PERIPHERY – PERIPHERY II : THIS TIME ITS PERSONAL
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
As the years pass by, every young metalhead wants to hear something new and different. Some of them even create a sub-genre, by adding their own touch to it. Here, we have Periphery, a progressive math metal band from the U.S., heavily influenced by Meshuggah, formed in 2005. This band is wrongly assumed to be a “Djent Metal” band. Let me make it clear, Djent is not a genre, it is a sound. During a Meshuggah interview, when guitarist Marten Hagstrom was asked about their style of play, he said, “We basically play a fantastically rich, deep, crushing, warped guitar tone which just goes like ‘Dj-ent, Dj-ent, Dj-ent’”.
Periphery are among the leaders of this new era that uses palm-muted guitar sounds, including poly-rhythmic patterns and soaring melodies in their unique touch to the progressive genre. Periphery II – This Time Its Personal is the second album by the band. This album also features guest solos by Guthrie Govan of The Aristocrats, Wes Hauch of The Faceless and John Petrucci of Dream Theater.
The album starts off with the intro track, “Muramasa”, which gives a very loose start to the album. It fails to build the transition between the heavier and ambient parts, although, Spencer’s high pitched vocals don’t disappoint. Nonetheless, not even close to how an album should begin.
The record basically leaves you in an abyss of boredom. The only stand out tracks being “Scarlet” and the track that was released first, “Make Total Destroy” which has some really groovy riffs and most importantly, the band sounds decent with a vocalist, for once. There are many out there who would prefer Periphery be strictly an instrumental band.
Most of you must be waiting to know how the tracks with the guest solo sounds! Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it was not at all pleasing. Guthrie Govan’s guest solo in “Have a Blast” is bland and lifeless which might leave you disinterested to even hear the rest, it being the first of the guest appearances. With high expectations from John Petrucci, I was eagerly waiting for his guest solo in “Erised”. Sadly it turned out to be the biggest shock in the album for me. He delivered a mediocre solo which was least expected. But thank god, the last guest appearance by Wes Hauch in “Mile Zero” didn’t go in vain. The song is well structured with some very technical guitaring by Wes, hence, cleverly sticking to his forte.
Finally not much to say about the bass by Adam, except for some good bass slapping that temporarily amuses you for a few seconds in “Ragnarok”. I must say, the drumming throughout the album was very good. You have to appreciate Matt Halpern for executing the complex drum-lines very effectively. I was blown away with his ability to come up with some crazy fills.
Basically the album lacked variation. At one point you will actually feel like a song is stuck at one riff, and something is wrong with your device, but no, much to your shock, you realize everything is okay except for the songs itself. That’s how monotonous it gets. Most of the songs, in no way give you the feel that you’re listening to a metal band. One of them, namely, “Epoch” even sounded like a trance song! The song structuring was poor, and it seemed to lose its way almost every-time it was inching towards a “wow” moment. I personally liked their previous work better which specifically had Misha Mansoor playing some great solos, and it was not so on this album. Periphery fans might be disappointed or might just be satisfied with the album. Well, it depends on each one’s taste but if you’re giving the band a listen for the first time, I recommend you not to go for this album, but sure do try out their previous ventures.