Review Summary: What is "normal" for The Algorithm still counts as blissful insanity by any other measure.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
The Algorithm is a weird case, to say the least. Rémi Gallego's eclectic mix of hardcore, metal, dubstep, and other electronic genres is as polarizing as it is pulverizing, and is marketed more to fans of the modern progressive metal scene than it is to the electronic music crowd. Yet with each subsequent album, Rémi pushes more and more towards a traditional EDM sound, restricting the hardcore influences and removing a good amount of the schizophrenia the project is known for. Octopus4 is the cumulation of this - while it's very representative of their past sound, Rémi focuses his skills more on crafting layered and nuanced tracks that unfold instead of abruptly exploding.
Octopus4 is somewhat of a concept album: it's about a Commodore 64 becoming corrupted, sentient, and bent on world domination. The way the music reflects this is in a gradual ramp of the insanity - opener "Autorun" is a normal trance-y song with little to no trace of shenanigans, followed up by "Discovery", which only sounds nuts because it's essentially a track cut from the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack. But by "Will_Smith" (which I presume is the name of the virus that infects the computer in question), the crazy is back with a vengeance. Things calm down a bit by the time "Void" rolls around, but by then the mental damage has already been inflicted; "Sythesiz3r" is Rémi's signature sound at full force, and "Damage Points" does syncopated rhythms better than most actual progressive metal bands do at this point. Still, by the time that the closing title track rolls around, you're thankfully likely to be more interested than you are exhausted.
It seems a little hard for Octopus4 to truly stand out at first glance, given the pedigree of its creator. It doesn't have the "what is even happening" intensity of "Critical_Error", or the progressive song structures of "Polymorphic Code". But it turns out that what is "normal" for The Algorithm still counts as bat*** insanity compared to most other music. Maybe Rémi has found the perfect sweet spot by tempering his maniacal outbursts with comparatively calm electronics, or maybe he's just transitioning to a more manageable sound. What is certain is that the album is every bit as essential as the ones that preceded it, and might even attract a few more fans in the process.