Polyphia
Muse


3.5
great

Review

by Daniel Davis USER (34 Reviews)
August 25th, 2014 | 35 replies


Release Date: 09/02/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Polyphia ditch their metalcore influences and head for a style that better suits their fun, bouncy personality.

Polyphia has always had boundless amounts of potential. The Texas-based group is famous for their emo-kid image and their skillful guitar playing, as well as the particular styles of melody they weave into their compositions. But they’ve always held themselves back by sticking to a strict metalcore sound overly reminiscent of many, MANY other bands in the progressive metal scene. The solos the songs existed to exhibit were breathtaking, but unmemorable, and the riffs seemed to repeat themselves from song to song. For their crowd-funded debut album, the group wisely chose to abandon the genre that got them attention and instead focus their exaggerated solos and happy atmosphere into a more straightforward style that evokes the musings of such shredders as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Guthrie Govan, but in a much more focused and catchy fashion.

“Muse” can hardly be called “metal”, in the sense that metal is a genre mostly focused around riffs and minor keys. Instead, tunes like “87” and “Champagne” are completely based on upbeat guitar melodies and memorable leads, with plenty of breaks for extended soloing. Perhaps the easiest comparison to make is to the works of Sithu Aye and Plini, and it’s actually somewhat curious that they’re not among the guest shredders featured here. And there are many – Mario & Erick of CHON, Aaron Marshall of Polyphia’s contemporaries Intervals, Jason Richardson of Born of Osiris/Chelsea Grin fame, just to name a few. Even album producer Nick Sampson (guitarist of I Am Abomination) makes an appearance. It’s fun to spot the influences each guitarist had on the tracks they guest on – “Baditude” is as bouncy and breezy as anything CHON have put out, “Hourglass” kicks off with a slightly heavier progression that could easily have adorned the intro of any IAA song, and “Sweet Tea” has Aaron’s signature solo style written over the entire piece. Polyphia maintains a consistent sound through each one, but it brings a sense of much needed diversity to the album that wasn’t present on their earlier material.

But the remarkable thing about “Muse” is that it finally frames the solos the songs are built around as memorable events. There’s nothing wanky or overly indulgent about the solos; most of them are built around the use of slides and vibrato alone, and it’s amazing how far it gets them when the melodies they’re creating are compelling. This isn’t to say that everything on the album sticks out – the middle tracks in particular have far too many forgettable solos/parts – but by the time “Finale” finishes, it’s obvious how far Polyphia has come in advancing their sound to something that truly sticks out in the crowded progressive genre. “Muse” is more of a validation of potential than a truly great album, but what’s here is compelling, and the best tracks will remain stuck in your head for months to come.



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user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
paradox1216
August 24th 2014


494 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album stream can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gUEPpF4apU&index=4&list=PLN0q19AZLbSc_SBpOL-zmb7RzZ5aWsmKy

Was never much for these guys but this is some really tasty stuff.

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2014


10211 Comments


niiice dude

i'm not sure how much i'd enjoy this but it's nice to see this record get some coverage

paradox1216
August 25th 2014


494 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think you'd like some of the tracks but others probably wouldn't be your thing

at least check the CHON track =o

dixoncocks
August 25th 2014


2584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The production on this is phenomenal, I have a massive toner.

Seriously impressive debut album though. The time that went into making it is quite evident, and the band's skill level is unreal for every member being in their early 20's. Quality cruisin music right here.

Digging: Haste the Day - Attack of the Wolf King

Gameofmetal
August 25th 2014


1420 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Don't really recall them being famous for an emo image tho.

I would have added some bits about instruments other than the guitars. From what I heard of their ep, they didn't really sound straight metalcore but more along the lines of what you're describing here so it doesn't really sound like much evolution but I've yet to hear it so...

paradox1216
August 25th 2014


494 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Gameofmetal

Trust me, the differences will be apparent when you listen to it. It's definitely in the same spirit as the older stuff, but it feels a lot different. There's no metalcore influence or really any riffs or "breakdown" parts here at all

ikarus
August 25th 2014


563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The tracks with guest guitarists are much better than those without

Gameofmetal
August 25th 2014


1420 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gotcha. I'll be checking soon paradox

bloc
August 25th 2014


34873 Comments


Gotta hear this, sounds happy and bouncy

ASnideReturns
August 25th 2014


4965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The guitar in this is so damn awesome.

Digging: Rebirth of Enora - Downgrading

OwMySnauze
August 25th 2014


1046 Comments


Great write up paradox. I checked out a few tracks on YouTube and they sound awesome.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

masochistic
August 26th 2014


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album just makes me want to groove.

crowing51
August 26th 2014


3453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Can't wait to see these guy's live soon! Fucking great debut. So happy these guy's actually made the music that shines their talents instead of sticking to just metalcore.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

dixoncocks
August 26th 2014


2584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the happiest metal album I've ever heard.

bloc
August 28th 2014


34873 Comments


Part of me thinks this is Within The Ruins but played in a major key :P

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2014


10211 Comments


yeah this shit is tasty

hotpajamas
September 2nd 2014


3 Comments


You could still go back and put some chugs into literally any bar in the entire album and it wouldn't sound out of place. I wouldn't call that "ditching their metalcore influences". It's still pretty chuggy.

The most annoying thing about polphia, plini, CHON, whoever else.. is that they can't seem to divorce technical ability from whatever prog/core/djent genre they started with as a 12 year old. It's honestly all the same.

2/5




Dunpeal
September 2nd 2014


3684 Comments


big Satch fan. This rules m/

TooManyFriends
September 2nd 2014


702 Comments


on the first song of this and oh my god the snare drum is an abomination to mankind

ProjectFreak
September 3rd 2014


1373 Comments


I listened to about 30 seconds and I think I'll love this. Good find. Review's pretty good too, have a POS as long as you promise never to use caps lock unironically in a review again



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