Review Summary: The brainchild of Misha Mansoor at last presents itself as an album.
Sure, ‘Periphery’ as a concept has been many years in the making, but there’s no way Misha Mansoor was gonna do this on his own. Thanks should be given to his “talented troop of travelling troubadours”. Finally, his alter ego ‘Bulb’ now has something attainable to live for during this namesake release, and the results are amply pleasing. But, everyone wants to know how well do they actually present their quasi-Meshuggah
rhythmic burst alongside chaotic leading melodies reminiscent of Protest the Hero
, The Dillinger Escape Plan
? There’s no pertinent answer because Periphery isn’t all about its own definitiveness; if anything it’s more an effective presentation of thoughts and a testimonial of sourced influences. For these reasons, you could conclude that its efficiency is based around its modesty towards these, and not its vast sonic variance, best illustrated as the album rolls elegantly into a luminous middle section.
It’s immediately palpable that vocalist Spencer Sotelo, “whose voice goes up like an angel, and down like a wounded ox” bears the music for the group as they bash between differing musical expressions -- specifically ambient glass reverbs and buzzing noise samples, amongst their brooding slapdash chugs and glorious lead solos. Equally significant is Jake Bowen’s “7 strings of wonder”, further emplacing that personal plea from Mansoor to draw parallels to his own favourite rhythmic masters. It’s not a blatant rip-off, nor is it as crude as the current term ‘Melodic Meshuggah’ that’s in circulation, though there will be those who’d certainly think otherwise, especially during stabs like “The Walk”
, “Totla Mad”
and “Letter Experiments”
In response to this, a special mention to “Insomnia”
, which prevails as one of the year’s best openers, adequately compressing the seventy-minute beast into a four-minute nutshell. Further takes like “Light”
and “Icarus Lives!”
showcase the band at their best, namely due to a vigorous and unique stability between the aforementioned elements. Even sitting through “Racecar’s”
fifteen minutes will reap its rewards if given a little more time as it’s easily the most comprehensive section of the album, despite also being the hardest to squabble with. Before it concludes amid the likes Sotelo’s emotive “I see light in your eyes!” and captivating lead guitar theme fadeout, you’ll possibly ask yourself about the album’s length. It’s perhaps too long for its own good in places, but simultaneously there’s always a level of escalation that conjoins the album’s most out of reach moments to those in reach before it becomes a rickety realisation. Honestly who’s still skeptical?