Polygon Horizon is a chipartist whose name may not be recognized by many. However, on hearing their polished sound, out-of-this-world riffage, and references to the Nintendocore music catalog throughout their Facebook page, it’ll be clear that this is no newbie to the chipmusic genre. Poopmaster (debatably the contender for ‘Silliest Artist Name with Best Music’) went through a transitional period, slightly altered their usual style, and morphed into the chipmetal project that is PH. ‘Synonymous Dimensions’ is this artist’s virgin project under this alias; this is a concept album dealing with the unique idea that five video game characters suddenly become conscious of what’s happening around them and the fact that they are, indeed, nothing more than digitally created objects in a predetermined world. Read on to see what this veteran of the genre has created!
‘Dash (feat. Dustin E.)’ is a ballad to racing games like Excite Bike, Initial D, and the like. Drums pound, NES-esque voices permeate the backing voices, and guitars shred while the vocalist screams at the top of his lungs, evoking a sound similar to RainbowDragonEyes and Stern Fucking Zeit. The extremely clean production quality is a high point of the album as a whole, and this is in part due to the lyrics being actually coherent, which seems to be a trait that metal and metalcore in general have a tendency to lack now. Brief changes in time signature throughout the song give it a math rock-ish feeling at points (super plus!) and a dueling chip/guitar solo at the 2:21 mark provide an even more epic aspect to an already technically impressive track. The lyrics tie in well with the album’s concept; in this track, the subject questions both whether or not driving faster can break the cycle of monotony that he’s finally noticed, and acknowledges the fact that no one he sees will be a person he can ever interact with. One can only imagine the sorts of emotional distress that this could put someone through, and that feeling is captured brilliantly in ‘Dash’.
‘Barrage (feat. Shotgun Guy)’ is somewhat of a love letter to the DOOM series, between the name of the featured artist and the subject matter of the song which is – you guessed it – fighting demons with various weapons, in addition to delving briefly into the motivations and feelings of the vocalist. Intricate chip harmonies take a backseat to catchy chord work and aggressive double bass pedal/snare drum combinations, but what really takes the cake here is the nostalgia of the lyrics for anyone who’s played through the series before. Between the references to Shotgun Guy in the title, the BFG in the opening segment of the song, circle strafing (a classic technique to keep an enemy in your sights in FPS games), and fighting to protect Daisy, the Doomguy’s pet rabbit, there’re enough throwbacks to make this track a quick favorite for fans of first-person shooters, metal, and chipmusic alike.
‘Upgrade (feat. Mitchell R.)’ is a little more upbeat in terms of musical structure than the remainder of the lyrical tracks on the album, but that doesn’t make it any less brutal than you’d expect at this point from this one-man chipmetal superstar. A borderline relaxing intro belies a head-bangingly excellent ode to adventure RPGs. Lines like ‘I must collect each of the mystical X’s/To achieve the power to defeat big bad Y’ caused me to remember this extremely common trope to the genre, and others like ‘I’m glad to have the time/To play minigames/While the whole kingdom, is up in flames’ points out the lack of a sense of urgency – especially notable in games such as The Legend of Zelda – in order to encourage exploration of every nook and cranny, which isn’t something one would necessarily have the luxury of doing in a more realistic environment. This paradoxical statement gives a hint of humor to an otherwise intense and unrelenting slew of shredding.
Overall, the lyricism of this album is near-flawless, its instrumentation is executed well, and the production value is very high for a typically lo-fi genre of music. The only potential blemish on this excellent album is a bit of a repetitive-feeling nature between the vocals. Being a chipmetal album, one should be a bit more lenient with regards to this because there’re only so many tones that the human voice can take on when screaming, and admittedly it takes a certain talent to be able to do it well and in a controlled manner; as such, this can be easily forgiven. ‘Synonymous Dimensions’ is available as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp, and it’s definitely worth having in your library, be you a newcomer to chipmetal or a long-time fan.