Dusk to Day: A Masterpiece of Metalcore Emotion
Welcome, thought I’d try something different on here, try some discussions on some of my favorite songs. Ever since I started band photography I’ve wanted to learn more about the journalism side of it all, but never been the writer type (as I’m sure you’ll see later in this article). I’ve been listening to metalcore for many years now, and I think I’ve got a pretty decent grasp on what it is! I recently did a university project about an album cover that represented a specific cause and thought what better than do it on a song/band I listen to all the time.
That’s where Polaris — Dusk To Day comes in.
So I’m just gonna say it. This is the best song on the album, The Mortal Coil by Polaris. It just is. I mean I could end the post here, couldn’t I? Well, let’s go a little bit more into it (also this would be a pretty short blog post if I didn’t to be fair).
I want to just talk about Polaris for a minute. Formed of vocalist Jamie Hails, guitarists Ryan Siew and Rick Scheneider, bassist Jake Steinhauser and drummer/lyricist Daniel Furnar (current line up when Mortal Coil was released and current lineup), Polaris are at the very forefront of modern Metalcore. ‘Dichotomy’ was released in 2013, Ryan Siew being just 15 years old at the time (what a talent honestly). Since then, they’ve released a few singles in the form of their EP ‘The Guilt & The Grief’ (an absolutely amazing EP, but this blog is about Dusk to Day, we are a paragraph in and I’ve had to remind myself 3 times already) but we had to wait until 2017 for the masterpiece that is ‘The Mortal Coil’.
The Mortal Coil
This was their debut album. Let me repeat this. DEBUT ALBUM. It’s just crazy to believe. It came out on November 3rd 2017, and took me until early 2018 to find it. What was I doing at this time? Probably waiting to see what I was getting for Christmas, to be honest. More to the point, I can’t believe this album was sitting right under my nose for months. This album set a new standard for the metalcore genre and changed my whole knowledge on it. ‘The Guilt & The Grief’ made people turn their heads, but this album made them one of the biggest names in the metalcore industry.
Now, to the music itself. Upon your first listen, you might think they sound a little bit generic for a metalcore band. Taking major influences from others like the raw vocals from Architects and the catchy choruses from Of Mice & Men, and it’s clear to see how many have this view. However, once listening to the album in its entirety it’s clear to see that Polaris has created something brilliant here. The vocals are powerful and full of emotion, it’s plain to see from the first tracks, Lucid and The Remedy (Let me say, this is how you start an album). The instruments give every song that same sense of atmosphere that the lyrics do, ‘Relapse’ is the perfect example of this, and the technical guitar isn’t just for the solos, it’s consistent throughout each and every song.
The album flows so perfectly and combines some of the deepest, atmospheric guitar riffs mixed with some of the most emotional melodies I’ve ever heard from a metalcore band. Combining vocalists has been a consistent trend of metalcore bands over the past few years, and Polaris have utilised this to a tee for The Mortal Coil. Using Jamie for the scream/harsh vocals and Jake on the albums cleans much like The Guilt & The Grief, this has to be one of the best duos in metalcore. Unlike in TH&TG though, Jamie has gotten rid of the growl screams and has focussed much more on the actual singing. You’d think this would make for a less entertaining show for a metalcore band, you couldn’t be more wrong. You can hear the change in emotion. Anger, Desperation, Hurt, Frustration. They all sound different and you can hear every single one. No more is this present on the seventh song of the album, Dusk to Day.
Dusk to Day
Let me start by saying, I don’t think this is Polaris’ best song, but I do think it’s the best song on the album. Dusk to Day is arguably the most dynamic song, flowing seamlessly from the same atmospheric clean lyrics heard in The ‘Remedy’, to the build of the chugging riffs also heard in ‘Consume’ (1:35 on Dusk to Day makes me smile every time I swear).
But why did I want to write an article on it?
Dusk to Day is a much slower track compared to the rest of the album, but the lyrics shine more than any other. Dusk to Day deals with the subject of insomnia, a condition many of the band members have faced. Ryan has dealt with this longer than any of the other band members, and (Daniel Furnari) said in an interview with AlreadyHeard.com, that he ‘learned just how harrowing it can be’. Insomnia can make people feel incredibly lonely, with nothing but darkness to distract you. Thinking about sleep when you can’t sleep is the thing that keeps you awake. Thinking everyone else can sleep, and you can’t, can feel like one of the loneliest feelings in the world.
Dusk to Day is much more than a song about insomnia though, it also deals with intentional isolation. Locking yourself inside, pushing everyone you know and care about away, embracing the darkness just to avoid everyday life. The song is heavily reliant on Jamie’s voice, but he does excellently to express every single bit of emotion. It progresses and builds until the main chorus,
“But when it rains, it fucking pours all over me
No time, no time for anything
No time, no time for anyone”
where his real talent of mid-range screams really makes the track something else (Same sort of talent as Sam Carter or Oli Sykes in terms of range and aggression shown in the music).
The song gives you a sense of unease, mostly due to the multi-level guitars and drums giving the song a real feeling of being overwhelmed, as I’m sure the band members felt due to their Insomnia. Around the minute mark, it’s as if the band are panicking, rushing to rid themselves of Insomnia which has plagued them for so long. Frustration builds throughout, the feeling of bombardment becomes even more present. We get a break from all these punishing vocals at the breakdown around 3/4 of the way into the song (what a solo too). Just as soon as it calms down, it picks up again. This captures the real message behind the song. Being stuck in a never-ending, looping, state of not coping. You try and try again, but you can’t ever sleep.
“Restlessly await the dawn and shut out all the light”
Why I love this song
The vocals were emotion-filled, the drums were incredibly advanced, the guitar work was beyond exceptional, and I think this is easily some of their best work yet. I think the whole album is brilliant, but Dusk To Day brought up a topic not typically discussed and performed it beautifully.
The album was a huge success for them, and they have continued to exceed this album with their latest one ‘The Death of Me’. Resist Records ( SharpTone Records worldwide) have invested in one of the very best metalcore's bands around. I hope more people listen to them, and hopefully, you didn’t think this article was a shitter (still new to this yknow).
For those who read this, thanks for your time! I’ll be sure to try and post more content and keep up with the times, as I know I’ve been pretty lacking on the articles lately!
Website and Photography Portfolio: https://charlieellis.myportfolio.com/