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Album Reviews : Periphery – Juggernaut: Alpha and Omega

By on February 10, 2015

Untitled-1I came to these albums so ready to hate them. I was almost excited to hate them. Since I saw their drummer overplay “Icarus Lives!” on their first Australian tour (and completely fuck it up, well done), Periphery have been my “How the hell did they get successful” band. I guess this is what it must’ve felt like being a thrash metal band when KoRn blew up; I’ve just never “gotten” this band.

Their songs have always sounded to me like conversations with old people – they start in the middle of a thought, go nowhere, make no sense, aren’t enjoyable, and end abruptly. It’s always seemed to me like an incoherent riff soup, which is odd considering how much I like bands like Car Bomb. If you’re not going to give me a chorus or hook, then at least repeat one riff once, for Christ’s sake.

This double album seems to be a complete 180 degree shift though. These are songs, replete with bits, and parts, and sections.

Oddly enough though, the online reaction to these records (and I have absolutely no idea where people have been hearing the CDs before release date, honestly) seems to be mixed. While they’ll always be die hards complaining that they fucked it, for such a tonal shift there seems to be quite a lot of fans of the band digging the new direction. If you’re a fan, this is good news. I’m not a fan so I don’t give a shit. And so if you’re a fan I’m not sure what you’ll get from this review, except the perspective of a cynical jerk hearing it with fresh ears.

The one thing that sticks out most to me is how unnecessary the double album release is. They’re just showing off. I thought perhaps “Omega” was the heavier one, but then thought it was maybe the lazier, more unimpressive one, but by the end of both of them, I know just think the two albums are relatively indistinguishable. There are good and bad, heavy and soft, fast and slow songs on both. And bugger me if they’re aren’t some great tracks on both of them.

Whoever’s decision it was to open up the writing to all the band members should be given one of those honorary awards they save for animals in the military. It’s great that it’s finally happened, but even a fucking canine could’ve seen it was the right move to make. They’re still “tech”, but now it sounds like they wouldn’t mind having a mosh pit not look confused all the time. As for the sound, it’s as crisp and clear as Periphery always was, which only serves to help someone like me headbang and enjoy myself.

Of course, there is still the oddly American move of having “radio friendly” tracks (See also: completely thoughtless and cliché chord progressions with pleasant resolutions and digital stuttering on the word “radio”, as if to give soccer mums and truck drivers an aural high-five for propping up a dead and decaying exploitative industry), like the God awful song “Heavy Heart”, next to super heavy tracks like “The Scourge”. Who the fuck enjoys both of those things? It’s like boxing with a sycophant. Stop it.

But if you showed me tracks like “Rainbow Gravity” and “22 Faces” a month ago, and told me they were Periphery, I would’ve slapped you with a white glove and stroked my moustache intensely. But as of today, if I’m not still listening to these songs in a couple of months I’d be genuinely surprised.

I feel lucky that I wasn’t previously a fan of Periphery, as without expectations I didn’t run the risk of being let down. Some of their old fans might hate these two CDs. I hope they do. That’s what you get for previously liking Periphery.

Band: Periphery
Album:  Juggernaut – Alpha and Omega
Genre: Progressive Metal
Year: 2015
Label: Sumerian Records
Origin: USA
www.periphery.net

About

Mitch is a 26 year old vegan, socialist, atheist, utilitarian, reductionist metalhead, stand up comedian and philosophy major that hates labels. When he isn't being politely ignored at dinner parties he's being politely ignored on comedy nights around the country.