Released: 2013, Brennus Music
Paris based French band Polarys have been at this now for quite awhile, forming back in 1996. After releasing one demo in 1997, the usual lineup changes and internal conflicts derailed the band, and it was not until 2004 that another release would appear from them. Stylistically, Polarys is a reflection of Dream Theater married with elements of Helloween and Gamma Ray. Conceptually and in imagery, the band and the new album are descendents of science fiction. The VA’ADIAN CHRONICLES was originally released as a demo in 2010, but it has been partially re-recorded, re-mixed and re-mastered in 2013.
The concept of the album is reminiscent of Iced Earth’s Something Wicked Saga and Ender’s Game, with humanity engaging in a war of annihilation with an alien race, the Va’adians. Visually, everything is professional and meticulous, from the band’s futuristic web site, to the promotional package. The music is likewise painstakingly constructed and produced, featuring a backbone of 80s gallops, prominent keyboards, and progressive song lengths, like the fourteen minute four part “A Secret Revealed”.
Lead singer/guitarist Douchan embodies qualities of Andi Deris and Kai Hansen using varied approaches but limited in range. The decision to not follow the normal power/progressive metal template of helium vocals earns the band respect for taking a different approach, and on many tracks, like “Hyperspace” this decision appears to be correct. More often than not though, Douchan’s vocals sound out of place to me within the context of the overall feel of the music. There are several passages in many songs that are screaming for that upper register. Similarly, the black metal vocals on “Science Almighty” also seem to miss the intended mark.
The performance abilities and technical skills of the band are unquestioned, Polarys being only just behind or on par with most similar bands. The concise songs work best, but the album overall feels bloated at nearly 80 minutes, and likely will not be digested in one sitting. All things considered, this is an album that contains many strengths from a band brimming with potential. Presently, Polarys lacks a universal appeal, but fans of Helloween, Dream Theater, Gamma Ray and other 80s power metal band should enjoy sizeable chunks of THE VA’ADIAN CHRONICLES.