Arriving in style, with a defining statement to the music world that they are a force to be reckoned with is Polterguise and their debut EP Vantablack. Just released earlier this month via Theoria Records, the six-track collection will excite you with its use of intricate riffs, towering melodies, and heavy progressions. It’s a very modern-sounding take on post-hardcore, that’s defined by lead singer David Gillespie’s dynamic and dominant lead vocals.
The band is the brainchild of Gillespie himself, having started Polterguise as a solo project. When it was still just him, Gillespie, as Polterguise, released the singles “Ectogasm” and “Ethereale” in 2019, and it was after that that the project began to morph into a full-fledged band. Now a quartet, the group is characterized by its progressive brand of post-hardcore, that’s really helping to push the genre forward.
With Vantablack having just dropped, Gillespie was kind enough to offer some time to contribute a track-by-track rundown of each song on the EP, in which he very effectively breaks down all of the emotions that drove the writing and recording of this ambitious release.
1. “Fortune Teller”
“‘Fortune Teller’ is a track about looking inward, and greatly disliking what you see. Lyrically, it follows a character that is viewing former and future iterations of themselves, and feeling smothered by the differences between those iterations, and their present self. The character wrestles with shortcomings on mental, financial, and social levels. Understanding exactly how they ended up where they are, but cracking all the same.
“Its bouts of reflection tinged with horrendous regret, stabs in the dark at what may transpire in times yet to come, and ultimately challenging the present self to improve. By the end of the song, we find our protagonist realizing just how little they’ve been trying to better themselves, and potentially being ready to take that first leap into self-improvement. If they do, they just might come out as a winner tonight.”
“‘Hellhound’ is a song venting a great deal of anger, and feelings of betrayal. I was writing from a place of re-evaluating a lifelong friendship that had taken an unexpectedly horrible turn. I found myself surprised by the actions of people I trusted, and fell into a long spiral of depression from loss of deep friendship. This song was my way of taking in a big gulp of air, and screaming out my frustrations, my shock, and my pain I felt.”
“I have been an extreme sufferer of anxiety for over a decade of my life, and ‘Swordswallower’ is my ode to the state of mind it has dragged me in and out of. The very title is a reference to how it has often made me feel daily. As if I were choking on swords, when I was simply trying to breathe. Anxiety has caused me to doubt and/or ruin relationships of all kinds, sink into deep depressions, want to throw away the goals I’ve worked towards, and has kept me feeling like I’m dying everyday.
“‘Swordswallower’ encapsulates the pinballing thoughts and emotions that come with deep anxiety, but ultimately reminds myself and the listener, if you ever wanna break the spell and reach even one simple goal, you have to keep trying, even if you fail repeatedly. For you to win, you have to play.”
“‘Stigmata’ is a track pulling a lot of inspiration and themes from an older Polterguise track, pre-Vantablack, that never came to fruition. The song centers around a protagonist who finds themselves emotionally conflicted, in a tumultuous relationship. They begin to entertain morose fantasies about a life free of their tiresome lover, breeding contempt and no genuine reprieve. Simultaneously, they recognize their own multitude of faults that have in-arguably led them to this place of unhappiness, and they feel entirely disarmed. Like many situations in life, no actual solution is found here. No healing common ground is drawn between the pair, life simply goes on.”
“This caps the EP off as the finale, with its reflective and mournful themes. ‘Maelstrom’ reflects on the pain felt throughout Vantablack. Uncertain love, loss of friendship/trust, mental health struggles, fear of the future, regret of the past. It represents the mental relapse many of us inevitably experience when attempting to grow. Very rarely do we make a decision to better ourselves, and then simply stick with it. We struggle, we fall back into old habits, sometimes we barely move at all. This is a song, much like ‘Fortune Teller,’ of self-viewing, except this time, working for self instead of against self.
“This is a song realizing the true depths of personal faults, but figuring out ways to forgive, learn, breathe steadily, and become a better human. The protagonist realizes they are who they are, they will reach their goals to the best of their ability, but regardless, they are anchored to this life. Succeed or fail, they’re in for the long haul.”
“‘Vantablack’ is an exploration of the human mind, body, and soul. A reflection on the past, a consideration of the future, and a decision to utilize the present. It represents the darker corners of our lives that we can’t possibly understand, until we’re face to face with them. Loss, uncertainty, anxiety, obsessive fear. The EP presents the issues of the human condition, and alludes to solutions just around the bend. Like most of life, no one can spell it out for you, no one can guarantee success, ‘Vantablack’ is the sensation of knowing the answer is out there.”