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Polar: Shadowed By Vultures

British hardcore crew find a springboard in the past

As every day brings a brand new glut of UK hardcore bands, Polar have now, oddly, reached the level of scene veterans merely a few years into their career. It’s apt in a way, as Shadows By Vultures is a much more old-school approach to hardcore than the majority of Polar’s peers, delving back into the music of Gorilla Biscuits and American Nightmare to concoct huge slabs of 100mph punk rock.

When they get it right, as on the teeth-gnashing roar of Glass Cutter, they’re up there with the very best. But second albums are all about broadening scope and refining your established sound, and Polar have made concessions to some of modern metallic hardcore’s trends.

Before The Storm features melodic, female vocals over a glacial, post-hardcore musical soundscape and, despite the headbang-inducing nature of the rest of Shadowed…, is consequently the most memorable song on offer here.

Something old and something new, Polar are onto a winner.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.