Review Summary: Take the 3 singles, mash them together and stretch them to approximately 40 minutes. Voilla, you've just found the recipe to "New Levels New Devils".
Polyphia is a band that's been putting out albums no one can say sound alike. From the bangers of "Inspire", to the uplifting and emotional tunes of "Muse", to the hip-hop and EDM inspired "The Most Hated", to the catchy "Renaissance" etc. Generally speaking, all of those releases have had standout tracks, unique tracks and for the duration of the album they made you feel like you were on a musical journey, with each release having a very broad spectrum of feelings and vibes that they were intended to convey, but with tracks that all had mostly a different approach to those feelings from one another.
Following the three singles that were released before the entire album (The dark "G.O.A.T., "O.D." and the more laid-back, but iffy "Yas") I had high expectations for "New Levels New Devils". I get excited when musicians try out new things. I was very excited to hear THIS fresh and new idea from Polyphia, a mixture of music genres that most of us wouldn't be able to conceive, let alone materialize. Groovy trappy beats with electronic influences, chill vibes, and great playing as Polyphia has already shown us. I was ecstatic with hype, only imagining what other ideas would be explored or remembered in the release, and how much further they would go further with the already showcased ideas.
Then "New Levels New Devils" came out.
It all went downhill from there. I listened to the entire album more than 3 times hoping that my first impression was wrong. I gave it a rest for a couple of days until the first wave of disappointment died down, so I could get a clearer picture of the record. Maybe I was biased, maybe I was expecting something entirely different and it was only my subjective disappointment that was coming to these conclusions after all. But then I listened to it again a couple of times, and every time just proved how painfully true that first impression was. This release explores one or two ideas max, it's as if they had only one. Don't get me wrong, the instrument playing is great, but the songwriting is more than questionable on this album. I found myself time and time again waiting for a song to start, thinking that what I was hearing was some sort of buildup or intro, only for the song to end and for the entire process to be repeated in the next. Most of these songs are forgettable and unremarkable. Most of the tracks on this album sound like they were the ideas that led up to the three singles. In other words, like worse versions of those singles. Especially "Bad" is almost a carbon copy of "G.O.A.T."
I would also like to mention how the majority of these tracks feature a guest artist. I'm not sure what to make of this, maybe it's just me being nitpicky, but I feel like they featured those guest artists in an attempt to give these tracks the different approach and different character that they all so desperately need. Again, I'm not sure what to make of this, but it's just some food for thought.
I will repeat myself here and say that this trap/rock blend that the band conceived was an interesting and fresh idea. Tracks that make good use of the potential this idea had, are two of the singles "G.O.A.T.", "O.D.", "Drown (feat. Mateus Asato) and maybe "Death Note". Guest artist Jason Richardson's solo on opening track "Nasty" is very good as well.
To sum up, "New Levels New Devils" gets repetitive very fast, with many tracks blending in with one another and very few standing out. I would only recommend this album if you're a diehard fan of the band and would like to show your support, but if you're looking for more than half an hour of this aforementioned "journey", look elsewhere.
I'm all for fresh ideas and weird musical blends and I give props to the band for trying to put it out there, as harsh as this review may seem. However, I'm trying to be honest and there's a lot of room for improvement here, and a lot of room for other song ideas to be explored. Until then, I will eagerly await for their next effort.
P.S. This is my first review on here and I would love to hear some brutally honest feedback from you guys. Thanks in advance!