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Review: Polarys - The Va'adian Chronicles
The Va'adian Chronicles

Label: Independent
Year released: 2013
Originally released in: 2011
Duration: 1:19:31
Tracks: 12
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.25/5

Review online: December 17, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
The Va'adian Chronicles

Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (5 Votes)

Now this is an interesting one. Straight off the bat I want to say that I love the theme and ideas conveyed throughout. Sci-Fi tickles me in the right way, and whilst a lot of power metal bands opt towards a fantasy backdrop, it's always pleasing to see an act taking their inspiration from the glorious realm of science fiction. What's better is when the theme manages to bleed through the music itself, and with their debut opus The Va'adian Chronicles, French upstarts Polarys manage just that feat.

Hailing from France I was expecting the music to be a little campy at the very least, and it's surprising to see that Polarys' approach is less Heavenly, being spawned from an eighties prog/power base . Of course elements of the double kicked, saccharine Euro power metal sound can be seen throughout the album, although for the most part they craft their music along the lines of Crimson Glory or The Warning-era Queensrÿche. I guess there are some slight elements of more obscure acts like Psychotic Waltz, Gutter Sirens, and Ansur throughout too, but they aren't too obvious and ring through more in terms of atmosphere as opposed to songwriting choices.

Despite the eighties backbone there is a considerable keyboard presence drenching the music throughout, which could be a deciding factor for some. I think it helps in creating atmosphere, and whilst I say it drenches the music, the keys are never overtly invasive, abrupt or niggling. The riffs call for the most of the attention, and the guys covet a varied arsenal that is well stocked in ammunition. Whether they're dishing out hammering Crimson Glory-style riffs, speed picked Euro power tremolo bursts, or doom heralding Morgana LeFay-style crunchers there's plenty to bite into throughout the album.

If there's any particular element I feel that hurts Polarys here, then it's the length of the album. It's just too long at just under an hour twenty. Whilst this length can work for some acts, here I feel some of the material is a little overlong, particular some of the bigger songs which can unfortunately lose themselves to meandering. The band work best in shorter track lengths which is particularly evident in the first half of the album, the ideas feel fully fleshed out, and the songwriting itself feels focused. I can't help in thinking that if they'd shortened the album down to even an hour it would have been superior.

Despite being overlong, I think on the whole that this is still an interesting, albeit niche album. The Sci-Fi elements are utilized well, with the saturating keyboards helping evoke a mechanical, futuristic backdrop that is further expanded on via the guitar harmonies (hell, even the riffs in places), Douchan Djukic's enigmatic, multifaceted vocal approach and of course the lyrics and theme in general. Whilst I can't imagine this would appeal to everyone, if you're looking for some cool Sci-Fi themed power metal, then Polarys will certainly provide you something to ponder. The band has some serious potential going on here, and I hope it can be fully realized one day.

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