Review Summary: Periphery: Love that shit! Sumerian Records cranks out another winner...
Hailing from Sumerian Records (alongside heralded labelmates like After the Burial, Stray From the Path, and Born Of Osiris) Periphery is sure to appeal to fans who like their music technical, complicated, and unpredictable, yet not over-the-top heavy. Misha "Bulb" Mansoor is the key to Periphery, as he was (and still is) a well known figure in the Internet "Djent" community, mainly via way of public forums. Mansoor (and Periphery) are constantly pushing the envelope in the technical metal community, making each song (generally speaking) sound like a fresh work of art.
And really, the cool part about Periphery's official debut album, is the fact that there are subtle (and not-so-subtle) programming and electronic vibes throughout. It's a Sumerian Records album-it just has that "cool" vibe to it. As you would expect, the technical proficiency displayed throughout is top-notch. With a guitarist like Mansoor, (who also has production credits to his name) much is to be expected, and much is given in return.
The member of the band that will most assuredly divide fans is vocalist Spencer Sotolo. It's clear that he can sing, evidenced by his soaring voice on "Jetpacks Was Yes!" which may be Periphery's stab (intended or not) at commercial appeal. And it's not a letdown, either-it's one of the album's highlights.
However, Spencer's voice isn't perfect. It's probably going to turn a lot of people off of this band (but they can buy the instrumental version, too) and rightfully so. Sometimes when Spencer screams, he sounds, well, frog-like. And while that can get annoying at times (especially considering the album length) every word he screams can be heard very clearly, which honestly annoys me about a lot of other bands in this genre.
The length is also a trouble spot, unless you're a hardened veteran of this genre. It's over 72 minutes in length, but the album highlight is the grand finale, "Racecar". It's somewhat difficult to describe (considering it's a 15-minute song) but let's just say this-it's one that deserves a listen, especially if you like your music to carry an "epic" feel.
Other than the single "Jetpacks Was Yes!" Periphery probably isn't going to crossover to mainstream audiences. But you know what? That's okay. Periphery has enough of Spencer's melodic singing and generally good screaming to keep fans happy. There is a good balance of the two vocal styles to keep things interesting.
Periphery's self-titled debut sounds good, and it feels good. I for one cannot wait to see what they do next-pushing the envelope is going to keep you relevant and thriving in the music industry, and Periphery has proven they can do that. Now the question comes...are they going to top it?
Album Highlights-Jetpacks Was Yes, Icarus Lives, Racecar, All New Materials
Pros: Talented band, Misha Mansoor, diverse enough to keep things interesting.
Cons: Screams are a bit "froglike" and the length is a bit difficult to handle for a casual fan.