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PERIPHERY (INSTRUMENTAL)

Periphery

Progressive Metal


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Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A Very Good Idea, Average Result

When I saw that Periphery had released an instrumental version of their debut album, I thought I had struck the motherlode. During 2010, I've been exploring the world of djent metal, and one of the underground legends of the scene is a guy that goes by the mysterious name of Bulb. He's actually an extremely average, studious looking fellow by the name of Misha Mansoor. He produced and help record the phenomenal Animals as Leaders album, and had been producing monstrously brutal djent on his soundclick site as Bulb for some time. Demos of his full band Periphery have been circulating for awhile, but to my ear there was a lot of great guitar playing by Bulb ruined by some pretty average metalcore vocals that didn't really get any better with a new singer. I dislike metalcore vocals pretty intensely in general, so...instrumental version...perfect, right? Some of the best djent out there is instrumental, and if it was anything like the AaL album, certainly we'd have something to get excited about.

As it turns out, the result is certainly an improvement, but an incomplete product. Some of the songs were actually constructed as instrumentals in the first place, but I believe others were intended to have vocals from inception. As a result, some songs on the instrumental version have some repetitive sections that were meant to support vocals. (I actually prefer this to what's on the real versions, but a vocal style that matched the intensity, virtuosity, and complexity of the music is really what is missing here.)

The other obvious thing that probably got in the way is that Misha Mansoor and Tosin Obasi are actually fairly distinct guitarists. Bulb's riffs are far more brutal, often as brutal as djent godfather Meshuggah's. For a lover of breakneck riffs, Periphery may have some of the best. IN addition, Bulb's lead style is a little more traditionally virtuosic. To an extent, the music is meant to cater to pure guitar fans. A song like "Zyglrox" had seen various forms on the interwebs before this "official" version and has always been an instrumental guitar feast. (Other have criticized it for being a mathematical technique orgy, but that's the point!) Bulb does not, however, possess the same sense of harmony or simple beauty that Obasi lends his project. This album is a gang of gents with billy clubs laying into a mouthy victim for an hour. Occasionally they stand up and take a breath, give each other some high fives, and then they begin again. As I said, if you like your metal brutal, without pity, and relentless, this is your album.

I would actually like to hear an intentionally instrumental Bulb album. (Along with probably every other djent fan out there). There, we might get something truly amazing. Still we have a good album perfect for working out to.

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Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Review Permalink

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