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Periphery biography
Periphery is an American progressive metal band from Bethesda, Maryland, formed in 2005.


Formation and Lineup Changes (2005 - 2009)

Periphery was formed by guitarist Misha Mansoor in 2005. He slowly gained a reputation on the Internet, primarily via a regularly-updated Soundclick account, Meshuggah and John Petrucci forums, and the message boards. Before and during Periphery?s tenure in the metal scene, Mansoor developed a reputation for doing his own audio production, the majority of which was performed with a home computer and a Pod XT during this period. Mansoor has continued to update his personal project, Bulb, which preceded Periphery, often transferring songs between the two projects. Mansoor continues to be involved in a number of other musical projects.

Between 2005 and 2009, Periphery worked with vocalists Jake Veredika, Casey Sabol and Chris Barretto, gradually moving from a nu metal-influenced sound to a more experimental style, with a focus on innovative production. In 2009, the band announced via their MySpace blog that they had signed a one record deal with Sumerian Records, on which they would release their debut full-length album.

Periphery has toured extensively since 2008, supporting artists including DevilDriver, Emmure, Veil of Maya, Animals as Leaders, God Forbid, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Fear Factory.

Spencer Sotelo and Self-titled Debut (2010 onward)

In January 2010, Sumerian and Periphery set the release of the band?s self-titled debut album to April 20, 2010, set to be distributed by Sumerian Records in the United States, Distort Records in Canada and Roadrunner Records in Australia and the rest of the world. On January 20, 2010, amid swirling speculation that they had changed vocalists again, Periphery uploaded an album sampler featuring vocals by Spencer Sotelo, who was later announced to be Periphery?s new vocalist. The band later clarified via their MySpace blog that the split with Barretto had not been acrimonious. Barretto continues to sing in metal band Haunted Shores, a project composed of Mansoor and Mark Holcomb. On April 8, 2010, Periphery posted a new track, ?Insomnia? on their Myspace page, as well as announced a tour of Australia in support of The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Periphery (2010)

Periphery released their self-titled debut album, Periphery, through Sumerian Records on April 20th, 2010. It debuted at #128 on the Billboard...
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PERIPHERY Videos (YouTube and more)

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Periphery II: This Time It's PersonalPeriphery II: This Time It's Personal
Sumerian Records 2012
$2.99 (used)
Periphery III: Select DifficultyPeriphery III: Select Difficulty
Sumerian Records 2016
$7.93 (used)
Periphery IIPeriphery II
Century Media Records 2016
$33.86 (used)
Juggernaut: OmegaJuggernaut: Omega
Sumerian Records 2015
$2.99 (used)
Sumerian Records 2010
$3.99 (used)
Juggernaut: Alpha/OmegaJuggernaut: Alpha/Omega
Century Media Records 2015
$17.27 (used)
Juggernaut: AlphaJuggernaut: Alpha
Sumerian Records 2015
$2.30 (used)
Sumerian 2014
$3.97 (used)
Icarus EPIcarus EP
Sumerian Records 2011
$6.31 (used)
Juggernaut (2LP, Includes Download Card)Juggernaut (2LP, Includes Download Card)
Sumerian Records 2015
$30.18 (used)
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PERIPHERY discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

PERIPHERY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 99 ratings
3.72 | 75 ratings
Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
2.84 | 34 ratings
Juggernaut: Alpha
3.23 | 34 ratings
Juggernaut: Omega
3.71 | 17 ratings
Periphery III: Select Difficulty

PERIPHERY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PERIPHERY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PERIPHERY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PERIPHERY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 16 ratings
Periphery (Instrumental)
4.00 | 12 ratings
The Icarus Lives EP
4.67 | 6 ratings
4.38 | 8 ratings
Make Total Destroy
3.05 | 22 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Periphery II: This Time It's Personal by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.72 | 75 ratings

Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Customers who bought (band name) also bought "Periphery". Cool. Let's check them out. Hmm. The vocals are out. Next!

A few months later. Periphery again? Okay, let's give them another shot. Nope. Not with those vocals.

Several months later. Periphery? Try. Fail.

And then the band appears on a list of top progressive metal bands. But I just can't get passed those vocals. And then "Periphery II: This Time It's Personal" is on LoudWire's list of 25 top prog metal albums, and I'm looking at the list and thinking, "I have 15 of those and five more are on standby in my Amazon cart. You know what? Let's just buy the damn album and give it a fair listen.

Periphery. Progressive metal. But clearly there's a djent approach. And there's a metalcore style too not unlike Between the Buried & Me or Protest the Hero. Then there's the vocals which immediately remind me of Sugar Cult or Jimmy Eat World. Emo. Powerful vocals for sure and with an edge and a harsh scream. But there's also that plaintive heartbreaking tone that just sounds so like that, like emo pop punk. I can take it in its own genre. But here on a metal album?

The funny thing is that everything I might have had to say against this album has ultimately come to mean little or nothing. The fact is simply that I enjoy listening to this album. Okay, so it's like Animals as Leaders without Tosin Abasi combined with Jimmy Eat World and Protest the Hero guiding the song writing and musical composition. And there's another element which was nagging at me for two nights until I could place it: the gruff, shouted vocals remind me of Slipknot. Come to think of it, what little I know of Slipknot's music, there's some similarity in places. Is the tuning to dropped B, perhaps?

Well, that's just the thing about this album. There's so much going on that it's easy to say, "This part reminds me of xxx in places, and xyz in other places." I mean, there're the djent parts, the clean and pretty echoing guitar parts, the electronic percussion parts accompanying the pretty guitars, the wild lead parts, and more emotive Jimmy Eat World-like parts, and more! I keep taking my phone out of my pocket while walking and checking what track I'm listening to and that's a very good sign. Listen to Spencer Sotelo just belt out the note at 3:52 in "Ragnarok" or the sudden change in the music in "Facepalm Mute" from aggressive and heavy to light, atmospheric and electronic. How about the violin and proggy keyboard sound that starts off "Have a Blast"? A list could easily be made because each track seems to be able to shift and move around in different directions.

Now, I understand that not everyone wants this kind of music in their ears and not everyone will be accepting of the vocals simply for their style. At times I am even tempted to think the music and vocals are actually not that interesting. But then soon something comes along to perk up my ears. And so, "In fact, f**k it, Nick," I'm going to go ahead and give this album four stars. I'm not likely to go and buy another Periphery album so soon but this one here has quickly won me over. Now I'm adding Protest the Hero and Animals as Leaders to my playlist for the next week.

 Juggernaut: Omega by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.23 | 34 ratings

Juggernaut: Omega
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars I sometimes wonder if the band's singer wants us to hate him. Oh well. But, in spite of the continued suckitude (as that is the technical term) of the vocals, the omega juggernaut actually feels like a juggernaut at times. I'm finding some redeeming value here for once, with the whole chain of "The Bad Thing/Priestess/Graveless/The Hell Below" actually sounding alright. Since my ears don't hate me for saying that, it must be true. And certainly the band's actually brought out some proper and well enough done metal for once. Other than that, the complaints that can be leveled at "Alpha" carry over. Especially, yet again, those *bleepity-bleep* vocals, and I will still hold fast to the conclusion that the whole "Juggernaut" project is hardly prog or tech. It's like they saved the best for last, yet they didn't have enough of it. Especially with the lazy and particularly terrible "Reprise", the worst track here and almost as bad as "Alpha"'s title cut. In the end, what shows this album's redeeming value is that I am actually considering getting this at the local record shoppe, all the while stealing angry death glares at its companion. The vocals make this a 2.5, but here I can only round up.
 Juggernaut: Alpha by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.84 | 34 ratings

Juggernaut: Alpha
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

2 stars Periphery... a byword in the prog metal world. Hardly respected, easily brushed off by Anthony Fantano, not even listed on the Encyclopedia Metallum. You're left wondering just what could possibly be wrong with them...

... at least until you listen to this cold mess. First thing you'll realise is that the singer sounds like a mix of all the worst parts of metalcore and third wave emo vocals. Just juvenile sounding. Then there's the music, which is pretty much inoffensive and innocuous enough. Not a good thing. At best, it sounds decent but will probably bore. At worst, it just sounds like a rehash of already done metal tricks that were done better the first time, or even the first hundred times. This "juggernaut"'s title track, "Alpha", commits the worst musical sin of the album by having a completely out of place opening. Words can't describe just how weirdly this short opening section doesn't fit with the rest of the song, and the rest of the album. And I was promised by even some of the detractors that there were at least some interesting tonal experimentations within. Not there, so maybe, if we're lucky, the earlier releases oft described as guilty pleasures - including by fellow reviewer Gallifrey - has those. In fact, I'd say this has little prog or tech in it, and even scarce metalcore/djent influence beyond the horrid vocals. I can't say that most of the music is outright bad at all, but it's further away from good. Certainly nothing that can be called redeeming without my ears turning on me and throttling me to death. I would recommend that this be avoided at all costs.

 Juggernaut: Omega by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.23 | 34 ratings

Juggernaut: Omega
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by Gallifrey

2 stars To Periphery's credit, I'll give them points for effort on a whole lot of this album - they have done quite a bit of attempting to tie together multiple themes and riffs here. Someone on reddit actually compiled a list of recurring themes, some so subtle that they add nothing significant to the album, but the notable ones here being the chorus of the first album's title track reprising in this album's title track, and the several reprises of the melody from "A Black Minute". But come the [%*!#] on, starting both albums in exactly the same way? And not only that, naming the track "Reprise"? That's just plain lazy, and it obviously doesn't help that "Reprise" has the same vocal problems as "A Black Minute", but even worse. I admire their attempt but this opener is just poor. Good thing it's a short track.

People have been talking about Omega being a better album than Alpha, and containing some of their best and most progressive material to date, so after my first three listens of Alpha I was slightly looking forward to hearing this one, especially given the nice looking track lengths here. And I must say, I'm going to have to drop a few people from my list of trusted music fans for this one, because not only is this album quite poor, it's even worse than the first one.

Here we find Periphery getting balls deep into their concept, which I have read a little bit into and honestly sounds like a cross between 1984, poor science fiction and crudely written manga. But the problem with this album being so heavy on lyrics and concept is that they drop so much of the focus on composition (not that they ever had a lot of that). The music here is seriously lazy. Due to the length of story they have to get through, the vocals and guitars regress to basic chugs n screams far too many times, just so Spencer can recite lyrics without having to worry about melody. The first proper song, "The Bad Thing" is pretty much an amalgamation of bad djent cliches, the only thing really missing is an uber-sugary chorus. Metalcore vocals, breakdowns, extensive repetitions, awful guitar tones, really cheap distant "atmospheric" melodic guitar lines, and even some pretty weak clean vocals are all here in numbers. The song feels so one- dimensional. There isn't a second when there isn't a chug happening, even during the clean sections, and with this constant onslaught of all-heavy, all the time, it becomes ridiculously repetitive and difficult to listen to. The chorus of this track isn't bad, especially the second time around, when it gets a distinct Devin Townsend vibe to it, but I'm not suffering through five minutes of incessant chug-core to get to it.

And while I am used to these sorts of tracks cropping up on Periphery records, and djent records in general, the problem Omega has is that it rarely does anything else. "Graveless" does nearly the exact same thing as "The Bad Thing", but with an ever-so-slightly more interesting riff (it actually has notes and not 0s). It has a pretty neat punk vibe to some of the parts, but all that is countered by Spencer's need to scream like he's in a scenecore band and the guitarists' needs to sound as gross as possible (also there's a breakdown at the end which, like 99% of breakdowns, adds nothing to the music). Halpern gets a few blast beats in though, which I'm happy for, even if the kick tone on this album is still borderline vomit-worthy. And then straight after, we get "Hell Below", another heavy track. When I say that the heaviness feels incessant when I'm inside one of these tracks, imagine how I feel after three of them come in quick succession. I feel nauseous. Even worse, this one goes for not only metalcore screams, but those vocals when they layer both high screams and low ones together, like a deathcore band before they go into a pig squealing segment. The only compliment I can give this track is for once the guitars actually feel heavy in a good way, as opposed to heavy in a cheap, processed, chug- core way.

But again, like on Alpha, this isn't all bad, it's just more bad than before. "Priestess" begins with a slightly more wanky version of what sounds like an Opeth acoustic melody, and I can actually say it's one of the few guitar parts on this album that I don't think is terrible (I'm assuming Mark wrote it). This track, aside from some poor over-accentuation from Spencer and a couple of bad solos, is actually pretty nice. The soft/heavy contrast gives the heavy sections so much more punch and grit, rather than the heavy tracks in which they're pretty much just going fully the whole time.

And then we have the title track, which, for most of its length, is another metalcore track. What's that, 15 straight minutes of screams and breakdowns? And people call these guys progressive? The sad thing is that this song should be the centrepiece, linking together all the parts of the story, it shouldn't be a chug-fest that's twice as long as all the others. The best part of this song is the reprise of the chorus of "Alpha", by far, and if you read my comments on that chorus in my first review, you know that that's hardly a compliment. But after nearly 10 minutes of relentless smashing, it's the biggest release you could ask for. The other big problem about this track is how it doesn't feel like an epic at all. "Psychosphere" from Alpha did epic better than this, it just feels like stacks of riffs and part, not really leading to a point. And again, it's all because they refuse to give the screams a break. There's nowhere to go, there's no build. The heavy parts have no power because that's all there is. Epics need to have flow, and go from one point to another without dawdling, because otherwise their length does not feel justified.

Omega is a mediocre metalcore album, a bad Periphery album, and an album that should never be called progressive metal without a singular aim to annoy prog metal fans. It tries so desperately hard to be ambitious in concept, but Periphery have taken such a truly lazy route in their compositions by relying not on progressive songs, but long strings of metalcore chugs and screaming. A few choice moments are not enough to stop this being their weakest yet (again, ignoring the debut album because that was just plain awful).


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 Juggernaut: Alpha by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.84 | 34 ratings

Juggernaut: Alpha
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by Gallifrey

2 stars Periphery, for me, have always been a 'guilty pleasure' band. They're fun, at times, and I can sure sing along loudly to 'Scarlet', because that [&*!#]'s hella catchy, but the moment anyone starts talking about them as 'progressive' and 'thinking man's metal', I have to hold my breath to stop from bursting out laughing. And this happens often. Periphery are a band who combine sugary melodies that could be in Britney Spears songs with a bit of polish, with br00tal chug chug breakdowns and screams, with some ~trendy~ electronic bleeps and bloops, with lyrics that are half pseudo-deep pretentious nonsense and half meme-seeking gimmickry. And just because their guitar leads follow absolutely no time or groove or melody or key, that suddenly makes them compositional geniuses? Nope, this is pop music, plain and simple. And sometimes, they make some pretty nice pop music.

But I'll take an aside first to talk about this release - more specifically, why the [%*!#] is this a double album? Don't get me wrong, the rockist inside me loves this - two disks, separate covers and titles, both about 40 minutes (the length of a 70's LP), and both with perfect split points for each side of the record. Fantastic, just how it should be. But then, Periphery decide to release them as separate albums, and then tell us 'you should be listening to both one after each other, to get the full story'. No. No, no, no. No, no, no. That's not how it [%*!#]ing works. You split into two disks when you don't want people to listen to it all at once. You know, like Have One on Me or Grace for Drowning. Both artists agreed that listening to it all at once would become a bit boring, so split the albums conveniently into short pieces. Here, Periphery have just done it because they want more money from their legions of 12-year-old followers (who actually legitimately purchased Periphery 'Keep Calm'' and Dolan shirts. Yes, Dolan, that uber-[&*!#]ty maymay that was making the rounds in late 2012). So instead of doing what they want, I'm not going to listen to this at the same time. I actually haven't heard Omega yet. This is a review of Alpha, which is what you should get when you release things as two disks.

This is Periphery's first bad album. Well, not really, I'm obviously ignoring their rather pathetic debut record. But that was really just Misha (the worst member of the band in terms of compositional input) making bedroom chugs that the rest of the band had to work around. This is the first bad Periphery album, with them producing material as a group. This Time It's Personal was messy, overlong, and contained some real stinkers, but was also devilishly catchy, and had some not too shabby stuff courtesy of Mark Holcomb and Spencer Sotelo (and Matt Halpern would get a mention too if it weren't for the piss-poor drum tones on that album). Even Clear had its moments, as a watered-down version of This Time It's Personal. This? It runs the dreaded line of sincerity way too hard, producing some truly laughable parts in which the band attempts to juxtapose some pretty deep ('deep') lyricism and concepts over some pretty childish musical passages. Even the parts I liked from their sound in the past have taken serious knocks this time around, with the album being rather devoid of strong hooks (there are hooks here, just they are all pretty weak), and even their best asset, Spencer Sotelo, wavers a bit with some weak performances.

'Psychosphere' is nearly good, for a few minutes. The guitar is poor and there are some rather corny chanted vocals in the background, but if you focus on Spencer's cleans and the backing synths and textural guitars, it's actually pretty cool. And for once, that wall of ambience that djent bands so often utilise sounds powerful and full rather than like a cheap soup of casios and reverb guitar. I can sense Mark Holcomb's influence in this song, given the pseudo-black metal tonality of those tremolo riffs in the background, and overall it makes a pretty nice mid-saga climax to the album. Pity about the godawful bass solo break and those rather bad cookie-cutter metalcore screams.

And there are other good moments on here, it's just that the bad drowns out the good, and whenever one instrument is playing something nice, three others are playing something awful. 'The Scourge', for the first three minutes, is the first time I've heard a heavy Periphery song that doesn't suck, with them getting some real grit into the performances and riffs here, without leaving melody behind. But, as we all predicted, it quickly dissolves into a good old fashioned chug-fest, complete with more metalcore screams. Sigh. 'Heavy Heart' is the other good one here, although I will say that my enjoyment of it is purely ironic. This is possibly the sappiest song I have ever heard. Ever. The first chorus sounds straight off a Britney Spears record, and even though I love pop Periphery, even that was a bit too much for me. Fortunately, the second chorus of the song is much better, but the improvements in the song aren't enough to counter the pure cheese. 'Alpha' is an odd one, with most of the song being pure pop metal nonsense, halfway between Disturbed and Abba, but the chorus goes further beyond that to the point when it's actually kinda catchy and good.

But the entire album is riddled with moments of garbage, and I'm not just referring to the regular inclusions of chug-chugs and Spencer's metalcore vocals. Things like the acoustic break in 'MK Ultra' or the chiptune parts in the title track. Why? What does this add to the music aside from cheap gimmick points from your fandom of 12-year-olds who like cheap gimmicks? But the most disappointing part of this album for me is how poor Spencer's vocals are. Everyone else has been going on for years about how bad his voice is, but aside from the metalcore screams, I always loved it. He has some serious pipes and can belt out some truly delicious earworms at times. Here, he misses far more than he hits. The entire opening track, which wouldn't be half bad on its own, is filled with poorly done vocal performances. Some are weak lines, some are done with some absolutely terrible accentuation, and some are actually just plain off-key. The accentuation becomes a big problem throughout the album, with Spencer trying his hand at some bad Claudio Sanchez-isms with the clean sections.

Musically Periphery are pretty much the same as they've always been, smothering every single part with as many riffs as possible, because the band members' egos are so big that they can't just play chords. I'm exaggerating of course, there are some parts in which the guitars are reasonable and well played, but once every two songs isn't enough for me. But Periphery's bad moments in the instrumentals shine out a bit more clearly on this record than ever. The two biggest offenders being 'MK Ultra' and 'Four Lights', with the latter being a completely unnecessary instrumental chug-fest competition of who can get the worst guitar tone, and the former being just a plain competition of who can write the worst song of all time. I've heard tales of the band saving their best riffs for this album, that a whole lot of the ones that should have been on This Time It's Personal were left off in favour of being on here, because they were so good. When I hear the opening riff of 'MK Ultra', I get seriously confused. Yeah guys, that's the best riff you could come up with. That combination of 0, 0 and 0 is the best riff for that situation. Right.

In the end the only times Alpha is good is when it goes beyond bad into a sort of post-ironic anthemic pop music kind of enjoyment. You only like it because of how stupidly cheesy it is. The bad here is certainly more potent than the good, and when you're making a super-deep concept album and your best asset is a bunch of sappy pop choruses, that's not really going to hold up all too well in the long run. I look forward to what Omega has for me.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

 Periphery II: This Time It's Personal by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.72 | 75 ratings

Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by Pieromcdo

5 stars This is Djent Tech Prog this is more on they heavy side extreme prog with grunts voice and smooth one This is my favorite kind of prog ( probably a nice mirror of my brain will side this is going all over Wow Chris Baretto This guitar payer go they extra mile to impress me ( looking for music [email protected] )Barretto made about 10 albums of out standing recording on the name of Bulbs Wish he told me not good enough to Sale ??? Well l if you want different amazing Wild Go Go For working is my best moment to listen to Periphery And I produce
 Clear by PERIPHERY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.05 | 22 ratings

Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by AgostinoScafidi

2 stars I normally wouldn't waste my time or your eyes writing a bad review. I figure I'd leave the already existing reviews to speak for the record themselves but since I listened through the first two albums to get to this EP and my end result is me disliking ALL OF THEM, well I said "What the hell?" let me write a review about it. (Plus, there's only one other review for this EP at the moment!)

First of all, if you're a fan of this band, well you can go ahead and ignore my review altogether.

If you're a curious person like myself who stumbled upon this band from just hearing one good track, then heed my words and avoid this band's repertoire!

Those words may be strong... You might happen to like whiny emo-core vocals and decent instrumentation. It wasn't completely terrible though, I admit. There were some shining moments in the music department and I enjoyed the metal vocals (ie: screams).

However, on the whole the music is just kind of messy sounding, a little too trendy for my tastes, and the vocals pretty much ruined it for me.

Happy hunting!

 Clear by PERIPHERY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.05 | 22 ratings

Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars Transparently the Same

Ah, Periphery, my favourite band that I hate for the reason their fans love them, and love them for the reason their fans hate them. For those who don't know, I hate Periphery's instrumentals, but I love Spencer Sotelo's vocals.

Well, his clean ones at least, I'm still not really a fan of his screams, but I never really have warmed to harsh vocals, despite all the metal I listen to. I'll never understand why anyone holds the opposite opinion, Periphery's instrumentals are just so messy and ugly, and Spencer's clean vocals are just so catchy and melodious, but I know for a fact that I'm in the minority.

So I guess I've come to decide that my opinion on a Periphery release is directly proportional to the number of songs that Spencer gets a decent belt going on the vocals, and inversely proportional to the number of seconds in which we can hear the instruments, so I guess I'm pretty divided on this new Clear EP. And yes, Periphery, this is an EP, not a bloody 'experiment', because let's face it, there's absolutely nothing experimental in this. Yeah sure, the way they composed it is kinda cool, with one member getting the helm on a track each, but this is basically the same sound as This Time It's Personal, only less good, because there's less of Spencer being catchy.

I've got to admit though, I do like the Overture on this, at least for the parts when it's being melodic and cool and not djenty and repetitive. I feel it's honestly a bit short, however, and they oversold it by saying there are elements of every song in it, because I can't hear either of the great melodies in "Feed The Ground" and "The Parade of Ashes", but I admire their use of piano here in the intro, and it actually had me a bit more excited for this EP when I first heard it. The overture, although it contains some moments of Periphery's usual djentiness, is probably the first time I've actually enjoyed a Periphery instrumental part, but I'm almost definitely biased because piano is my favourite instrument.

Amongst the six main tracks of this EP, we have two instrumentals, one penned by lead man and founder Misha Mansoor, and the other by Nolly Getgood. Nolly's track, "Extraneous" is pretty inoffensive, I can't really complain or praise it, but Misha's track, which for some retarded reason is the longest here, is pretty much Periphery at their worst. The only thing that would make this worse is if Spencer was doing his metalcore scream all over this like they did on the debut. The guitar tone here is the djentiest on the EP, the riffs are the sloppiest, and the solos are awkwardly placed and strange sounding as usual.

But the other tracks, like on This Time It's Personal, are completely saved by Spencer and his fantastic clean vocals. Spencer's own track, "The Parade of Ashes", is naturally the least djenty, opting more for electronics and catchy pop-punk melodies, and it really just feels like the chugs are just there to fit the overall sound. The chorus is infectiously catchy, although the edgy lyrics and screams near the end nearly kill it. It's not quite as catchy, however, as the chorus from Matt's track "Feed The Ground", which is probably the catchiest thing the band has ever done. Unfortunately, the rest of "Feed The Ground" is possibly the heaviest this record gets, dissolving regularly into straight metalcore, and although the regular inclusion of the chorus saves it, I can't really feel most of the track.

The other two tracks, "The Summer Jam" by Jake Bowen and "Pale Aura" by Mark Holcolm both feature large clean segments from Spencer, but neither of them have the hooks that the other tracks have, making them fall into mediocrity a bit. "The Summer Jam" has a nice vocal part for the verse, but there's a little background riff that really gets on my nerves, probably because of the striking similarity with Kanye West's "Gorgeous".

Clear is a nice little EP from Periphery that more or less continues what This Time It's Personal began, although as usual, I find Periphery's music less that enjoyable unless Spencer is singing at the top of his lungs. I'm sure the fanboys will find something to rave about here, but this isn't a significant release for these guys, I'm hoping their next full length is a bit more.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

 Periphery II: This Time It's Personal by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.72 | 75 ratings

Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by Puppies On Acid

3 stars When the album started it had one of the most epic intros I have heard in a while, though it kind of tailed off towards the end of the track, I was hopeful though that this sophomore effort from this progressive metal band would be better than their first album. Well all I can say is this album pisses me off. The first 2 tracks are quite excellent, but then the band pretty much loses me for the next 7 tracks. Not that they are terrible songs, there are some amazing parts throughout each of these 7 tracks, but then there are sections that just derail the entire song and throws off the groove they had going. Then you get to track 10, Erised, and here you see the mind-blowing potential this band has. This is easily the best song on the album. The final 4 tracks have more of the inconsistencies. So what you have here is 1 amazing song, 2 great songs and then a roller coaster of music that will soar for one minute and then cut you down at the knee-caps the next. I wanted to love this album from the word go, but to me its just a little inconsistent, but don't take my word for it, perhaps other people just get it more than I do.
 Periphery II: This Time It's Personal by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.72 | 75 ratings

Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Hook, Line, No Sinker

I've noticed something I do when I'm listening to Periphery. It's probably not something many of their other fans do, but from my impressions, Periphery's fanbase aren't the most intelligent or interesting bunch. When I listen to a Periphery song, especially from this album, I subconsciously filter the instrumentation, and focus entirely on Spencer's vocal parts. It's strange, because many, many people do the opposite, and so often Periphery have been asked to provide instrumental versions. But I just can't afford to have this barrage of murderous noise affect my enjoyment of the great melodies that Spencer manages to come up with.

Lets be honest, Periphery have some of the worst and messiest instrumentals I have ever heard. It's not just the farty 'djent' tone that they seem to still have an obsession with, it's also the masses and masses of parts that don't seem to blend with each other, it's the strange need they have for putting riffs everywhere, where maybe there should be chords or textures, but they just chug everywhere and everywhen. There's no doubt that these guys are incredibly talented. Some of them, I even have some respect for. Matt Halpern is undeniably an incredibly versatile drummer, he can play nearly every style of metal drumming with flair and technicality (although his kit tone is pretty terrible), and I also have respect for him as an entrepreneur and businessperson, with his music lesson business and drum clinics (although I wish they weren't so expensive), and then there's Nolly, their new British bassist, who is one of my favourite producers ever. He has produced some of my favourite underground rock records, like Natural Tendency and The Holographic Principle, but I just wish I could find some respect for him as a bassist.

I'm generally not a fan of this kind of music, as my opinions on Animals as Leaders and the like should prove, and it's why I hate it being called 'progressive metal', because I never know if an album is the great progressive metal that I love, or this messy and unoriginal style of making me cringe. Yet, above all that, I still enjoy Periphery's music, and as I mentioned before, it's almost entirely down to their vocalist, Spencer Sotelo. Sure, they have a good riff every now and then, like the lead riff of "Scarlet", or some of the stuff during "Ji" or "Luck As A Constant", but it's covered with that vomit tone and so much damn compression that I struggle to hear it. And even their atmospheres are bad, the pseudo-electronic tones they put in are just so dried up. But, I still enjoy them.

When you listen to the vocal parts over the instrumentals, you really have to gain some respect for what Spencer has to do. Listen to any of the parts, and imagine putting a vocal part over that. There are no chords, no melodies, not even many rhythms to base your part on, yet Spencer does it so flawlessly. And he does it, basically, by ignoring everything and just flying over the top. It doesn't mix with the music well at all, and maybe that's why so many people hate him, but at least his parts are good, unlike those guitar parts?

But seriously, pull the vocals from this album and I'd be struggling to give it a score above 3.5/10. The riffs are sloppy and without defined rhythm or key, and the solos are beyond awful. Shit, some of these solos are from skilled players, but they all sound so forced and out of place, like the band has gone "right, solo here and here and here" and then played some random string of notes. Take the track "Erised", which is one of the quieter ones (therefore the best), but both solos here just sound so unnatural and forced, especially the first one, coming straight out of a rather nice verse. The solos don't hold a melody or idea for their duration, they just play seemingly random notes in a random order. As much as I hate to praise someone like John Petrucci, at least his solo starts out well. Those first two or three arpeggios fit perfectly in with the music (although I'm not sure any of the last two minutes of "Erised" are necessary at all), but of course, being Petrucci, it dissolves into mindless wank within a few seconds.

But it's thoroughly impressive how Spencer and his incredible knack for an excellent hook keeps this album afloat so long. I'll be listening to a track, thinking "man, this one's pretty bad, I'll probably skip this next time", but partway through, Spencer just hits a groove and sings something so absolutely scrumptious that I have to go back and replay it. Take a song like "Have A Blast". The violin part at the intro is alright, but it quickly dissolves into some pretty hefty wank-core, and aside from a couple of nifty parts from Halpern (his sudden blast beat part is great), it's a pretty dismal track. But then?

"?and it's the thrill of life that enables us to grow. Locked in the spirit's line, souls entwine to journey on as one."

And then suddenly it's incredible. I've regularly used "Have A Blast" as an example of a track that goes from absolute trash to beauty within seconds. And it's not just the vocal line, during that segment I actually think the guitars finally fit with the vocals and the tone, creating a beautiful segment with a spine-chillingly good vocal melody.

But it's not a single moment. The number of times this happens during This Time It's Personal is ridiculous, nearly every song has some moment that redeems it from mediocrity, all of them from Spencer. The only real tracks that fail to have any moments I enjoy would be "Make Total Destroy" and the last four tracks, which I will usually pass on when giving this album a spin. I can honestly say that the only tracks I enjoy right the way through would be "Muramasa", "Scarlet" and "Erised", when Spencer is given enough front time to make a difference for the whole track. The melody from "Muramasa" is absolutely brilliant, and the thing that made me look into this album when the trailer was released (I didn't expect much after the debut), but both the times it is reprised, in "Ragnarok" and "Masamune", it feels weak and forced, and doesn't even save those tracks from mediocrity.

"Facepalm Mute" would probably be the worst track here, messier and more metalcore than everything else, but then the chorus hits, and "NEGLECT A SENSE OF IGNORANCE TO ALLTEEEER LIEEEEEESS" and suddenly it's fantastic. The hooks on this album are possibly the best I've heard in years.

"We are the dark, that feed upon the living in sooolid shadoooooawwwww"

"?if you love the guilt then let it die, a life left so clean. We'll measure the price of misery"

"It's noooot for meee to saywhatyouneedtobelieeeeve"


This Time It's Personal is a record I love for basically the opposite of the reasons its fans love it, and I know that full well. I can see what the haters are saying, this is pretty bad, but I just can't say no to those hooks.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Thanks to horsewithteeth11 for the artist addition. and to Rune2000 for the last updates

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