Periphery: Periphery II Album Review
The first thought that comes to mind when listening to Periphery II is quickly it sets itself up to heavily contrast with Periphery I (2010).
With the first release being predominately the work of guitarist Misha Mansoor, and the recent addition and subtraction of band members Periphery includes three guitarists, one drummer, Spencer Soleto on vocals and Adam “Nolly” Getgood on bass.
Periphery make use of odd time signatures, synths and that vocal whine that is characteristic of the demented twins metalcore and hardcore. Partly responsible for the aural mindfuck that is djent, Periphery is the brainchild of Mansoor.
Unlike other bands that somehow work with bastardised time signatures and mismatched rhythms, Periphery rock precariously between unbearable and uncomfortable, settling somewhere around tolerable, carving a niche that might just grow into a big gaping hole, symbolising where metal once was and where it now is. This hole is djent.
Where it is now is strange and unrecognisable, way past the boundaries Periphery pushed out of the way back in 2010 and then cemented over in 2011 with the Icarus EP.
Featuring the offerings from metal heavyweights Guthrie Govan on ‘Have A Blast’, Wes Hauch (The Faceless) on ‘Mile Zero’ and music incarnate John Petrucci (Dream Theatre) Periphery II has a certain all-star aspect to it.
One question that may have an interesting answer is how they plan on playing these contributions live.
What Periphery II sounds like is a barren wasteland that happens to be holding a congregation of some talented musicians who insist on playing simultaneously – there is nothing else but the music. And it’s all about the music.
There are some finer points such as a certain guitar solo supplied by Dream Theatre’s John Petrucci in ‘Erised’, which you do not have to strain to hear in between anything else.
Sounding like some kind of man-child-boy, vocalist Soleto fluctuates between shallow screams, a sort of singsong talk through and an epic whine if ever there was one. Each track is suddenly a whole lot stronger when the vocals are kept to a minimum, which may or may not be a coincidence. ‘Masamune’, the final track on Periphery II showcases this perfectly as when Soleto’s vocals fall away, the album ends on a more pleasant aural sensation.
Dealing with a different line up in comparison to the self titled first album in 2010, Periphery stands out as an ever mutating creature, but when listening one cannot help but feel that they are all competing against each other to be heard.
Listening to Periphery is very much about listening between the sounds. It is an aural experience (you can decide what kind) but also a mindfuck.
Usually these types of pieces include a description of stand out tracks, but the thing with Periphery is that each song is enmeshed with the others, the album flows on and each track is not necessarily separate from the last. ‘Facepalm Mute’ with its frenzied beats, bipolar vocals and layers upon layers of guitar work and bass lines hiding somewhere beneath them is testament to this when it changes shape, tone and structure in the middle of the song and suddenly calms the fuck down. Turning into a melodic, relaxed and orderly, it changes pace again and starts swelling up to frame the next track ‘Ji’ –which is another rollercoaster of guitar wankerage.
Periphery II is not an album as such, more of a rehearsed project of sound chaos that just so happens to appear on a CD.
If you’re a traditionalist, and rest your faith in time signatures and musical conventions then you’ve probably already barred your door to this release.
Otherwise, if you’re into things that are an acquired taste, like S&M, then you might just like this.