Century Media (2012)
Mathrock, progressive metal, poly rhythms, DJent riffs- those are the starting points when thinking about Washington D.C. group Periphery. Taking the tools that modern technology give musicians these days, “Periphery II” straddles the line between dazzling, jaw-dropping passages and other moments of serene, melodic brilliance. With 14 tracks and a 69:02 playing time, this assures your brain and ears no lack of processing or proactive engagement- either in a minor cursory way or the intense headphone experience.
Employment of three guitarists opens up doors with rhythms, harmonies, and bursts of solo entities. “Facepalm Mute” for instance can deliver a series of aggressive uppercuts with this incessant electric DJent riff parade- and then in a complete about face go through a final 2 minute segment of clean echoing guitarlines and an eerie, low tuned bass segment. Vocally Spencer Sotelo mirrors the modern ‘burst a blood vessel’ approach during many of the verses in “Ji” or “The Gods Must Be Crazy!” and yet has this comfortable, alternative pop/punk clean range which can be very commercial sounding within those same songs a la Fair To Midland or Faith No More.
The sequencing of the tracks gives you quiet intros and endings - or surprise instrumental sections - that act as almost a cooling down period from the high energy guitar, bass and drum action. Guests like John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Wes Hauch (The Faceless), and Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats) prove Periphery’s importance, validity, and cross genre appeal. The song titles even bring a laugh or two to my stomach- “Froggin’ Bullfish” and “MAKE TOTAL DESTROY” as musically provocative and entertaining to match the words.
Pushing what we all know about modern metal to new levels of heaviness, progressiveness and overall songwriting competence, “Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal” will be one of those releases that other musicians study, dissect, and stoke the fire for hopefully another creative renaissance. What would normally annoy me in others regarding lower tuned groove ethics sweeps me off my feet with the concluding “Masamune”- because once again intelligent sound effects and multiple riffs keep the proceedings on a forward thinking plane.
Horizons beyond their contemporaries - Periphery seize the golden ring with each effort that unleash to the public, and this is no exception.
Rating: 5.5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe