The Algorithm

Polymorphic Code

01. Handshake
02. Bouncing Dot
03. Trojans
04. Access Denied
05. Logic Bomb
06. Warp Gate Exploit
07. Null
08. Panic

[11/19/12]
[Basick Records]

A palatable crossover between electronic music and metal is hard to come by. Both genres are known for their array of hair-splitting subgenres and elitism among rabid enthusiasts, so when the two worlds clash, it can lead to some very polarizing output. Though, French producer Remi Gallego may have just stumbled upon a suitable combination, juxtaposing trance-inducing synth leads against complex and driving groove and attack with his experimental project The Algorithm.

The Algorithm’s debut album Polymorphic Code is where djent’s polyrhythmic percussive striations clash with a myriad of electronic genres, ranging from the hypnotic arpeggios of trance, the glitch-laden mathematics of IDM, and the gritty rumbling bass of dubstep to create an unlikely avant-garde godsend for open-minded progressive metal fans. The entire spirit of The Algorithm makes itself immediately known as the atmospheric introduction builds and bursts into a spastic freakout of guitars and synth in opening track ‘Handshake.’ Elsewhere, aggressive mosh-worthy breakdowns give way to chill atmospheric dub loops and back again in album centerpiece ‘Access Granted.’

Really, Polymorphic Code often acts as the electronic parallel of progressive metal. Transcribe the bouncing angular leads to guitar, and much of this record would sound right at home with the djent, progressive, and tech metal genres. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why prog label Basick Records were eager to sign The Algorithm and were confident enough to market this project to metal fans, billing the act (rounded out by live drums from Monuments skinsman Mike Malyan) alongside Chimp Spanner and Uneven Structure — not just because they’re label-mates, but because they all embody the same forward-thinking attitude and spirit. Polymorphic Code is a testament to that fact, as it stands as a lone shining anomaly in its environment.

As great as Polymorphic Code is though, brilliant ideas often come and go without being given adequate airtime before being shuffled out for the track’s next movement, which makes finding hooks across the record difficult on initial listens. The Algorithm was built on forward-thinking principles, but there’s nothing wrong with being mindful of song structure and giving the songs’ best moments room to breathe and build into something that isn’t merely the “next stop” on a lost train of thought. Polymorphic Code is quite an engaging listening experience, but due to odd structure, there isn’t a lot for takeaway for first-time listeners.

However, Polymorphic Code is an ambitious and risky album, at the end of the day. The odd-ball melding of genres is often hit-and-miss — especially considering how close-minded some fans of either genre can be — but The Algorithm makes major strides in showing that metal and electronic music can find themselves at a crossroads and be in good company. It wouldn’t be at all shocking if Polymorphic Code becomes a seminal record and sparks further developments in the melding of metal and electronic music genres. Should such a thing happen, hopefully they’ll be as good as Polymorphic Code, which presents the idea with earnest and sincerity instead of pretense and grandeur.

 The Algorithm – Polymorphic Code gets…

3.5/5

– JR