If you think it’s difficult maintaining the attention of frenzied metalheads with shredding guitar proficiency, heart-stopping volume and triple-clutch drumming, imagine keeping them entertained without the benefit of the accompanying pentagrammatic pit-of-hell or witch/warlock spell-casting lyrical imagery. And yet, that is exactly the kamikaze mission that the musicians of Polyphia have set for themselves every time they take the stage, and it’s certainly not the only element that sets them well apart from their Metal brethren. The Dallas quartet has also incorporated plenty of Hip Hop studio techniques and EDM flourishes into its full-bore Metal presentation
Over the course of nine years and three full-length albums (including last New Levels New Devils), Polyphia has substantively shifted the Metal conversation away from adherence to tradition and time-weathered musical tropes, evolving a new branch of the genre that embraces new sounds and ideas from across the sonic and stylistic spectrum. Shamelessly welding Pop melodicism and Hip Hop rhythms to its Metal framework, Polyphia has created an infectiously bold new hybrid.
A crash course in Polyphia’s genre-bending magnificence is available in the video for “G.O.A.T.,” one of the singles released last year from New Levels New Devils. Twin guitarists Timothy Henson and Scott LePage interweave intricate, sinewy and powerful leads throughout the song’s 3:35 Pop hit duration, while bassist Clay Gober lays down Jazz/Funk/Metal lines that could pass for lead guitar (like the Cannibal Corpse of John Entwistle) and relatively new drummer Clay Aeschliman hammers with authority while skirting the genre’s edges with nuance and a melodic touch all his own.
It’s not beyond belief to include Polyphia in a Math Rock discussion, since the approach to guitar exhibits a similar precision and delicacy while retaining Metal’s pummeling bombast. The willingness to fold Hip Hop and EDM into the mix is indicative of an acute understanding that all music is evolutionary and the best of it is created when it’s cross-pollinated beyond the narrow confines of a single genre definition.
The band recently released a funny music video for its latest single, "Look But Don't Touch":
“Poly” is Greek for “many” and “-phia” means “sides.” It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Catch Polyphia at The Southgate House Revival on Thursday, April 18. Click here for more info.