No matter what you think of them, Polyphia have at the very least established themselves as one of most divisive, polarizing instrumental acts of the last ten years. For a good chunk of their career, we never really felt the need to take them too seriously – let’s just say there was a perceived imbalance when it came to style vs substance, and generally represented the overt saturation that was all-too-present in the general music industry.
But in 2018, the band seemed to change their recipe with New Levels, New Devils. In fact, singles like “G.O.A.T” far surpassed what we thought the band was capable of, and although band was always competent when it came to instrumentation, the amount of intrigue had leveled up significantly. The album also featured some all-time greats, from Yvette Young and Jason Richardson to Mario and Erick from CHON, which certainly didn’t hurt.
So earlier this year, when we heard “Neurotica,” we did our best to keep an open mind. There was still a small part of us that couldn’t unsee all of the music videos of the past, but if we tried to tell you that there wasn’t a certain level of cringe in our own come up, we’d be lying. “Neurotica” was interesting, and we dug the song’s hyper-modern flow, but we didn’t consider it proof that the band had continued to improve.
Then we heard “Playing God,” and knew within seconds that the band was out for blood.
The song’s flamenco-on-crack delivery is nothing short of fantastic. Every member of the band seems fully intent on shedding the past and looking squarely at the future, and it’s this vision that makes Remember That You Will Die truly prophetic. Of course, there will be legions of haters who refuse to acknowledge this, but for those willing to listen, the proof, for better or for worse, is undeniable.
Despite the album’s deep-end dive into electronic production, there’s something inherently organic about it all, whether it’s the expertly layered mix, outrageous features (including Chino Moreno, Sophia Black, and none other than shred devil himself Steve Vai) or fabulously composed performances. Tim Henson’s otherworldly tones remain at the core of the album’s vision, but the rest of the band gets more spotlight than ever, adding a huge amount of diversity to the overall adventure.
Every song here offers a different flavor without losing the record’s stylish, laser-lit focus on making sure that people know that Polyphia is at the absolute top of their game. Overall, Remember That You Will Die represents a quantum leap for the band, and though we’re pretty sure Polyphia will have no problem furthering their reach, we do hope that people that have tuned them out in the past give the record a chance. Rather than sit there and argue as to whether it’s math rock, prog, or progressive metal with prog-hop filigree, you should hear it for what it is first: a vision of the future.
Check out the Polyphia website here to pickup a physical copy or download, or go ahead and stream it you know where – it’s worth it. Coming up though we’ve got some other cool stuff from Gotho, God Alone, and Garrett Gleason. You can also buy us a coffee here… you know, for all the hard work we do around here ;) Thanks for reading!