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Album Reviews : Periphery – Periphery

By on May 17, 2010

2710592Despite having only been around since late 2005, Maryland’s Periphery have gone through their fair share of vocalist changes, with current singer Spencer Sotelo having been drafted into the band earlier this year (after both the music and lyric writing process for this release had been completed). Regardless of this though, the American six-piece have released their long awaited, self-titled debut record via Roadrunner Records.

The group’s sound is a made up of many fairly obvious elements; the crushing riffs of Meshuggah, the incendiary musicianship of Dream Theater and the lurching time signatures of The Dillinger Escape Plan – but it’s the vocal department that throws in a few curve balls. While Sotelo’s roars certainly suit the bands heavier moments, they come across slightly weak – but it’s his clean vocal styling’s will essentially make or break this band to the listener, with it hard not to conjure up images of pop-punk bands with his somewhat whiny and clichéd cleans.

Much like their peers, such as Between The Buried and Me or Veil of Maya, the band serve up songs with ridiculous amount of technique, and boast rhythms so numerically complex that it’ll have you reaching for the calculator, but Periphery also throw in enough straight ahead grooves – such as the highly addictive intro riff to first single “Icarus Lives!”. Sometimes the songs themselves suffer though, with the band preferring to take the “look how crazy this riff is” route a lot of the times, as opposed to focusing on writing a quality song.

The deceptively relaxed opening strains of “Insomnia” quickly gives way to an explosion of drums and walls of guitars, with Sotelo’s roars leading the song. The track “Zyglrox” is about as crazy as the title suggests, with frantic guitars layered over the top of blast-beating drums, while the album closer “Racecar”, which features a guitar solo from Nevermore shred-maestro Jeff Loomis is a fifteen minute epic is easily one of the albums highlights. The lengthy finishing number is complex and difficult, but manages to stay fresh and throughout the entire song.

Essentially the brains behind the band belong to guitarist/producer Misha Mansoor, who’s tight production takes the album to another level. It is puzzling why the band requires three guitarists though, with the majority of bands in the same techy, proggy metal scene managing to do the same job with a guitar duo instead.

The use of programmed loops and snippets of electronic drums add a fresh vibe to the record, which can’t be said about the frankly terrible song titles; “Ow My Feelings”? “Jetpacks Was Yes!”? Thankfully the lyrics have nothing to do with the song titles, but regardless of this it makes the album seem a hell of a lot less intelligent and mature.

“Periphery” is a decent debut album, and if you can look past Sotelo’s vocals you’ll find a deep and complex record. However if you can’t; simply pick-up “The Great Misdirect” by BTBAM and you’ll find an album with just as much depth, but with a stronger sense of song-writing that Periphery’s debut is frustratingly missing. 6.5/10

Band: Periphery
Album: Periphery
Year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Metalcore
Origin: Maryland, USA
Label: Roadrunner
www.myspace.com/periphery

Track listing:

1. Insomnia
2. The Walk
3. Letter Experiment
4. Jetpacks Was Yes!
5. Light
6. All New Materials
7. Buttersnips
8. Icarus Lives! <- Reviewers Choice
9. Totla Mad
10. Ow My Feelings
11. Zyglrox
12. Racecar <- Reviewers Choice

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.