Periphery
Periphery


3.5
great

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
April 20th, 2010 | 2087 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


Misha Mansoor has created the perfect hype storm with Periphery. Over the past five years, the by-now ubiquitous guitarist/producer has been making himself known all over the internet - be it on Meshuggah forums or Soundclick profiles, Mansoor’s online identity helped fuel interest in his musical endeavors and obvious talent. Fans of Mansoor have been treated with the ability to observe Mansoor’s evolution - as his production and writing techniques were progressing, everybody with an internet connection was invited to join and watch the show. Now, at the heels of five hypetastic years and four different vocalists, Mansoor and Periphery have finally released their self-titled debut. Yet to be perfectly honest, it’s pretty difficult to analyze Periphery when amorous fans have completely cloaked the 74-minute beast of an album in a pungent cloud of prog-lust. Yet for all the accolades Periphery are already receiving for their debut, few people seem to heed how unrefined Periphery really is. All things considered, Periphery has been half a decade in the making - many songs on the album have been available in fetal form online for years... shouldn’t Periphery properly culminate the time it took to create it?

First and foremost, Periphery is far too long. At an undeserved 74-minutes, Periphery is littered with tracks that are extended far beyond their potential. The band’s tendency to overindulge in track length is highlighted best on opening tracks ‘Insomnia’ and ‘The Walk’ - peppered with mechanic Meshuggah-esque polyrhythms, both tracks suffer incredible redundancy. Instead of having any semblance of dynamic or melody, the two songs prefer dabbling in rhythmically impressive but generally boring and redundant time signatures/riffing. The only instance in which said redundancy is completely omitted is during closer ‘Racecar’ (which I’ll get to later). Secondly, most of the album is riddled with newcomer Spencer Sotelo’s whiny clean vocals and hollow harsh vocals. Strangely enough, it’s not a question as to whether or not Sotelo can sing or not (he really can belt out a tune), but it’s moreso a debate of whether or not Sotelo is suited for Periphery. His harsh vocals are peculiarly airy and seem to nearly soften the impact of the heavier parts (take ‘The Walk’ for example), while his clean vocals range anywhere from unorthodoxly melodic (‘Icarus Lives!’) to physically grating (‘All New Materials’). If anything is to noticeably divide listeners, Sotelo’s performance will most certainly be the most obvious contestant.

It isn’t really until third track ‘Letter Experiment’ that Periphery really start making good music. Amongst a slur of surprisingly un-annoying vocal effects and extremely melodic shredding, Periphery establish a groove that is instantly more memorable and rewarding than the likes of the songs before it. The other thing that ‘Letter Experiments’ boasts is the proper use of dynamic - the melodic and electronic interlude that tranquilly segues the first half of the song into the second is a completely effective “breather” amongst Periphery’s arsenal of technicality. This example of dynamic is revisited on ‘Jetpacks Were Yes!’ entirely. Most of the song is a melodic and rather conventional power-ballad that works to accentuate the heaviness of the tracks around it, creating breathing room in Periphery’s cluttered sound.

And what a cluttered sound it is! As mentioned, Periphery draws a lot of instrumental influence from Meshuggah - but Fredrik Thordendal isn’t the only being infringed. Periphery combine the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me and SikTh into their slightly unoriginal prog-brew. Mansoor is arguably a master of his 7 strings and the addition of a real living drummer in Matt Halpern tightens up the band’s technical and meandering compositions. Periphery ends up being the most fun when the band just shamelessly presents their technical ability. Two of the best tracks on Periphery, ‘Buttersnips’ and ‘Icarus Lives!’, lay back to back in the middle of the album. Acting as a one-two punch of down-tuned guitar wanking, the two songs give Mansoor and crew to flaunt their technical talent - the solo in ‘Icarus Lives!’ is only barely eclipsed by the introduction and tapping sections of ‘Buttersnips’.

However, when discussing an album that’s main problem is its redundancy and ridiculous length, it’s kind of disconcerting to admit that the most engaging song on the album is the 15 minute closer ‘Racecar’. Introducing a reoccurring melodic theme (for once) in its subtle introduction, the song explodes into a marathon of heavy poly-chugging, incredible riffery and a particularly outstanding pair of guitar solos; each moment just as memorable as the next. ‘Racecar’ doesn’t quite drag its heels on the ground like a lot of Periphery seems to do; it has a focused starting and ending point that defines its structure and success as a song. Herein lies the problem with Periphery. Without a sense of direction and attention to good songwriting, Periphery has become one of the worst kind of bands ever: a band with unfulfilled potential. Mansoor certainly could’ve shaved some of the fat off Periphery’s flabby exterior and Sotelo surely could’ve looked for some more memorable melodies - but all things considered, Periphery is still just a debut from an up-and-coming band. What separates Periphery from other bands with unfulfilled potential is the fact that Periphery almost undoubtedly have a very promising career ahead of them - it’s their prerogative whether or not they write something truly worth the hype next time around. It’s certainly not beyond them.



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user ratings (1767)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Jake Madaffari (3.5)
    Misha Mansoor's mind broken down into the form of an album. And what an album....

    Idioteque (2)
    Moving swiftly on from Periphery I......

    SatelliteYears (4)
    Periphery: Love that shit! Sumerian Records cranks out another winner......

    mrodizzle (3.5)
    "On this album you'll hear heavy metal - a genre music from the future!"...

  • ma7erick (4)
    Periphery current and american sound is very predictable, and you can hear it everywhere, ...

    Kit Brown (4)
    Inevitably the sexiest metal album of the year....

    Ian W. (2.5)
    Sumerian Records have finally signed a band that does more than just CHUGGA CHUGGA CHUG...

    Jake C. Taylor (4)
    The brainchild of Misha Mansoor at last presents itself as an album....

  • J. Ponton EMERITUS (3)
    A little too long and underwhelming, but there are some great ideas at work here....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
April 20th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Really struggled to write this, sorry if it shows.

Album is pretty much the definition of 3.5 for me though.

temp summary credit jake c. taylor

Emim
April 20th 2010


26675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Holeee crap, that's a wall of text. Good as per usual though, bro.

Waior
April 20th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

somebody write a summary for me!

Emim
April 20th 2010


26675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I suck at summaries.

JWT155
April 20th 2010


9359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

In conclusion... there ya go.

Emim
April 20th 2010


26675 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"What separates Periphery from other bands with unfulfilled potential is the fact that Periphery almost undoubtedly have a very promising career ahead of them - it’s their prerogative whether or not they write something truly worth the hype next time around. It’s certainly not beyond them."

A condensed version of that would make a good summary.


taylormemer
April 20th 2010


4953 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Periphery! Sort of love that shit!"

JWT155
April 20th 2010


9359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think it's fine the way it is actually, was a good read Waior. I'm gonna listen to this again now.

Waior
April 20th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"Periphery! Sort of love that shit!"


Despite "professionalism", this honestly made me smile thus for now...

Thanks, JWT and Emim.

taylormemer
April 20th 2010


4953 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good work with this.

BrahTheSunGod
April 20th 2010


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Good review, pos'd. Love that summary!

Also, after reading your last paragraph I think that one thing that got lost in all the hype (and backlash of criticism) is the fact that even though Misha has been putting out music for years, this is the band's first CD. I'm almost terrified to see what they'll release next once they've worked together for a while and moved from Bulb's personal recording experiment to a cohesive unit that feeds and builds off of each other.

qwe3
April 20th 2010


21368 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

guess i'll listen to this...keep an open mind qwe keep an open mind

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2010


20858 Comments


This will be way too heavy for me yeah Caleb?

taylormemer
April 20th 2010


4953 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yep.

JWT155
April 20th 2010


9359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's heavy Davey but there are a ton of cleans so I could see you liking this maybe.

Waior
April 20th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'm almost terrified to see what they'll release next once they've worked together for a while and moved from
Bulb's personal recording experiment to a cohesive unit that feeds and builds off of each other.


I 100% agree. I think the band should've taken a little more time to develop this unit here, obviously, but the band
could certainly create something really fun in the future.

qwe what are you doing i know you'll hate this

Davey, probably, yes. It's not actually that heavy though, honestly, even when it tries to be. If you're curious, it would
be worth listening to 'Icarus Lives!' on YouTube or Myspace to sample their (poppier) sound. Strangely enough
though, whilst listening to Sotelo's vocalwork on this album, I couldn't help but recall Charles Furney - he has a
similar range and a similar abstinence of catchy melodies.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2010


20858 Comments


Hmm, if it's not too heavy for me, the 74 minutes & lack of vocal melodies will kill it for me. I genuinely dislike long albums. Thanks for the reco... I'll give it a go when I have a chance.

qwe3
April 20th 2010


21368 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

qwe what are you doing i know you'll hate this


i guess it's just my optimistic nature

Waior
April 20th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

masochism killed the cat bro

DaveyBoy, sent you an Icarus link to your shoutbox.

BrahTheSunGod
April 20th 2010


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Davey, try Jetpacks Was Yes, that's the most laid-back one on here (not the right descriptor but w/e), and actually has some pretty catchy vocal parts. Otherwise, "All New Materials" is really melodic and might actually be the best place to start.

"I couldn't help but recall Charles Furney"
only minus the über-whiny tinge that furney has.



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