Review Summary: With the technicality of math rock, the glitchiness of Skate 3, and more hooks than Wal-Mart's fishing section, Frostbyte's "Codex" could be the soundtrack to the most frantic and colorful of retro video games.9 of 11 thought this review was well written
Frostbyte’s obscurity is at odds with his knack for transforming useless noise into music. “Codex” is the young producer’s self-proclaimed attempt at a magnum opus; after two years of hard work and cutting out the filler, it seems that he made a commendable effort. Clocking in at around 41 minutes, “Codex” is filled to the brim with schizophrenic yet surprisingly tasteful melodies and all the beeps and whirs that characterize chiptune music.
But unlike run-of-the-mill chiptune, “Codex” is heavily dance-oriented and suffused with steady drums and snares. Remarkably, Frostbyte keeps the record easily danceable while maintaining a very high degree of technicality. At many moments throughout the album, there are easily over three different channels of intricate and infectious melodies playing simultaneously. Independently, they are impressive in their own right, but together, the result is a fantastic orgy of bouncy hooks. The track “You (Don’t Tell Me) is a prime example of this sonic interweaving. Frostbyte keeps his formula effective with clever songwriting, giving each song a different personality. “DRIFTER VIP” is the groovy one, “Rise From The Ashes” is the hopeless final boss fight, and “You (Don’t Tell Me)” is the cute one. My only gripe with this album is the production. While it’s fitting overall, there are moments where I found myself straining to hear certain melodies that were meant to be in the limelight. Some songs are louder than others, and some sections of several songs are abnormally soft. It’s only a minor annoyance, and it doesn't detract very much from the album.
Overall, “Codex” showcases Frostbyte’s affinity with melody, but it is sadly under-appreciated simply because not many people are aware of its existence. “Codex” is spectacular, but it is no magnum opus; if anything, it highlights Frostbyte’s potential to create one in the future, in a flashy, trippy, and outright entertaining way.
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