Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal Review

Djent is the name of the game and no one brings the genre to its knees more than Periphery. In fact, they basically popularized the genre. What exactly is “djent”? It is what I like to think: the future of metal. Djent features bands that were more than likely influenced by the technical metal band Meshuggah (where the term was coined), but features heavily processed guitar tones (commonly endorsed by Fractal’s Axe FX) and tight technical and groove oriented riffs. It is sweeping the world with bands commonly found on the Sumerian Records label like After the Burial, Born of Osiris, and of course, Periphery. Djent is rapidly rising and becoming more and more popular.

But who knows djent more than it these guys? Periphery is back with their highly anticipated sophomore release: Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal. While I wasn’t a giant fan of Periphery I, due mostly to Spencer Sotelo’s awkward and vocal melodies, I had high hopes for their follow up.

Disappoint it did not; Periphery II is even more ridiculous than its first. With heavy heavy tracks from Facepalm Mute to the albums lead single, MAKE TOTAL DESTROY. These guys don’t fuck around when it comes to making insanely heavy music with some smooth and sweet choruses.

Then there are the ambient loop based spacey interludes that are common to the band (Like Epoch and all the sound effects after pretty much every track). They are always a nice touch. I like a band that gives you interludes. It makes the album seem seamless.

Instantly, you can hear improvements from the first album. For starters, they are using real drums. Sorry Superior Drummer, but you gotta make way so Matt Halpern can give you real tones.

The biggest improvement of all is Spencer Sotelo’s vocals. The first album brought a lot of awkward sounding melodies that seemed to be either too sharp or two flat to the pitch you were expecting. His clean vocals sound terrific. They are smooth and high. And his low screams are even better. Doubled up, the sounds like a monster.

Lets talk about guitars:

The creator and spokesperson of the band, Misha Mansoor (or Bulb), and his partners in crime Mark Holcomb and Jake Bowen (Yes, they have 3 guitarists) do a great job with the guitar work. With 3 guitarists, they manage to get a lot of texture within their music. Whether it’s a dream-like spacey clean tone, or a beefy tight cut distortion tone, it all sounds good. It’s technical, its quick, but it works.

What is also an added bonus with the album: They have guest guitarists to do fancy solos. Yes, they recruited Guthrie Govan, Wes Hauch, and John Petrucci to do special guest solos on the tracks Have a Blast, Mile Zero and Erised.

And finally, bass guitar! Adam Getgood is one of the latest members of the band and he does a pretty good job on bass. He manages to keep up with the crazy guitar work. While he doesn’t shine on the album, this wouldn’t be much without him.

Together, the band solidifies as a force to be reckoned with. The can make heavy, technical, “djenty” riffs and blend it with ambient space effects and smooth vocals.

Overall, Periphery has made a statement with the ferocity and intensity of this album. They are here to prove who is on top of the djent game and I believe they have reclaimed their throne. Move over Vildhjarta and Tesseract, Periphery is back.

Contrary to that last statement, the band doesn’t take itself too seriously at all. Which is good. If you look at their song titles, half of it seems to be made up mumbo jumbo. It seems most of them are just as much of an Internet mouth-breather as I am.

Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal – 8.5/10

Track Listing:

  1. Muramasa
  2. Have A Blast
  3. Facepalm Mute
  4. Ji
  5. Scarlet
  6. Luck as a Constant
  7. Ragnarok
  8. The Gods Must Be Crazy!
  9. MAKE TOTAL DESTROY
  10. Erised
  11. Epoch
  12. Froggin’ Bullfish
  13. Mile Zero
  14. Masamune

Periphery II is available now via Sumerian Records

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