The Algorithm at Satans Hollow: Live Review
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Anthony Firmin
Not letting their impractically early set get them down, Lancastrian eight string-wielders Passengers unleashed a set of modern prog metal fury upon those who’d made it down for doors. Debut single Boundaries packs plenty of low end groove and rasping, impassioned vocals, beginning a performance which see’s the band put in an all too short yet highly impressive set. With lots of references in their sound to post-rock and especially Djent, this is appealing to many here, many of the songs being a prelude to a forthcoming release and with such a huge sound the excitement is mounting.
On the heavier, nastier end of dance music, Marseille DJ Neoslave’s compositions were pumping, deviant and in-your-face, bolstered by thick and hairy synth sounds and creepy, devil worshipping melodies. Tracks like Messiah bring The Prodigy and the DOOM soundtrack to mind, whilst Droideka employs eerie refrains over pulsating, horror inspired rhythmic synthesizers. His combination of danceable but evil dance music with video game stylings along with his passion – he throws himself about the stage, stamps his feet and tries to infect with crowd with his energy throughout – makes him an entertaining prospect but you feel this isn’t quite the right setting from the Frenchman. Stood alone on the venue’s circular central stage with the lights bright, this isn’t the dark party setting his music both deserves and begs for. Had they stuck him in the DJ booth beneath Satan in the corner of the room and dimmed the lights, allowing people to dance and laugh and drink to his rampant and virile electronic creations, like you would in a club environment - he would have really got the party started on this Friday night.
Bridging the gap between two very indifferent styles of music with his fusion of electronic and djent, Rémi Gallego’s live act is greatly and pivotally improved by the presence and feel of a live drummer and good lord can Jean Ferry play. In fact, ever since Monuments drummer Mike Maylan proved, by posting a drum cover of Isometry on YouTube, that these warped and twisted programmed drum beats couldn’t just be performed by a computer, the humanity of The Algorithm’s music has increased by a huge magnitude with each release. New record, Compiler Optimization Techniques, then, is all the better for it. A super cool blend of Gallego’s two stylistic loves and the first time the gimmick has truly justified itself as something with emotional and technical credibility, it’s a melodically rich effort, each song centring around gorgeous, cutting melodies that are tactfully interspersed with moments of drumming chaos, aptly algorithmic intensity and rapidfire, djentrified dance music. Superscalar is a force to be reckoned with while Cluster bastardises a sped up 80s synth boogie with grunting, grinding Meshuggaisms. There are times during the track where you can imagine Gallego driving down an empty highway at night, shades and leather jacket on, street lights reflecting as blurs on the windscreen with his foot heavy on the accelerator in a kind of Back To The Future meets Need For Speed style level of badass. Then it mutates into gritty breakdowns that pack an irresistible groove with Ferry’s immense footwork rattling the venue and right there, in that moment, their nonsensical forced marriage of two very different worlds of music make perfect sense.
People dance, people headbang; everyone smiles. The interplay between Gallego and Ferry is warming and it draws you further into their strange little world. What The Algorithm do might be very niche, but open yourself up to it and its hard to not get sucked in, spun around and come out the other end breathless, but thoroughly entertained.