Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal (Sumerian)
Few bands have come along on the metal scene that have changed the game like PERIPHERY has in the last few years. Along with ANIMALS AS LEADERS that have paved a new ground by combining progressive rock, math metal, MESHUGGAH’s patented riff style and other forms of music like jazz fusion influences to completely change the palate of what modern metal can be. Of course our denim vest clad brethren will hate this for being to “core” or melodic and whatnot. Still, it is refreshing to see the evolution of a band that is just scratching the surface of what it can do. This is likely the first of several releases by the band in the near future as they are said to be sitting on two more albums worth of material.
In many ways Periphery II features somewhat of a new band. What started out as a project in uber guitarist/producer Misha Mansoor’s bedroom has blossomed into a full, living monster of a group. In particular the additions of guitarist Mark Holcomb and Adam “Nolly” Getgood on bass/production have bore much sonic fruit on top of the impressive, layered approach the band already had with their writing. “Muramasa” crushes out of the starting blocks as the opening track. Massive guitars and drums pound you as vocalist Spencer Sotello’s melodies soar over the din. “Have A Blast” really starts to separate this album and the band from its peers. Starting off with cello and violin riff and some programed synth sounds, the track is not unlike most of the bands’ older material. Prog, djent and even some death metal blast beats rock the otherwise sunny sounding melodic track. Sotello’s amazing tenor voice glides into the upper registers easily and his screams are often terrifying. What really sets this song apart is following the breakdown is a stupendous solo from shredder supreme GUTHRIE GOVAN. If you don’t know his name, go YouTube one of his videos and pick your jaw off the floor later. “Facepalm Mute” leans heavier on the death vocals and bruising riffs which will interest heavier music fans. Songs like “Ji” and “Scarlet” will have you smiling from ear to ear and are pretty up-tempo ragers. There are many bands with three guitar attacks, but few have the thoughtful writing for three voices like Mansoor, Holcomb and mainstay Jake Bowen. “Luck As a Constant” features more insane beats from Matt Halpern, who lays down a phenomenal performance overall. “Make Total Destroy” is the single and is as heavy as it is harsh. The small section of death metal people who enjoy this song will gravitate to this track in particular. “Erised” has a guest appearance by DREAM THEATER’s JOHN PETRUCCI uniting these modern prog heads with the last generation of prog metal’s heroes. Another great guest appearance is made by Wes Hauch, recent addition to label-mates THE FACELESS. This another, mostly brutal track with fantastic thematic motifs, twist and turns. Sotello again joins the upper echelon of vocalists of the sub-genre like TOMMY RODGERS, Rody Walker and ex-TESSERACT singer Elliott Coleman. Other top tracks include “Ragnarok” and “Masamune”.
Keith (Keefy) Chachkes