Periphery
Periphery II: This Time It's Personal


3.0
good

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
June 28th, 2012 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Periphery changes their sound to focus on the melodic. More than being good or bad, it's mostly just different.

Periphery are a band that have never quite lived up to the hype. Misha Mansoor, for all of his production credits along high brow albums, credibility as one of the underground's finest guitarists (hearkening back to the days of his "Bulb" moniker), and ability to rally enough press to overwhelm the Million Man March, really just never got things together all the way for the band's first, self-titled release. Sure, it used those crunchy down-tuned 8-string guitars and had a few provocative solos thrown in from time to time, but by the time the full length LP hit the airwaves, the world was full of long-haired basement dwellers self-producing the same thing to arguably better effect. Toss in the often grating and generally bothersome vocal performance of Spencer Sotelo on Periphery and you have an album that managed to deliver roughly less than half of what Misha promised fans of djent all over the world.

So, how do we even approach Periphery's sophomore outing? Well, with a name like Periphery II: This Time It's Personal, it's certainly not from the vantage of witnessing a maturing artist.

Sure, Periphery show signs of developing as a band at times, but for the most part, there's simply nothing new. Much like the way TV's Lost introduced the concept of a flash-sideways - a pan to ongoing events in a parallel universe - Periphery don't really show us that they can build on or refine the sound of Periphery, but mostly show us that they can do something else on Periphery II. Those low polyrhythmic guitars are still there, but they're scaled back, both in the level of the mix and in the degree to which they really mash out the palm-muted math. Instead, the focus of the album is given to Spencer's drastically changed (and, by that change, improved) vocal performance and melodic overtones. Solos are more profound and extended, while Spencer largely utilizes a sweeping clean vocalization supported by a few gruff growls nowhere resembling his gutteral groans on the group's first release. Nowhere on the album is there a moment of raw, exchanged riffing like Periphery's "The Walk." Rare are the occurrences of those whomping lows that overwhelmed the previous album.

Really, the sound's just... Different. Not better, not worse, just... Different.

And for people like me who enjoy the more melodic approach to the djent subgenre, that's a good thing. There's nothing wrong with the new approach, and at times it works rather well in providing a memorable sound that's easy to sing along to. At other times, such as single "Scarlet" (and many other tracks), the band's impersonation of Protest the Hero is nauseatingly apparent and weighs on the listener's shoulders. Though fans are likely to protest, a lot of the elements of Periphery II simply aren't the innovation listeners were always promised. In fact, a lot of it, as previously stated, is plagiarism at its finest. Quite frankly, at this point in the group's career, they display themselves at a crossroads of confusion on the sophomore album.

For every person disappointed in Periphery's debut, there were probably at least two people rushing to mosh at the group's shows. And it's that subtle nuance that makes Periphery II the quandary that it is. This isn't the kind of music that you mosh to, while the last record unabashedly was. Whether the change is for better or worse, that, alone, is enough to spark debate and divide a young and aggressive fanbase and is sure to provide a challenge to the group. That said, while Periphery II provides a good (if not long and somewhat unoriginal) listening experience, it will be for the band to decide whether or not they stick with the direction they've chosen. Only at that point will we, the listening public, truly be able to decide whether the group can truly evolve and innovate.

As for Periphery II? Well, it's more like another initial release than anything else. Here's hoping that it is personal.



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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...

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

    Daniel Davis (5)
    A more focused and structured effort all around, and a truly remarkable listen....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2012


2005 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Soup's on, Sputnik public.

Digging: Thank You Scientist - Maps of Non-Existent Places

MMX
June 28th 2012


4831 Comments


People should stop reviewing this
Kill is gonna get the Feature

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2012


2005 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

People should stop reviewing this
Kill is gonna get the Feature


Kill should get the feature, lol.

Won't stop me from sharing another opinion, though.

MO
June 28th 2012


18865 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

nice, this album sucks

Relinquished
June 28th 2012


25207 Comments


4 reviews today like I prophecized am I good or what

KILL
June 28th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

4 reviews in 1 day and clockwork angels got 1 review for like a week hmm what does that say about the user base

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

KILL
June 28th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

well i guess i didnt help

Relinquished
June 28th 2012


25207 Comments


you helped by telling the truth. yeah userbase is chodes.

BallsToTheWall
June 28th 2012


44628 Comments


Truth hurts

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

MO
June 28th 2012


18865 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

troof

ChuckyTruant
June 28th 2012


15723 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Very well written friendo

Digging: Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime

ianjulian
June 28th 2012


632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really, the sound's just... Different.


Digging: Unearth - Watchers of Rule

TomAkaVeto
June 28th 2012


1661 Comments


Listening now. I think it sounds pretty good.

Durrzo
June 28th 2012


1112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Different is a good way to put it, aside from Spencer's new and improved vocals there really is nothing new here, it's just done differently. But I love it so whatever. Already stoked to hear what they do on Juggernaut.

Good review pos.

Blackbelt54
June 29th 2012


4276 Comments


I hope this album name is a joke

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
June 29th 2012


2005 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the remarks, bros.

KILL, if I knew half as much about Rush as I'm sure some of the people here do, I'd probably step up and review Clockwork Angels. But I know I don't. Still love the shit out of 'em, though.

Spec
June 29th 2012


27188 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I think his vocals are much better here. Give the dude some credit.

8ctavarium
June 29th 2012


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

As far as I can agree with all those vocal thing, the whole album is not so special. I like some more melodic parts though.

mindleviticus
June 29th 2012


8292 Comments


great review man

ShovelThrash
June 29th 2012


87 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album kinda bored me after a while, even on first listen. However, four gems:

Luck as a Constant
Erised
Facepalm Mute
Matt Halpern

give the rating. I'm fed up of judging this band on Spencer's vocals, can we just move on now?
:-)



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