Album Review: New Levels, New Devils // Polyphia

Polyphia are an impressive mix, bridging the gap with instrumental progressive metal riffs with atmospheric electronic soundscapes. The band are forward thinking, the mind-blowing guitar work meshing well with the clean production. They release their new album, ‘New Levels, New Devils’ later this month and it is a joy to listen to. Along with the creative guitar work, the rhythm section of Clay Gober and Clay Aeschliman recreated the traditionally hip-hop drums and bass beats live, retaining the organic feel of the music.

 

The producers on the album bring the metal and electronic scenes together, with Y2K (Killy, Yung Bans) and Judge (Migos, Young Thug) amongst the producers or the album. The album is a genre-bending listen, with so much going on, and it’s sure to increase their popularity.

 

 

The advantage of expanding a bands sound is that it gives them a chance to try new things and expand their sound palette. On opener ‘Nasty’ featuring former Born of Osiris and Chelsea Grin guitarist Jason Richardson, there is plenty of sweep picking. The live drums match this, which is impressive when you realize that these were originally electronic beats. The production is extremely clean, and the guitar solo and piano adds some atmospheric emotion to what is one of the most intriguing records you’re likely to hear this year.

 

‘OD’ is a lot of fun, with the squelchy bass extremely high up in the mix. This would sound incredible on massive speakers, the fast guitars syncing superbly with the trap beats. It leads to a loud, bass-heavy experience, which will blow your mind. The clean guitar tone on ‘Drown’ meshes well with the distorted bass. It features live drums, which are executed perfectly, along with layered electronic synths and chopped up samples. The guitars are melodic and beautiful, leaving a lot of space so the mix does not feel cluttered.

 

‘So Strange’ is the only track that features vocals from rising Mexican-American singer Cuco. Although on first listen, it sounds strange, by the second listen, the listener can appreciate the vocals because they actually work well with the creative guitars and the hip-hop influenced drums. It is the poppiest song on the album, but that demonstrates how diverse and easily accessible it is. The last track, ‘GOAT’ has racked up over 1million plays on Spotify. It is easy to see why, as it combines everything that makes the album great. The bassline has a funky influence, while the progressive dual guitars keep the listener guessing on what is going to happen next. It ends a genre-bending album which meanders in unexpected twists and turns throughout.

 

‘New Levels, New Devils’ shows that Polyphia are making a bold attempt to crack the mainstream. Working with some big-name producers, they have created an expansive album, which blends two worlds together, thus creating one of the best releases of the year.

 

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

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