Fast like lightning, guitarists Tim Henson and Scott LePage move their fingers to a groove-infused beat, creating riffs so powerful that they could part the sea. Polyphia has become known around the world for just that: their incredible talent. They specialize in wrapping a highly technical and purely instrumental sound with a mixture of influences, creating a bridge between genres that has yet to be explored. ‘Icronic’ is a step in a new direction for the group, leaning towards a more electronic-imbued noisescape. With ‘Icronic’ acting as a single, Polyphia has also announced “The Most Hated” EP, to be out July 21 via self-release.
In the beginning, Polyphia was as an instrumental djent band that explored technical music, but with every release, they’ve managed to evolve into a new version of themselves. “Resurrect” (2011) and “Inspire” (2013) both featured breakdowns and pure grit, showing a very promising group of musicians that focused on technical playing in a heavy setting. It was “Muse” (2014) that truly set the group apart, focusing less on breakdowns and more on bringing in influences that helped expand the band’s vocabulary.
Notable singles like Champagne and James Franco highlight the impressive jump in songwriting and general musicality. Latin, jazz, hip-hop, and classical influences put the finishing touch on the albums. “Renaissance” (2016) built on this, offering a more serious and vulnerable approach with Nightmare and Euphoria. In 2017, the band released a remix of their song “Light”, titling the version “Lit.” Teaming up with the skills of Lophiile, this track marked the group’s transition to a more produced sound, throwing in electronica highlights to accentuate key parts of the song.
Icronic uses this same method, yet harnesses the power much more effectively. With an introduction that is both dazzling and ethereal, the foundation is based upon rhythmic movements across a fretboard. At the helm of the drums, Clay Aeschliman demonstrates restrained talent, choosing to illuminate the guitar melodies when appropriate and let loose when opportunity strikes. Aeschliman’s punctuations amalgamate with Lophiile’s fiery beats and Clay Gober’s ocean-deep bass lines, creating an unrivaled rhythm and groove.
The chorus approaches with a subtlety but immediately explodes with flavor, offering a full wall of sound. With this change brings in a distorted sound rather than the clean-cut tapping that is found in the beginning. The chorus focuses on the melodic guitars that climax with a staccato harmonic note. The shortness of the note creates an intense yearning to experience the riff all over again, leading to the inevitable press of the ‘replay’ button. At the halfway mark, the bridge hits. This is where the quartet truly shows off their talent, unleashing extremely technical and exploratory playing. Guitars, drums, and the bass are all given their moment in the spotlight with full support from the rest of the band.
Polyphia is wrapping up a tour with Jason Richardson and Luke Holland; in other words, a true tour of monstrous musical proportions. The group will be touring with Between the Buried and Me following the release of “The Most Hated.” The reinvigorated sound is a delightful change from the normalcies of the group. The radio-friendly aspect of it will open many doorways for the group, whether it be airplay, tours alongside accomplished electronic artists, or whatever else may lay in Polyphia’s masterplan.
Exploring the gap between instruments and electronics is not something easily done, and the group’s successful mixture defines the four as pioneers. With four virtuosos under the same moniker and on the same page, they can dominate and define the next stage of the modern noisescape, bringing musicality to prominence once again.
Author: Sawyer Click