed verses, melodic choruses, heavy riffs, and powerful vocals, all leading up to the mighty end. This is full-on rage you just gotta experience! "Parasites" has more aggressive attitude. And I mean real middle-finger-pointing anger. Full speed ahead for that track! Calming down from that intense ride, "Overflow" greatly display the two vocalists' skills. Jake continues his clean strength, and Jamie adds in some singing too alongside his usual screams.
"With Regards" has strong vocal beauty from Jake which, along with Jamie's kick-A screams, add to the heartful lyrics and soaring riff melody throughout the song. The high-sung final chorus really hits that spot. Heading forward to "Inhumane", bass opens the track, and then Jamie Hails unleashes the fire. Ryan Siew pulled off perhaps the most epic guitar solo he's ever done that barely any other guitarist could do. That song was the only one in the album to come out before his passing. Lots of interesting moments including powerful gang vocals, djenty melodies, and of course, that incredible solo! Finally we drop down to the song's finale that's more of a throwdown than a breakdown. "The Crossfire" is also very interesting. With more metallic guitars, this should really end up in Guitar Hero! It's quite addictive, as those vocal melodies will end up seared into your brain. Get your air guitars up!
Drummer Daniel Furnari gets all the action is "Dissipate", all in blast beat brilliance. D*mn, those blasts are all around, especially behind some wonderful riffing. The drums are front and center while the guitars provide support. And when the guttural vocals, they're filled with deep insanity that greatly contrasts with Jake's soaring cleans. The breakdown is what many of the heavier metalcore fans came for. It's so killer as the drums f***ing devastate, while Rick Schneider performs ravaging rhythm. "Aftertouch" is a slow sweet power ballad that's a rarity in metalcore. There's lightness in the keyboards and drums, but the guitars and vocals slowly gain stronger intensity. Even the most touching song can break down barriers as part of the band's essence. "Fault Line" starts soft in the synths before launching into another easy yet impressive banger. "All in Vain" closes the album, but not as energetic as I was hoping it would be. It starts off promising with some whispers and building riffing before exploding into a heavy verse. Then the intro is reprised before the final chorus which unfortunately makes an abrupt stop. Probably the only truly problematic Polaris song.
Fatalism is a different album from their earlier ones, yet there's a lot of the greatness to expect. Polaris continue to shine with their songwriting creativity that has made this album stay true to their discography. With lots of well-balanced highlights and professional teamwork, this blend of melody and brutality levels up the stories told within the lyrics shall keep listeners alert and wanting more. There's no doubt that Fatalism will please Polaris with this exciting heartful work. A near-perfect swansong for Ryan Siew that shall be engraved in his legacy! RIP
Favorites: "Harbinger", "Nightmare", "With Regards", "Inhumane", "Dissipate", "Fault Line"