Review Summary: Sumerian Records have finally signed a band that does more than just CHUGGA CHUGGA CHUG
Periphery formed in Bethesda, Maryland around 2005 and quite literally exploded onto the metal scene very recently. Their brand of Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Between the Buried and Me styled playing mixed with Djent and clean vocals has made them a very unique and standout act amongst their contemporaries. Their self-titled debut dropped on April 20th, and definitely live up to the hype this band has had placed on them.
In the vocal department, Spencer Sotelo provides an interesting mix of clean vocals mixed with an assortment of hardcore ones here and there that goes well together. I would like to note how some his cleans have a sense of harshness to them but still manage to keep it well within restraint, and sometimes works absolutely beautifully with the guitars. Listening to the song “Light,” I felt an incredible sense of uplift whilst listening to it because of the way Sotelo sings over a melodic riff. The lyrical aspects of the band focus on rather mature concepts for such a young band, and further add to the uniqueness of the group. The only complaint I can find with the vocals is that his hardcore vocals are not exactly standout, but are unique enough to definitely stray away from other mediocre acts, but I can definitely see how they could irritate some listeners.
Next to discuss is the drumming which I can’t really say I know enough to give a full and accurate critique on, but from what I heard, the kit uses enough rhythm to keep everything nicely on track while also adding in tidbits here and there of ingenuity, such as staccato drumming or odd polyrhythms. Most notable is the drastic change you can hear when the vocals shift from the hardcore screams to clean vocals. The drums do seem to use a variety of complex rhythm structures, and almost on occasion I hear influences from Meshuggah and Between the Buried and Me poke through.
As for the guitars…well, hot damn. Misha Mansoor, Alex Bois. and Jake Bowen make an excellent duo, exchanging lead riffs with breakdowns and the occasional solo here and there to bring an immense variety to the fold. As previously stated, the band uses the Djent technique which creates an insanely groovy sound to the album, and makes both the breakdowns and riffs extremely enjoyable to listen to. The riffs also incorporate a range of melody and Meshuggah sounding chugging throughout (just listen to “Insomnia”) that further complements both the Djent sound and the vocals. Also many of the song intros are very enoyable to listen to, due to the incredibly complex openers by the guitars, and actually helps increase the enjoyability of some of the album's weaker songs.
In short, this is amazing. The last time I can remember being blown away by a release by Sumerian Records was when they released The Faceless’ Planetary Duality. This album is just a joy to listen to, and there is enough nuance and variety to keep this in my CD player for months. There is little to complain about this group, and I brightly look forward to their next endeavors. (By the way, DEFINITELY listen to “Icarus Lives!” Seriously, go listen to it now. Why are you still reading this? GO LISTEN TO IT.)