Review Summary: Polyphia are a young, talented and very capable unit. Inspire proves me right.
There have been numerous new acts going for that already characteristic Djent/Progressive Metalcore style of music, there’s no denying. Few ever actually make an impact, mainly due to the identity crisis said bands suffer from. But the young Plano, TX quartet is a talented one. With all the band’s members aging below 20 years old, Polyphia have wrote and recorded Inspire
, an EP that shows just how high this young band can go.
“Ignite” opens up the album in a rather familiar way. A sweet, nostalgic piano, then some open chords, then a breakdown. Then a more djenty section of that breakdown. A deja vu, if you will, from various albums made by the cornucopia of bands embracing this soundscape lately. Even though it feels pretty much like that, the piano sounds beautiful and gladly “Ignite” is not the only track in which we’re presented with it. In fact, Polyphia use the piano quite a lot throughout the EP, in a way that it adds depth to their songwriting and makes each song stay with the listener right from the first listen. The homonym track is a perfect example of the afore mentioned.
Besides being remarkably proficient musicians with their respective instruments, Polyphia are also solid songwriters. “Persevere” and “Inspire” carry some of the best lead guitar work I’ve seen lately, and every phase in each song connects seamlessly. That said, it’s within “Inspire” that we find all the reasons we might need to stick around for the band’s next release. The way the band works and connects each section of the song, starting with an open chord section and a beautiful solo, following some atmospheric lead work building up for a good palm muted riff with some delicious leads, then returning to a contained atmospheric section, only this time with a beautiful solo, and it goes on ; this song leads most of the competition to shame. It is within this song you will find some of the best drumming of the EP too. Incredibly fast and precise drum rolls, great cymbal work, drumming that fits the mood immensely; this drummer has it all figured and serves as an incredible backbone for the band not only within the homonym track, but throughout the whole release. And on top of all that, the drum mix is made to perfection.
“Transcend” and “Impassion” are the last jewels of the crown, and the ones that shine the least for that matter. While being perfectly well written tracks (with some of that interesting lead work), both of them end up losing with the inclusion of some not so needed electronic elements. While Polyphia could have taken advantage of some parts of these songs to slowdown their lead infused song bodies, something that could benefit the band by adding some stability and atmosphere, they’ve created some electronic apparatuses involving some beats and effects that serve only to subtract from the EP’s mood. One electronic piece was also used by the end of “Inspire”, to more solid results though, as it either keeps the mood untouched or actually enhances it. On a positive note, the solo at the beginning of “Transcend” is still an excellent one, and that also goes for the ending riffs on that said song ; other than that, the last 2 minutes of “Impassion” (give it or take) are a phenomenal way to bring Inspire to an end.
flows very well and besides being well written, it’s also extremely well produced, which reflects just how multitalented this young band is. The guitars have a dreamy tone and a wonderful analog feel to them, the bass is ever present, the drums are very well integrated in the mix. So it’s only giving Polyphia good credit to say that the EP was fully produced by the band themselves, and stands as a self-release. Technically gifted, solid songwriters and with a very effective DIY attitude – these guys are worth gold.
is ambitious – very ambitious. It is bittersweet for me to say that it is along its ambition that it loses some of its trait, as the guitars are as overbearing sometimes, as they are beautiful and well executed ¾ of the time. Inspire
ends up beating most of the band’s competition, but not creating anything very far from what said competition has created, and holding on to some of the genre’s traditional schematics. Polyphia have what it takes and more to position themselves above any band practicing this kind of music. They’re young, extremely talented and well-rounded, and in the future all they need to do is to not try to outshine Inspire (or even themselves), but to create a more characteristic release.