Polaris (AUS)
The Death of Me


4.5
superb

Review

by MrToothbrush USER (6 Reviews)
February 25th, 2020 | 11 replies


Release Date: 02/21/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A stunning me(n)tal breakdown

To say that I was surprised by this album would be an understatement. The band's previous effort The Mortal Coil was very good. The guitarwork was impressive, the lyrics had meaning, and the production was stellar, but it in no way hinted that a release this meaningful, powerful and emotionally flooring would be next.

Perhaps it holds more meaning to me, as this album is clearly about struggling with mental illness (specifically bipolar disorder) as well as frustration with modern society in general and as a sufferer myself, I found myself identifying with most if not all of the lyrics; from “I've been up, I've been down every day/I've been thinking, am I always gonna be this way?” in Hypermania to “And the only thing standing in between happiness and myself/was this depression I held so close to my chest” in Masochist, even to “I have these dreams where I’m losing all my teeth” in Above My Head. It all hit very close to home, almost uncomfortably at times, and if I didn’t feel like the man on fire on the album cover, I definitely did after the last note of The Descent faded away. In essence, this is not a happy album by any means, but I think that even someone who does not suffer from mental and emotional instability can appreciate the struggles that are portrayed here; namely those of feeling inadequate, navigating difficult relationships, and finding a place to belong in this world. It’s almost moving, and you can tell that the vocalist Jamie Hails has clearly been through it himself.

The musicality is impressive too, perfectly complementing the emotional lyrical content with solid drumming, at times even creative guitarwork, and even audible bass. The production is also great, as it was on their previous album. Everything is clear and punchy. What’s more, even though there are only 10 tracks in total, it never feels formulaic. Just by reading the lyrics even, it is evident that there is no clear structure for each song but the album benefits from it, with Hypermania being one of the heavier tracks, the first track Pray For Rain slowly building up to a crescendo of crushing riffs, and Martyr (Waves) being entirely sung with clean vocals which I found was a nice change of pace and a welcome reprieve from the aggressively screamed vocals on the previous songs. And then the album ends with The Descent, a sonic conflict of a man who wakes up in a mental hospital and is fighting the temptation to give in to his depression and end it all.

I walked away from this album both emotionally devastated and suitably impressed. This is the result of identifiable struggles, punishing yet creative guitarwork, fantastic production, and ultimately the decision to bear all and wear their hearts on their sleeves. I do have one minor gripe with this album, namely that occasionally there are background vocals which do have some very good lyrics (“Do you feel like you're free when you lose control?” and “What's your worth on the earth if you sell your soul?” in Hypermania) but these are barely audible within the context of the rest of the song. It would have been ideal if they had simply turned these up slightly to discernible levels.

Overall though, whether you are currently struggling in life or not, there is a lot to enjoy here for fans of the genre. I don’t know where Polaris will go from here, but The Death Of Me signifies that metalcore is very much alive in 2020, and that is an impressive feat.



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user ratings (224)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (4)
To death, to life. Repeat....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2020


19636 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review dude, your writing could use some polish but you state your ideas clearly and I dig the personal approach. Pos'd.



Not my cup of tea though, I tried this up and had to switch it off in a couple of minutes but fans of metalcore will definitely vibe with this.

Digging: Cressida - Cressida

TundraL5Z
February 25th 2020


4212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eh 4.5 is a bit much imo, but decent review anyway

TundraL5Z
February 25th 2020


4212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Double post screw sput

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2020


12493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probably about time this album had a review. I won't read it [yet]* reasons.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2020


19636 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn a Noct 4? Ok, damn it, gonna give it another shot (mainly because I wanna rate everything that is on the charts lol)

MrToothbrush
February 25th 2020


11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys, I probably could have improved this but I was so eager to get this review out that I thought I'd just put it up. It's probably an objective 4 but I'm slightly biased because it really impacted me with the subject matter.

JayEnder
February 25th 2020


6882 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nocte gave a metalcore album a 4? Do my eyes decieve me?

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2020


19636 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Honestly, this is not too bad (for as much I despise the genre).



It has some cool hooks, and I can see why it got traction here.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2020


12493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Okay, review's up - you can stop wondering now.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2020


12493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As for the review (to echo Dewinged's points here), there's a lot that could be worked on (I didn't add that downvote either - I rarely neg). Rather than pick this apart sentence to sentence my advice is to read your writing out like a speech; if it sounds funky or off while it's read aloud - it's going to be much worse on a screen for readers adding their own tone to your words.



If we can work on that, we can work on backing up your points and finding prime examples that work within your context.

MrToothbrush
February 25th 2020


11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fair points, thanks.



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