Polaris Discography Ranking

Polaris Discography Ranking
Photo by Will Smith

Australian metalcore powerhouse Polaris have made a name for themselves worldwide with some of the best heavy music to come out of Australia over the last decade. A personal favourite of mine, the band combines a techy, proggy metalcore sound with stunning melodic riffs and huge choruses to define their signature sound. With the tragic passing of long-time guitarist Ryan Siew in July this year, their new record Fatalism being their highest-charting release to date, and the band touring worldwide with their fresh tunes, 2023 has been a hugely eventful year for the boys. So, why not join me for a deep dive into their catalogue to celebrate, re-live, and ultimately rank their releases? 

#5 – The Death of Me

2020’s The Death of Me – Polaris’ sophomore album – had a lot to live up to, after the band’s debut The Mortal Coil took them around the world to achieve levels of fame few Aussie bands accomplish, most notably supporting Architects on the Holy Hell tour here in the UK – and in my opinion, The Death of Me absolutely meets these astronomical expectations. From the dramatic opener "Pray for Rain" to absolute classics like "Landmine," "Hypermania," and "All of This is Fleeting," as well as my favourite Polaris anthem "The Descent," this record really has it all. Despite this, as a full release, it doesn’t have the same delicious replayability as many of their other releases, and after rinsing the record for a few months straight when I initially discovered the band, I felt drawn more to individual tracks than the album as a whole. While I’ll never get tired of hearing "Pray for Rain" open their live headline sets and going ballistic in the trademark Hypermania circle pit, the rest of the record seems to fall adrift for me, with tracks like "Above My Head" and "Martyr" breaking up the flow too much for my liking – that being said, attributing "Martyr" to the magnificent Ryan in their recent shows has bumped it up in my books. Overall, The Death of Me is a solid record, and for my first experience of Polaris, it absolutely did its job, hooking me into their discography. We can definitely do better though.

#4 – Dichotomy 

A much less celebrated piece of their catalogue, Polaris’ first release Dichotomy is a diverse and brilliant EP. With proggy, riff-driven tracks like In Memoria Di to the stunning lyricism in "The Undertow" and "Wherever I May Walk" – with the latter being a highlight for me – Dichotomy solidified the band as one to watch right from the very start. The instrumentation is a lot more prog-inspired than much of their more recent work, reminiscent of Monuments and ERRA in some ways while still having Counterparts levels of melodic heaviness and lyrical heartthrobs.  The digital release of the EP also includes one of the band’s first singles "Summit" as a bonus track, which is an absolute belter – I’m insanely jealous of any Australians who got to catch them play it on their recent 10-year anniversary tour.

Despite being an awesome EP that I’ve definitely warmed up to with my music taste moving more towards the prog genres, it does suffer from debut release syndrome with significantly less polished production and a much less crisp sound, and while this definitely isn’t an issue for this EP in particular, the clean, polished metalcore sound is something that Polaris is absolutely known for in their more recent work. Dichotomy remains a heavily underrated EP though, and while it might not be ‘peak Polaris’, it's absolutely worth a listen if you haven’t already.

#3 – Fatalism

Polaris’ third full-length Fatalism released in September this year, and blew metalcore fans away worldwide, charting highly in Australia and gaining critical acclaim through many international reviews. At its core, Fatalism is quintessential Polaris – meaty, proggy riffs with huge, emotional choruses and brutal breakdowns – but the record is also the most experimental of their releases today. With songs like "Inhumane," "Dissipate," and "Parasites" breaking the band’s tendency to lean into common tropes of the genre, and the opener "Harbinger" gripping you in from the very first second, Fatalism is a triumph of an album and shows that Polaris are absolutely not losing their touch, while still allowing themselves to evolve with their genre.

Many of the tracks are also reminiscent of classic Polaris anthems – the chorus of "Parasites" reminds me massively of "Consume," and "Overflow" calls upon clean-driven bangers like "No Rest" and "Dusk to Day" – so long-time fans remain engaged with the new styles, while the more forward-thinking tracks like "Inhumane," "Harbinger," and "Dissipate" continue to attract new fans. Overall, Fatalism is a fantastic album and exactly what Polaris needed to dispel any doubts over their brilliance after The Death of Me’s mixed reception. 

#2 – The Mortal Coil

2017’s The Mortal Coil is an album that will stand the test of time. Boasting two of the band’s most prolific tracks "The Remedy" and fan-favourite "Lucid," the debut record absolutely deserves the hype it continues to receive. Looking past the mammoth singles, the record is consistently astounding from top to bottom – with deep cuts like "Frailty," "In Somnus Veritas," and "Sonder" being some of my favourite Polaris tracks to date – and accompanied by the stunning artwork (which I have a tattoo of by the way) its hard to find a fault with this magnificent record.

The perfect balance of sheer brutality in tracks like "Consume" and "Casualty" coupled with gorgeous lyrics and stunning melodic instrumentals in "Sonder" and "Lucid," as well as the unbelievable level of creativity shown in the writing of tracks like "Relapse" and "Frailty" is what really makes this a record to remember. The Mortal Coil showed and continues to show that Polaris are absolute masters of their craft and has more than earned their place as a giant of their genre, and for that, it absolutely deserves all the praise it so often receives. Go listen to it if you haven’t already.

#1 – The Guilt and The Grief

Finally, the first spot goes to Polaris’s second EP, The Guilt and The Grief – with almost no contest for me. This 6-track underdog is one of the most underrated releases in metal ever in my opinion: its coherence, ingenuity and replayability are unrivalled in Polaris’ catalogue, and mark it as a stroke of brilliance that was well ahead of its time when it arrived in 2016. The opener "Regress" remains one of my all-time favourite songs, with a crazy catchy riff, emotional lyricism and melodies, and a truly brutal breakdown, the track has it all. Following up with "Unfamiliar" – a similar style track which is excellent in its own right – and "L’Appel Du Vide" to close out the first half of the EP, The Guilt and The Grief continues the trend of unbelievable songwriting, with each track standing out through its instantly memorable chorus, insanely intelligent guitar-work or straight-up bonkers drumming from the animal that is Dan Furnari.

"Voiceless" opens the second half, bringing with it some of the heaviest moments on the EP, followed by "No Rest" – a slower-paced, clean-driven anthem that I remember immediately latching onto on the first few listens. "Hold You Under" is the closer – a perfect summation of the sounds and ideas explored on the release – with a feature from the now Northlane frontman Marcus Bridge, who adds some insane screams over Jamie Hails’ already incredible vocals, with Bridge closing out the EP with a crushing low scream under Hails’ signature delivery style. The Guilt and The Grief is one of the best EPs I’ve personally listened to, and one that I always find myself going back to if I’m ever in a metalcore mood, and while I do believe it's impossible to create true perfection in anything creative, The Guilt and The Grief is about as close as you’re going to get to a perfect release, definitely one for the books. 

Now just to wait for a vinyl re-print (please I’m begging).

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