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Polyphia - Remember That You Will Die

- New Album Review + Stream -

Opening the new record like a prelude, the track Genesis feat. (Brasstracks), starts with angularity and a horizontal bass-dominated introduction that says very little in regards to its purpose and intended direction. The stirring of a precious something invites a saturated blending of riffs and nebulous confusion that quickly settles into a definite reggae/ska type of rhythmic foundation - think "on the upbeat" and "happy" which the band adapts to with discipline and composure. With all the members forging themselves and their instrumental presence into Brasstracks’ musical intentions and Jamaican swing ecologies, the track is written in a way that centerfolds the horns and makes the fact that this is Polyphia's new record a momentary afterthought. It's richly lush with a melting warmth to its tone and signals to the listener that this journey will be unpredictable and examinative of all the space in-between, leaving out no influence/region whether grandiose or small. The second composition, Playing God, comes on like an Al Di Meola rendition of some mysterious, long-forgotten violin sonata styled classical piece which surrounds a more flamenco personality with post-gypsy-Latiny etudeness. It's direct, virtuous and doesn't waste a moment's breath by hiding itself but proudly exists with an in your face type of lovable arrogance. The phrases and guitars dance in a gyratory twine as though starting and finishing each other's streams of explosive musical choreography so intrinsically it's hard to hear separation. Even silence herself is somehow contributing, singing her ancestral song. Tim Henderson on nylon string guitar adds to an authenticity within such technically poised and brisk playing. Reserved and musically tongue-tied solely to its originating theme, the track is a lesson in maturity within youthful exuberance. The drummer and bassist have a darker contrast of metal shredding as they weave more opaque shades of musical iconography into the organic and raw musical material. An ancient language within the flesh itself is being summoned and put into practice as this high level artistry speaks within ritual, such as to be from a dialect of song/sound which can draw forevers with and without infinity, and can never be scrubbed out. Truly sonic soul fire this neurogenic-inducing artform attains elysian heights from its own reflected perfection shined into a prismatic splitting burst. In other words God’s music box plays this before he goes to sleep every night. But what does he awake to? Perhaps, it's The Audacity feat. Anomalie - the third installment of this new and brilliant record. This song is more in the realms of sextuplet trap drum soloing to glitchy quick paced sextuples and 32th note guitar solos. It starts in a Sonic the Hedgehog video game tribute that personalizes itself into modernity by avoiding boomer bends. God dislikes boomer bends except perhaps The Bends cause he's a creep... oh wait! wasn't that Pablo? Pablo's money? The song thereafter initiates its superconductor mode as a hammer-on, kiss-my-axe type Fender Rhodes sounding solo odes the Gary Husbands and Chick Coreas. Song 4, Reverie, follows in suite with another glitchy fusion Jazz meets EDM through the lens of a metal guitarist’s mind who studied classical training type of vibe that drums phrase over adding syncopation and pronouncing the hits making a greater impact and stronger rhythmic structure in time. This song, though chaotic, envelopes itself with clarity and godly precision finding order within such dense and complex sonic artifacts. It showcases bright affected tones not unlike Chon’s Sleepy Tea, with a chord to solo ratio exactly dialed to Newborn Sun. The lead lines come to existence very much like spoken word and draw parallels to pop music and high level singer phrases. It leads perfectly into song 5 - ABC feat. Sophia Black, a k-pop type generation-z song that has the same high level pop drive as Taylor's Swift Shake It Off, all the while adding technical guitar decorations and a simultaneously layered line sung over a choppy sequence of phrases that create a complex cycle. Even during the instrumental verses, one can hear the guitars and drums imply the lyrics' previous presence as though imprinted now and there, forever. Using vocalizations has always been a useful tool in Latin and East Indian music and Polyphia display such with grandeur not unlike legends like Steve Smith and Frank Gambale’s educationally-concepted band Vital Information. Jazz meets high fashion with extreme pop validity and glitchy backdrops of musically colliding textures creating the new musical genre: nerd pop. 6. Memento Mori feat. Killstation is an anthemic piece that has affected auto-tuned slow emo rap with lil personality and a kid Cudi wannabe complex. The song isn't really anything special and seems to be incomplete for Polyphia's standards. They sorta rectified the rapper's poorly knitted vibe with an djent instrumental outro that punches using harmonic notes which we all love. 7. Fuck Around and Find Out feat. $not Is a trap rap sextuplet composition with effected slowcore emo rap vocals and a reggaeton type personality. It's not greasy or gangster nor does it carry any type of street strength or j Dilla swagger. It's sorta not good. Not for fans of real rap as the name has to be ironical or a big fail. Not a fan of this $not character. Terrible flow to my ears. 8th cut on this record is a needed twist. All Falls Apart is an interlude that acts as though to wash one's ears from $not and Killstation's kid laroi type cringe. Blood music is just not great. The 9th stop of this journey, Neurotica, make one happy they stuck with this record as it returns to fusion guitar master action music with a chastity belt on as is Polyphia's trademark. Telekinesis masturbation or abstinence resides.You decide... The song has really dope serpentine runs as well as counter time and syncopated rhythms. Its sextuplet base is even departed a few times as the band bends space time in modulations. The tuplet swing is so perfect it almost gets boring here as though times melody is nowhere to be found and leaves a flatness even amongst virtuous playing. The novelty factor or addition to what has been established as Polyphia is missing. It's a Great song but needed an extra musical ecology or change up. Not enough bass perhaps? This as the second track would make more sense as its primal nature to then later be evolved by musical surrounds and the human ability of adaptation. This song needed an intense drum solo so out there and flamboyant it over took the guitars for a moment. That moment was awaited and implied yet not delivered. Sounding like a guitar trio live in San Francisco from the get go, Chimera feat. Lil West, brings the ear back to sophistry and serious tones of creation. This Latin classical fret playing is however suddenly ran through a bit of a crusher machine as each member of Polyphia effortlessly takes their role in the effects equation. It's wild how the band can act as a central nervous system glitch in one unit in all thought and action. It's more a tech death emo djent EDMish delivery than fusion and really goes in many different directions simultaneously. The unexpected Midwestern emo song 11 also known as Bloodbath feat. Chino Moreno, gives something extra while really showcasing how much the bassist has grown. During this entire record, he has laid down every bass technique and system in the game while really abiding to the Polyphia philosophy that less is more until more is more but only if less is more for you thereafter as the game of musical chairs continues. Duck duck goose shit. With a very ultimate finale, the album closer, Ego Death feat. Steve Vai, starts at its own beginnings - letting the listener sit for a second as 80 anthemic rock introductions introduce themselves into existence. Out of nowhere, an existential portal opens into a far darker mess as it's sucked into a completely new universe of musical rules and kinship. An Ando san/ Tosin Thumb on guitar originating from the legendary Wooten brothers, dynamics becomes excessive as is the technical collisions on guitar. Nesting harmonics and palm muted notes amongst other finger acrobatics the riff built out of the collective creates a mind of its own effect that any other mind can interact with through analysis. Punches ensue and trace out a fusion of pillars that strengthen each hit which act like posts for drum fills to swing between. Now but having reinforced itself, the thumb riff continues with an accompanied beast-like presence growing a bubble of crescendo. This slows down into a change up into fusion cheese boomer 80s sounding guitar sex music. Jazzy yet still progressive and straight, the ballad-esque extensions fall away as they are replaced by a now darker and more sculptural thumb riff presence. Cosmic machinery of demons working their prey forced for eternity to slave away turning gears manually, this process births a fluidized sentience that is neither here nor there but is apparently sideways. As this presence grabs hold of the steering wheel, driving this hellish engine powering everything the ballad-esque extensions return, ceasing any anxiety as the calm and soothingly predictable gives way. This gives the queue for Steve’s entrance and his whammy superiority. Acting like some pulsar riding transit the commuters of hyper space black hole travel, a trademark tone and outcry into alternate dimensions break any attention given to anything but Vai as his sound is pulled into the gravitational pull of his celestial-like presence - and the listener is drawn forth with a forceful reckoning. Vai not being the guy who plays the most notes, he does his thing picking the right spots to phrase masterfully musical ideas as he passes over the torch to the younger generation of guitar shredders. He really attains a David Torn type of guitar apparition. Something alive. As the song closes, an entire horn band plays classic snare drum and trumpet player syncopation language that adds triplets to the melody which underlay the ballad-esque sections and intro. In retrospect it's easy to see how this trumpet solo guides all of polyphia's rhythmic choices throughout the entire song previously, making it a cohesive concepted masterpiece. -Dead Poet


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