Polyphia
Renaissance


4.0
excellent

Review

by YaDig USER (1 Reviews)
March 21st, 2016 | 110 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Polyphia continue toward the path of accessibility, retaining their brilliant guitar work but losing any organic elements they had in the process.

For those new to the band's work, Polyphia is essentially a 4 piece instrumental prog rock band formed in 2014. They have yet to find a drummer they can stick with, but the guitarists and bassist are permanent members. Fans of their early work will surely be disappointed over the relative lack of drop- tuned chug riffs on this album. Polyphia have now gone strongly in the direction of super- catchy melody driven songs contrary to their more percussive counterparts Animals As Leaders and other bands in the genre.

What has always drawn me to Polyphia is their ability to create atmosphere and evoke emotion within often extremely complex song structures. Most of this album is extremely densely written, with many interweaving layers throughout most of the songs. The majority of the album really makes it sound like you are listening on top of a cloud, with many very etherial moments. I would go as far as to liken it to some 80's synth pop, which had a similar effect. Some of the standout tracks are the singles Nightmare and Crush. You will surely be humming these songs to yourself after the first listen. Crush utilizes some pretty heavy synthesizer harmonies to really emphasize the main chorus of the song.

You can't talk about Polyphia without discussing the guitar work. While there are a few moments that lull through in songs toward the middle of the album, the majority of the guitar work is fantastic. These guys really know their music theory and it shows through in a beautiful way. Strong use is made of bends, tremolo, and slides for many of the melodies, which gives a bluesy edge to the otherwise jazzy guitar parts. Guitarists Tim and Scott play at a level well beyond their years. Bassist Clay also makes a great contribution to the album, providing a very clean and solid bottom end. I will also add that this album features one of the best clean bass tones I have ever heard.

While the synth works exceedingly well in Crush and some other songs, it is also one of the downfalls of the album. There are a few songs where the overuse of samples really cheapens the feel of the song and makes it sound overly robotic, most notably in the opening seconds of Culture Shock, which features some very cheesy sounding orchestral samples.

One of the main complaints for this album so far is the production, specifically regarding the drums. This is a well- deserved criticism as at times the drumming is barely even audible over the many layers of guitars and synthesizers. The drumming in itself is also pretty lackluster, especially compared to their previous album, Muse which had some great beats. There is a human behind the kit, but it can be hard to tell at times. The cymbals especially are very washed out in the mix. The simplicity and EQ'ing of the drums make this album sound extremely polished and poppy, despite the virtuosity on display with the guitars and bass. Those that can't stand hot mixing may not be able to sit through the whole album as it is definitely heavily compressed. The production job really prevents this album from being a beautiful, natural masterpiece and places it sonically more in the realm of synth pop.

Overall, Renaissance is a very uplifiting and atmospheric experience, but it may be fatiguing for some due to the heavily compressed production job and heavy use of complex harmonies. Those looking for some really stellar guitar and bass work will definitely get their fix, unless they are only looking for Vai-esque shredding, which there is little of. I firmly feel at this point that the album deserves a rating of a 4, but only time will tell if this can stand up to many repeated listens.


user ratings (165)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2016


8876 Comments


Welp, someone had to review it. Might give this a listen, I've never minded these guys too much. Nice write-up.

Digging: Ni - Pantophobie

silentstar
March 21st 2016


2526 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is actually such a fun album



did you hear the weeknd/nightmare mashup - it's a lot of fun too: https://www.facebook.com/Polyphia/videos/930539390376204/

oldsoul
March 21st 2016


278 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thought that mashup was great, weird how they fit together so well

Digging: King Apathy - Wounds

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
March 21st 2016


2957 Comments


I haven't found any of the band's releases to really hold up after more than a couple of listens. Kinda seem like a second-rate mashup of Chon and current Intervals, but they do know how to write some addictive leads.

Review also seems a little uniformed. A good deal of prog bands write with song structures light-years ahead in terms of complexity than anything Polyphia have written. They are talented musicians, no doubt. But their songwriting panders to instant addiction over replay value. From what I've heard so far, this sits around a 3.3 for me. For a first review, you did a good job! Production para was great. Keep 'em coming bro

bloc
March 21st 2016


54697 Comments


This didn't have the same impact on me as the previous album. Seems like all the songs on this are shreddy covers of pop songs.

And all the guitar warbles start to get really annoying.

Digging: Way Out West - Intensify

YaDig
March 22nd 2016


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the words guys! And to be sure, this album caters more to infectious melodies than epic arrangement. However, I truly feel that given more natural production and better drumming, this could have been something really special.

MercuryToHell
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2016


1336 Comments


There are parts I disagree with, mainly exactly the same gripes as Cryptologous, but for a first review this is outstanding.

Pos'd up in this bitch.

SteakByrnes
March 28th 2016


14471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really dig the singles they released, but other than Culture Shock and Armour the rest of the tracks just go in one ear and out the other. I had the same feeling with Muse, really digging the singles and a few tracks, but the rest just being noise to have on in the background while I do something else. Euphoria and Crush are absolutely phenomenal though, best tracks they've made by far

Digging: Ghost Atlas - Sleep Therapy: An Acoustic Performance

SteakByrnes
March 28th 2016


14471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There's no denying their talent though, Tim and Scott know how to play melodic leads that can get stuck in your head immediately, and they both shred like the best of them. Clay's more prominent bass this time around is a nice addition, I like that he doesn't just stick to root notes throughout the songs.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2016


8176 Comments


I don't know what it is, but this band's music just annoys me. I had to listen to some Sithu after this to center myself again.

Beardog
May 18th 2016


2728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like this a lot more than their last album, a few shitty songs but most are top notch

SteakByrnes
December 14th 2016


14471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After soaking this album in more and more as the year went on, I liked this album more and more. Creeped up to be one of my favorite releases of this year

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2016


8876 Comments


My man, Ordinance awaits you.

SteakByrnes
December 14th 2016


14471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Is that a band my guy?

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2016


8876 Comments


Yessir. Ordinance - The Ides of March

Techdeath jam, one of my favs from 2016

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
December 14th 2016


8876 Comments


Their first lp is good too but it's pretty different, honestly sounds to me like a deathcore album more so than a techdeath one.

SteakByrnes
December 15th 2016


14471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sounds like it's up my alley then, thanks for the rec my dude m/

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
December 15th 2016


8876 Comments


You'll love it

Beardog
December 15th 2016


2728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've been really starting to love this lately, the production is the only bad thing, atleast I found a way to improve it a lil with EQ

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
December 15th 2016


8876 Comments


The dudes aren't bad at all, but they're a bit too aimless for me sometimes.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy