1st April 2016 – FiXT Music
02. Floating Point
04. Brute Force
08. Deadlock (Ft. Igorrr)
10. Trojans (Hard Mode)
Metal is a genre that is far too often perceived by outsiders working under the assumption that everyone must sound the same as Metallica or Iron Maiden. To those of us with the vital insider knowledge however, it is metal’s vast array of sub-genres and niches that allow us to cherish and embrace the lifestyle and feast upon a vast cornucopia of musical nourishment.
Step forward The Algorithm and its musical architect Rémi Gallego: a man determined to show that success in the metal sphere is possible even if you throw the metal stereotypes 101 handbook out of the window. With a musical background playing guitar in several bands during his formative period joined to his love of all things digital, The Algorithm is something of an anomaly in the metal world with few peers capable of producing musical output of this ilk.
The marriage of electronica and metal music is not always a comfortable one but there are examples of where it has worked previously; The Prodigy would lay claim to being a big enough crossover success to headline major worldwide metal festivals. More recently the likes of Squarepusher and Pendulum can be considered a better comparison due to their own use of live instrumentation. Indeed, the intensity of The Algorithm’s live show has been a major contributing factor to the growth of its popularity and justifies their appearances at some of the biggest festivals on the world stage, including Download Festival and Australia’s Big Day Out.
In the past, ex-Monuments and current-DispersE sticksman Mike Malyan provided an energetic focal point; his drums even being live-sampled by Gallego mid-set was a joy to behold. Thankfully his live replacement – Uneven Structure’s Jean Ferry - is just as capable. Similarly, The Algorithm have dabbled with having a live guitarist, but with Kadinja’s Max Michel now focusing on his own projects, Gallego has returned to guitar in a live setting himself, even juggling mixing and guitar playing simultaneously as showcased in the video for single “Pointers”. It is the striking balance between pulsating drums, stunning programming and muted guitar riffs tighter than elastic bands wrapped around a watermelon that have drawn in a plethora of new fans to a project that at face value is fairly inaccessible to most casual listeners.
Brute Force is an aptly titled follow up to 2014’s Will Smith-flavoured Octopus 4 and the intent of the album is clear from the second opening track “Boot” kicks things off with a stark indication of everything to come. Clever use of computer loading sounds, larger than life percussive effects, digital distortion and even smooth jazz lead guitar parts combine to superb effect, perfectly portraying everything that is so unique and fun about The Algorithm.
The intensity of the album is relentless but also feels more balanced and even more accessible to the casual listener than previous offerings; no easy task to accomplish for electronic music, which can often feel devoid of emotion. The nuance of Brute Force is perfectly displayed by mid-way track “Userspace”, with its nuanced build-up of plinky, metallic samples and brooding drum segments. By the time a distorted guitar riff kicks in, the layers of groove on offer are sublime, there are even some fun bass fills providing intelligent variation where it is least expected. The track provides a welcome respite at this point of the album allowing the listener to collect themselves again before being hurled back into this Tron-like record.
Further showcasing of this comes in the form of standout track “Deadlock”, which features established breakcore trendsetter Igorrr. Following a French spoken word introduction, the gates of hell open and out pours a low guttural guitar assault that wouldn’t be out of place on a Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza record. After the preceding tune’s careful balance between guitar and electronica, “Deadlock” stands out even more by its in-your-face approach, and perhaps serves as a testament to the improving album-writing ability of Gallego as a whole; the use of tracks like this in isolation serves only to enhance their impact.
There is a lot to like about The Algorithm, and they have clearly found their own unique style and sound – and not only that, but there is a cheeky sense of self-awareness about it mirrored by their album and song names, photoshoots (usually Gallego posing with a 1990s PC monitor) and their clever merchandising (one of the pre-order options included a copy of the album on floppy disk of all things). Brute Force is the culmination of all his work so far, and if it translates as well as earlier material to the live setting did then The Algorithm are set to transcend to even bigger and better things.