19 November 2012
by David Keevill
The sterile, self-enforced world of djent is becoming locked into a coma of its own creation, with a vast swathe of bands owing a soulless homage to the palm-muted riff. Yet waking like some Walter Tevis antihero into this drearily antiseptic world, a collection of bands have seen how barrages of arrhythmic but vacuous guitar parts can form part of a much more interesting whole.
In the case of Rémi Gallego, producer and sole representative of The Algorithm, chunky monosyllabic riffs are essential to his ferocious output. Polymorphic Code, The Algorithm’s first full-length album is a technical and volatile combination of electronic squirts, throbbing dub and untraceable song structures, held together by Gallego’s thirsty apportioning of cruise liner-heavy metal samples onto almost everything.
Precision and discipline to an almost academic level of application may be the key to Polymorphic Code’s ebb and flow, but it’s the unpredictability of everything that makes this such an interesting record. Opener ‘Handshake’ is, in comparison to the remainder of the album, a fairly linear offering; short atmospheric build gets thrust aside by the angular, jerking riffage and electronic bleeps of the bulk of the song, which occasionally pulls out for a mood-creating preamble. ‘Bouncing Dot’ lacks its predecessor’s immediacy, but settles, as it names indicates, into a dancey pulse that is ultimately a little shallow. It’s moments like this where depth and engagement with the music disperses at the expense of adrenaline, something which occasionally recurs throughout the record.
However it’s the mid-point of the album where The Algorithm sounds like he’s found his stride. ‘Trojans’ is all amassed potential; searing Periphery-esque riffs boil over a dark and brooding electronic ambiance and big, ballsy melodic lines erupt out of nowhere. Lyrical hooks are unnecessary as the bouncing brashness of the music fades into the gargantuan ‘Access Denied’ which sounds like a prelude to some grim carnal orgy taking place in vast blender. The remainder of the album never reaches these peaks of insanity, but it rarely gives a reason to criticise Gallego’s pin-point production or adventurous gaze.
What Polymorphic Code lacks in heart and immediate endearment, it by and far makes up for in brash experimentalism and hostility. Progressive in the most obscure of ways, it will neither fit onto a badge-covered denim jacket or at some acid house rave, but once again goes to show that engaging heaviness can sometimes be found in the last places metalheads dare to look.
Sounds Like: Riffs from Monuments, exploratory scope of Hacktivist, everything else is all The Algorithm.
Standout Tracks: Access Denied.