Periphery
Periphery II: This Time It's Personal


5.0
classic

Review

by Daniel Davis USER (35 Reviews)
June 28th, 2012 | 150 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A more focused and structured effort all around, and a truly remarkable listen.

Periphery are known for a number of things in the metal community; their DIY production style, the creation of the "djent" sound, the polarizing vocals. Since their inception as a one-man project in 2004, they've built their fanbase through the internet, through forums and Facebook, through guitar videos and gear rants. They're a band that's got almost as many haters as they do supporters, and backed by a hype machine that looms over whatever they may put out, threatening to ruin expectations that are unreasonable. Their debut album fell prey to this syndrome - while being an epic in its own right, the songs were overly long and awkwardly structured, and then new vocalist Spencer Sotelo's immature voice and forced screaming served as a put off to many people, and given that the album had taken about four years to complete, it seemed disappointing given the circumstances.

So, a little over two years later, expectations for their second album were on par with, if not greater than, expectations for the debut. With even less time to make this album, and given the general sophomore slump, how could this possibly be anywhere close in quality?

Well, friends and fellow music lovers, I will tell you this - the result is not only MUCH more focused and tighter, but in my opinion one of the greatest albums of the year.

The first thing you'll notice when starting the album is it's melodic style; while the previous material was primarily rhythmic with melodic overtones, this is vice versa. "Muramasa" provides a slow, churning intro set to dueling guitars and a synth backing. It's not something you'd ever expect to hear from Periphery, until the track changes near the end to a heavier, low tuned passage. Longtime fans will recognize "Have a Blast", which kicks the album off with an almost Sonic-esque riff before returning to their trademark syncopated grooves. The album continues in this vein of experimentation; the Sotelo-penned "Facepalm Mute" is reminiscent of Sikth with one of the catchiest choruses you're ever like to hear, "Ji" is the band's first 8-string track (hence the title pun) that uses but doesn't abuse, "Scarlet" is a Haunted Shores carryover that serves as a vehicle for Spencer's improved vocal stylings (I've heard it described as Dance Gavin Dance meets Protest the Hero, and I agree with that), and "Luck as a Constant" evokes the feel and groove of the debut whilst adding in some of that insane melody this album is a huge fan of, including a guitar solo for each guitarist. Let's stop right there and make a quick digression.

Now, it's not that solos weren't Periphery I's friend (OMG Racecar), but they were more like that friend that only comes over every other weekend, and it's only to show off whatever new item he's acquired, more than likely one of your ex-girlfriends. Now that Periphery II's rolled around, he's around much more frequently. One of the selling points of the record in its promotion is the three guest solos by Guthrie Goven, John Pertucci, and Wes Hauch, and there are a lot more solos by band members besides these. Some will enjoy this, some will shun it as just more prog wankery, but it fits the melodic theme of the album and it never dissolves into mindless shredding.

Onto the vocals. You'd have to be deaf not to notice the insane improvement that Spencer has achieved. Cleans are reminiscent of Protest the Hero and Corelia, and are much more catchy. If the first album's vocals didn't get endlessly stuck in your head, these will do the trick; especially Erised, which is this album's "Jetpacks Was Yes!" Gone is the sterile pitch correction from album number one - these vocals are all organic, and it shows via the emotion. Spencer uses a variety of scream styles on the album, and all are much improved from the airy gasps on Periphery I and the stop-getting-your-spit-all-over-my-face hiss from the Icarus EP. You're probably not going to be converted if you didn't like the vocals already, but that's something that's unreasonable to expect.

And of course I have to comment on the production. While the first album's production was sublime, and one of the best aspects of the album, this mix is even more immense. Guitars are crushing, the bass is clear without overpowering anything else, and you can distinctly pick out each part. It feels like something you can drown in, and makes the band that much larger than life.

There are a few small flaws, as with any album; the electronic album interludes don't flow nearly as nicely as they did on the debut, amazing as they are. And the 69 (lol) minute length is exhausting given the general energy of the music. But these are microscopic wrinkles on the face of the world's most beautiful woman, and to count them as anything other than trivial would be insanity.

So, if you like your metal heavy with a good dose of melody, and enjoy bands like Protest the Hero and Meshuggah, you absolutely cannot miss this. When "Masamune" finishes its sludgy, pummeling descent into madness, you'll manage a weak smile before passing out.

And THAT's where you'll find the dreams/memories.

Sorry. I couldn't resist.



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user ratings (1197)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • AaronBatt (3.5)
    Periphery takes a bunch of very, very small baby-steps forward......

    Madej (4)
    Interesting and varied, this album comes packed with content. And although Periphery buckl...

    peartnoy (4)
    No sophomore slump to be found here!...

    Alex Beebe (3.5)
    An overstuffed bombardment that may leave listeners not retaining much, but it's still a b...

  • Jake C. Taylor (2.5)
    If Periphery II didn’t essentially sound like, well, Periphery the second, I might be si...

    Idioteque (3)
    Ignore my other review, this is better...

    Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF (3)
    Periphery changes their sound to focus on the melodic. More than being good or bad, it's m...

    Joe Denby (3.5)
    Unrefined and intriguing. Bloated and impressive....


Comments:Add a Comment 
MMX
June 28th 2012


4830 Comments


Is there a stream of this somewhere? If not save your review before it is deleted.

Also "Not only a more focused and structured effort, but one of the greatest prog metal releases ever." you are going to get so much shit for this.



trilogique21
June 28th 2012


421 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"one of the greatest prog metal releases ever."

oh boy

BirthRite
June 28th 2012


1318 Comments


review and album sucks

MO
June 28th 2012


18859 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

couldn't wait to jizz all over the front page could you

album is pretty shitty

CruelBloom
June 28th 2012


26 Comments


"one of the greatest prog metal releases ever."

my SIDES

Evreaia
June 28th 2012


4045 Comments


Album improved on vocals (a fuck a ton) but all the rest isn't as good as their debut.

Album has no new Racecar, Icarus Lives or Zyglrox.

Tyrael
June 28th 2012


20895 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yes

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 28th 2012


22005 Comments


one of the greatest prog metal releases ever.

pos

Digging: Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

johnnydeking29
June 28th 2012


9227 Comments


"the creation of the "djent" sound"
HA

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Emim
June 28th 2012


26646 Comments


the people that like this will like this and the people that hate it will hate it

tru fax

mindleviticus
June 28th 2012


8292 Comments


This is NOT one of the greatest prog metal releases ever. Although the album is pretty good.

paradox1216
June 28th 2012


502 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Flame away, mah boys. I expect it, and welcome all criticism.

I wouldn't have put a 5 if I didn't truly believe it to be this awesome.

And yes, there is a stream of the album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfeUJ6lxb88

Digging: Yellowcard - Lift a Sail

Da11thMytrillSphere
June 28th 2012


546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Vocals have been improved.

KILL
June 28th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

fag

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

FictionalFlames
June 28th 2012


1516 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

terrible band.

Relinquished
June 28th 2012


25187 Comments


bad review, fanboyism all around

paradox1216
June 28th 2012


502 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I honestly tried to be as objective as possible, but the fact that i'm a massive fan of the band just shines through.

If anyone has any tips on that end, I'd be glad to hear them.

BirthRite
June 28th 2012


1318 Comments


I have a tip for you.

Yazz_Flute
June 28th 2012


18810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol 69 minutes lol

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4 | Sound Off

This is a well-written review - just because a review has an extreme opinion doesn't disqualify it as credible. I doubt I'll agree at all, but nicely done.



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