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PERIPHERY

Progressive Metal • United States


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

History

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 sevenstring.org 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 discography


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

3.60 | 104 ratings
Periphery
2010
3.78 | 84 ratings
Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
2012
2.96 | 42 ratings
Juggernaut: Alpha
2015
3.33 | 42 ratings
Juggernaut: Omega
2015
3.74 | 27 ratings
Periphery III: Select Difficulty
2016
3.78 | 39 ratings
Periphery IV: Hail Stan
2019

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)

3.23 | 16 ratings
Periphery (Instrumental)
2010
4.00 | 12 ratings
The Icarus Lives EP
2011
4.67 | 6 ratings
Passenger
2012
4.38 | 8 ratings
Make Total Destroy
2012
3.07 | 24 ratings
Clear
2014

PERIPHERY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Periphery II: This Time It's Personal by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.78 | 84 ratings

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

Review by ssmarcus

5 stars Periphery II: This Time It's Personal is not just an album, it's a force of nature. Unlike Periphery I or founding guitarist Misha "Bulb" Mansour's previous solo work which "merely" explored the possibilities afforded by modern "bedroom" production and djent style riffing, Periphery II actually combines the powers of all six of the group's visionary and boundary pushing musicians in an effort to redefine what progressive metal was going to be in the 2010's.

The riffs on this record display brain melting technicality and heaviness. Yet drummer Matt Halpern ensures that the polyrhythmic madness is always firmly grounded in infectious body shaking grooves. Spencer Sotelo's blend of Randy Blythe style growls and early 2000's screamo is a staggering display of vocal dexterity and virtuosity. And Jake Bowen's electronic interludes help piece the disparate parts of the record into a coherent whole. No wonder Loudwire placed this record on their top 25 progressive metal albums of all-time list.

And yet despite the groups undeniable impact and power, Periphery receives more than its fair share of hate from the metal and prog gatekeepers. The inbreds over at Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives refuse to list Periphery while reviewers on the Prog Archives have actually gone on to insult the intelligence of Periphery fans. But when it comes to art and politics, you'll always have your reactionary fearful fascists calling out the heresies of pioneers. Thankfully, those people tend to be on the wrong side of history.

 Periphery IV: Hail Stan by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.78 | 39 ratings

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Periphery IV: Hail Stan
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars I am new to Periphery, but have been listening to all their albums nonstop for a couple months. I love the entire catalog, and find every single album to be a fantastic listen. If I had to describe this group to a newcomer, I may have to call it a cross between Coheed and Cambria and Meshuggah. Essentially, it has the Djent and harsh vocals of Meshuggah, but mixes in accessibility that you may find from a more mainstream group like Coheed and Cambria. One thing for sure is that the vocals are solid, songwriting is fantastic, and musicianship is awesome. As far as Hail Stan goes, it is a fantastic place to start for anyone new to the group. From start to finish, it is the most complete album to date. However, it still may not be their best album. I find everything they have done up to this point to be a fantastic and consistent listen. They definitely deserve to be in the conversation with Haken, Leprous, and Caligula's Horse when it comes to consistently good progressive metal. This is a highly recommended release.
 Periphery IV: Hail Stan by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.78 | 39 ratings

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Periphery IV: Hail Stan
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars For the life of me I cannot understand the lack of love this band gets on the archives. Everything from the supposedly "emo" vocals to Periphery's "dumb" fans (yes, one reviewer on another album accused Periphery fans of not being the most intelligent bunch) are used as excuses for justifying the hate or underwhelming appreciation of their work.

I can only hope that open-minded listeners can leave these preconceived notions aside and give this record and honest spin. Ear destroying riffs, passionate melodies, and excellent electronic interludes and passages are, through truly progressive ambition, weaved together to produces Periphery's best record since 'Periphery II.'

Perhaps most encouraging of all is how Periphery have managed to reign in their excesses. The songs feel tighter with less sprawl. The run time still characteristically spills over the 60-minute mark, but thanks to very varied song writing, you would hardly know it while listening.

My personal rating for this record was 4.5 out of 5. I found 'Follow Your Ghost' to be unnecessary and 'Crush' squandered some of its potential. But these are minor flow on an otherwise superb record.

 Periphery IV: Hail Stan by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.78 | 39 ratings

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Periphery IV: Hail Stan
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Periphery is a Progressive Metal band from Maryland (US) founded in 2005, however they didn't released their first full length album until 2010. Since then, they have released 6 albums, with their 6th titled "Periphery IV: Hail Stan". Founded by Misha Manssor (guitars), the current lineup also includes Spencer Sotelo on vocals, Jake Bowen on guitars, Adam "Nolly" Getgood on bass, Matt Halpern on drums, and Mark Holcomb also on guitar. This is their first album to be released on their own label, and the band plays music that sounds like they set out knowing they had no restraints on the heaviness they wanted to play all along. They have no fear of getting very extreme, but they don't mind softening things up from time to time.

The first track is the longest on the album at over 16 minutes on the truly epic "Reptile" and features Mikee Goodman (one of the vocalists for the British metal band "SikTh"). With a heavy symphonic sound, this track starts to build intensity with thumping guitars and decent yet heavy vocals which fit the style of heaviness quite well. There are some yelling vocals throughout, but they take turns with clean and sometimes processed vocals. The music is hard and heavy and has the complexity required for the progressive metal genre. Right away, with the power and intensity of this track, you know the band means business this time around both in loudness and in production. Before you hit the 8 minute mark, the music calms and a deep, spoken vocal takes over, later followed with a more melodic line sung in a very emotional manner, the music builds and vocals intensify, but the music remains at a slow tempo, and then intensifies to an almost sludgy feel. This finally advances to a nice, heavy instrumental section that is supported by keyboards and a very cool guitar solo. Moods, tempos and meters change as the track continues, playing pretty much the full gamut of progressive metal through the track. The music has the progressive smarts of "Opeth" with the intensity of "The Mars Volta" while managing not to sound like either band.

As for loudness, all the stops are pulled out on "Blood Eagle". Starting off extremely loud and heavy, this sound continues with yelling vocals and full intensity, backing off only for one short section. Both the guitars and the drums play on unchecked by any restraint. This is complex progressive metal at its best, and interestingly enough, the yelling vocals don't even bother me. Maybe that is because of the complexity of the music. This crazy intensity continues without any let up on "CHVRCH BVRNER", but this one ends up with some crazy effects. "Garden in the Bones" does let up a bit more and allows for a more melodic vocal in some parts, but has several vocal styles throughout. In the middle, things soften a bit, but still remain unpredictable.

"It's Only Smiles" has an excellent, attention getting riff which introduces an emotional and melodic sound supported by synths, mellow verses and intense choruses. The guitar solo in the middle is beautiful even in its intensity. This is one of the more accessible tracks on the album, but don't worry because it still has a good level of progressive complexity and plenty of emotion. "Follow Your Ghost" returns to the loud and heavy sound with plenty of screaming and growling vocals, and remains quite relentless throughout. "Crush" is led more by electronics and keyboards with a more straightforward vocal and melody. This track definitely has a more pop-ish feel to it, but it still has some short bouts of complexity. It's a good place to put some variance in the overall album, but, with its heavy used of keys on this track, it almost feel like an entirely different band, however, it is a welcome change and still a great track venturing into "Nine Inch Nails" territory and even has an orchestral ending.

"Sentient Glow" is a cover song originally done by "Haunted Shores". It returns to the heavy sound again, very complex and many different vocal styles in a shorter 4 minute track, and even finds time for a soft section in the middle of it all before the wall of noise returns. The album ends with the 9+ minute track "Satellites". This one is surprisingly softer and has a very nice melodic feel to it. The music is still top notch and even features short harmonic, choral style vocals. But, you knew it had to happen eventually and just before the 5 minutes mark, it suddenly goes heavy and loud against a complex and solid background. After 7 minutes, the sound is more symphonic, and then suddenly very emotional and heavier again.

This is one great album. The vocalist is quite amazing with his ever changing styles, though I could have done with a bit less of the yelling, but at least it's dynamic and quite melodic at times. Overall, however, even with the variance in the styles from time to time, the sound can get extreme and relentless. There is a lot to hear in this album, and most of it is excellent with amazing musicianship, mostly heavy guitar, but with plenty of good surprises throughout. I must say that I really enjoy this album, but, at this time, am hesitant to give it 5 stars, though that could change with time and more listens. I do highly recommend this album though, mostly to those that love their progressive metal heavy and loud, but yet with a lot of variety. The yelling might get on some people's nerves, but the vocals also have dynamic in them and can change from one style to another rather quickly. Anyway, I have no problem calling this an excellent album and one of the best Prog Metal albums I have heard this year, and that is saying a lot.

 Periphery II: This Time It's Personal by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.78 | 84 ratings

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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
3.33 | 42 ratings

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Juggernaut: Omega
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by LearsFool
Prog Reviewer

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
2.96 | 42 ratings

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Juggernaut: Alpha
Periphery Progressive Metal

Review by LearsFool
Prog Reviewer

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
3.33 | 42 ratings

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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).

3.7

Send complaints to: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 Juggernaut: Alpha by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2015
2.96 | 42 ratings

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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.

4.9

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 Periphery II: This Time It's Personal by PERIPHERY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.78 | 84 ratings

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

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