The list of talented musicians to hail from the DFW Metroplex is as long and varied as the musical history of the region itself. From Stevie Ray Vaughn to Pantera, Demi Lovato to Drowning Pool our region has produced some of the most technically sound and intrinsically creative music of the last forty years. Enter up-and-comers Polyphia: with their swanky guitar riffs, polyrhythmic tempos, and grandiose sounds capes the band is poised to be the next big thing from our humble metropolitan area. They’ve recorded a full-length studio album entitled “Muse” which they’ll be releasing independently on September 2nd, and I couldn’t help but be blown away as I jammed through the album.
This record flows from start to finish. Not in the classic “all the songs run together” kind of way and they definitely don’t have the same chord progressions played in various songs to tie everything together. There are no lyrics or vocals, so language and voice aren’t what pieces everything together either. What glues this album together are the almost liquid fluidity of the guitar progressions produced by Scott LePage and Tim Henson, Polyphia’s power packed pair of picking pros. These two have utilized their talents and their connections within the music industry to compile an 11 track masterwork. The album’s list of featured artists range from the illustrious Jason Richardson (Chelsea Grin, Born of Osiris) to the soulful Erick Hansel and Mario Camarena (Chon), and Polyphia certainly took advantage of the skill and artistry of these performers and many others to convey the free-flowing fun their album presents to the listener.
“Muse” is a departure from Polyphia’s old sound. Before they really began to mold this album and formulate how they wanted to be known in the future the band was fairly similar to other local metal acts. Heavy drumming, intense guitar tracks and crushing songs designed to appease DFW metalheads were all staples of their arsenal, but the trained ear could tell that there was the potential for greatness locked within their early works. In this new offering there are as much soft, bluesy parts as there is fast-paced technicality, and Polyphia seem to be saying, “We’re so much more than just a typical metal band.” As a massive metalhead, I do admit to missing a good catchy breakdown and a near excessive amount of blast beats and double kick as I jammed the record. However this all pales in comparison to what the final product delivers- a pleasure packed romp through the feelings that make life good.
The first track to really stand out to me on the record was “Aviator,” the track featuring Jason Richardson. An aptly named track, the ebb and flow of the song left me feeling as if I had sprouted wings of my own and been given the ability to fly free from the average, everyday life I might otherwise lead. The mounting energy of the song reaches a whammy-bar laden climax as their guest performer wails out an impactful solo towards the end of the track. For a thoroughly enjoyable romp, jam the 10th song on the album- “Baditude.” Featuring members of the progressive band Chon, this is one of the most complete tracks on the album. There’s a thumping, driving bass solo midway through the song, and the harmonized guitar riffs at the very end of the track wrap everything up with an eloquent, colorful bow.
I found myself more thoroughly enjoying the tracks on the album where Polyphia explored their own sound without guest appearances. Immediately “Mood Swing” stood out with its swirling, emotional progressions. This track spoke to me on a deeper level as someone who genuinely experiences intense mood swings. Each chord progression begins with a positive sound that warps into a somber tone that immediately twists into the sounds of relief and elation. As you traverse the track, with its rolling, jazzy drums and celestial backing track you’re left with a modicum of genuine curiosity just before the swooning, dual guitar solos kick into full effect. “James Franco” might be the most fun track on the album, and the inspiration of guitar gods like Satriani, Vai, and Johnson are littered throughout the whole track. The song dances about from start to finish, like a mid-summer’s day flowing fun and fancy-free. I’ve found myself dancing around my apartment, exuberantly facing whatever my day might bring me.
Overall- buy this album, jam this album, and support Polyphia. They’re exceptionally creative artists, with a vision for their future. With the talent and skill they possess, this Plano based four piece should be around for years to come. This is a bandwagon worth jumping on now, before the rest of the world catches on and they jump into the upper-echelon of technically sound, brilliantly creative musicians who have already established themselves.
Promotional Photography by Jeremy Brookover – Dallas, Tx