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Review: The Algorithm – Polymorphic Code (Album)

Crazy genre bender The Algorithm have constructed a new collection of glitch metal, see what we thought inside…

Band: The Algorithm
Release: Polymorphic Code (Album)
Release Date: 19/11/12

‘Polymorphic Code’ is an album that needs a disclaimer. If you’re a rock/metal purist, this album will categorically not be your cup of tea. In fact, it’s a cup of coffee. That’s how much ‘Polymorphic Code’ is not your cup of teaWhat we have here is chiptune, breakcore, DJ’d metal and dubstep mixed together in an anarchic fashion by someone with an insanely metal mentality. It’s instrumental metal via a gaggle of extremely melodic dial-up modems, broken NES consoles covered in dust, and jammed printers. It’s also really, really good.

With all the different elements of music fighting for attention here it feels like ‘Polymorphic Code’ could descend into sloppy audio chaos at any given moment, but this is part of the hook that makes it so damn listenable. Opener ‘Handshake’ begins with atmospheric synth, quickly erupting into breakbeats and tiny, almost indiscernible wobbles building up to magnificent digital crescendos coming out the other side into chilled chiptune patterns and winding, sinister melody before drums hammer and impeccably placed riffs drop in. Every track has this same layer of progression and this is largely what gives ‘Polymorphic Code’ its place in rock and metal – it might sound like electro half the time but it’s electro if Dream Theater got their hands on it.

‘Bouncing Dot’ is the same, pounding beats accompanied by churning guitar and distant, paced synth notes. Each track gives you the sensation of being on a rollercoaster blindfolded – you’re exhilarated, confused, with no idea of what’s around the next corner or when you’re going to want to get off. Whenever the electronic/dubstep elements start to overpower the metal mentality in tracks like ‘Trojans’ and ‘Logic Bomb’, the metal parts of the album’s construction seem to make a dominating return, especially in ‘Access Granted’, which could easily pass for an instrumental version of a Rolo Tomassi song in parts (except for the completely random dub/reggae beat section dropped in halfway or the industrial breakdown that follows near the end of that same track). It’s hard to explain ‘Polymorphic Code’, and even more difficult to try and justify why you should give this album a go if electro isn’t your thing or you’re repulsed by the faintest notion of DJs and metal coming together. It’s chaotic, unpredictable, but most importantly, it’s incredibly well constructed with a serious consideration and knowledge of music. Even if you pick it up and listen to it once, it’ll be worth it just to marvel at the electronic genius on display. This comes highly recommended for the open-minded and the genre-crossers alike: music doesn’t get much more genre-bendy than this.


Reviewer: Laurence Stark

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