Clawing earnestly at the top tier of the UK’s current world beating hardcore movement, Surrey quintet Polar. have struggled as of yet to manifest their bristling promise into something worthy of contesting these shores endeavoring game changers. And so, sophomore full-length effort, ‘Shadowed By Vultures’, looks set to capitalize on what is a new found streak of melodic acuteness and rabble rousing anthemia which sees them stride confidently to within touching distance of their peers.
Searing aggression and a full throttle, punk rock aesthetic may remain the band’s bread and butter, the one-two punch of ‘Blood Lines’ and ‘Glass Cutter’ a particularly wide-eyed example of the blood thirsty pit anthems that Polar. have honed to a caustic edge (also see ‘Create’ for some of the most devastating mosh segments this side of Hatebreed). Yet, as with the most accomplished of debut follow-ups, ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ broadens and refines with a deftness that enhances the band’s sound without any fatal concessions.
Perhaps the biggest curve-ball here is the inclusion of a smouldering ‘Before The Storm’. Beauteous female vocals sit atop a post-rock soundscape in what may be the record’s highlight offering, a beam of delicate light amongst the call to arms melee we see elsewhere. Even given the colossal chorus refrains delivered in spades throughout ‘Shadowed By Vultures’, it’s tracks such as these and the fragile piano tinkering of ‘Paradise’, which display a depth and scope essential to breaking away from the genres chasing pack.
Although we remain in danger of running out of room on the top bracket of UK hardcore, there’s little doubt that Polar. have gone a long way to earning their place amongst the elite with ‘Shadowed By Vultures’. Chest cavingly heavy, yet brimming with maturity and ambition, there’s a visible focus here which marks out the band as real contenders. Budge up heavyweights, you’ve got company.
Written by Tony Bliss