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Periphery - Juggernaut: Omega CD (album) cover

JUGGERNAUT: OMEGA

Periphery

 

Progressive Metal

3.32 | 38 ratings

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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 fuck 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).

3.7

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Gallifrey | 2/5 |

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