Periphery
Periphery II: This Time It's Personal


4.0
excellent

Review

by peartnoy USER (21 Reviews)
July 18th, 2012 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No sophomore slump to be found here!

Periphery released their self-titled first album in 2010. It took Meshuggah’s polyrhythmic grooves, simplified them and added a great amount of melody and ambiance to the sound. The band impressed a good amount of people with their technicality, songwriting abilities and optimal use of three guitarists. However, many were put off by vocalist Spencer Sotelo, which had an incredible vocal range but overall didn’t seem to fit according to them. Personally, I thought he was fine. Yes, he had a lot of room to improve (especially on the harsh vocals), but he did enough things well to make the album one of my favorites from 2010 (‘’love that ***!’’). We’re now in 2012 with a few lineup changes, and I was really looking forward to this sophomore effort.

On the first run through the album, you hear a lot of stuff that makes you think ‘’Hey that was cool’’, ‘’Damn this riff is heavy’’ or ‘’Matt Halpern can have my babies’’. The problem is that you don’t remember much after you finished listening and the album seems way overlong. The only thing that stays with you is Sotelo’s vocal change. There’s little to no pitch correction or autotune, which makes is performance way more engaging but not without its little out-of-tune/weird-sounding notes. The harsh vocals have also improved greatly, sounding like a wounded ox with bigger balls this time. He also had the opportunity to write his vocal lines now. While some of the vocal lines don’t really fit that much or are just uninteresting, he deserves credit for rarely singing the obvious. He is at his best when he doesn’t overuse his (still impressive) vocal range such as in ‘’Have a Blast’’, ‘’The Gods Must Be Crazy!’’ or in the chorus of ‘’Facepalm Mute’’. In these songs, his high range is used just enough to make an impact, whereas in ‘’Scarlet’’, his constantly high delivery gets tiresome.

After listening to the album a couple more times, you start to make the difference between the songs and understand what the **** is going on here. Almost every song has something special to offer. ‘’Facepalm Mute’s’’ chorus, ‘’Ji’s ‘’ ambient middle section and ‘’Luck as A Constant’s’’ solo ending are just a handful of the superb moments here. Although sometimes the band is going through the motions until it gets to these sections, it’s still enjoyable all the way.

There are still some songs that kick all sorts of a** all the way through. ‘’Have a Blast’’ starts off with two minutes of high energy and then goes through a simple and melodic second half that shows off Sotelo’s great vocals. The riffs are technical, fun and the writing is coherent. ‘’Erised’’ is the obvious highlight. It has subtle guitar playing, groovy bass lines, a unexpected but surprisingly fitting drum solo by Matt Halpern and John Petrucci’s solo to finish the song is just the icing on the cake.

The biggest problem here is the album’s length. Normally, I’m happy when artists aren’t cheap with the amount of content, but this is too much. The electronic sections at the end of a lot of songs are not as fluid as they were on the first album. Sure, they provide some time to breathe between all the heavy riffs and soaring vocals, but it all feels forced this time. They also could have cut the useless track ‘’Epoch’’ and maybe ‘’Froggin Bullfish’’, which does nothing that different and it could have made the album have a better flow. The other problem is that the writing felt more coherent before. Here, some songs are all over the place. For example, while ‘’Ragnarok’’ has some of the heaviest moments on the album, it suffers from having no structure and from including a completely useless throwback to ‘’Racecar’’ (last album) that doesn’t even fit.

In conclusion, if the band wants to create a real masterpiece next time, they need to trim the fat and make the ideas flow instead of forcing them together. In the meantime, this album will probably be one my favorites from 2012. ‘’Periphery, love that sh*t!’’



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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...

    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....

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


Comments:Add a Comment 
peartnoy
July 18th 2012


1200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First neg won't show up and explain why, nice...

mindleviticus
July 18th 2012


8292 Comments


The problem is that you don’t remember much after you finished listening and the album seems way
overlong.

Yeah, I had that feeling too. It's a good album, though. Don't see all the hate for Spencer. Good
review, too.

KjSwantko
July 18th 2012


9443 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

dicksuckery

peartnoy
July 18th 2012


1200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks mindleviticus

Yeah it feels like that at first but now each song feels different. It's still too long though. I never really understood the hate for Spencer either.

Lucido
July 18th 2012


50 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

He tries to hard to be Linkin Park.

mindleviticus
July 18th 2012


8292 Comments


Why the fuck would anybody want to be Linkin Park?

peartnoy
July 18th 2012


1200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol I think he means that Spencer sounds like Chester Bennington which I don't get. He does sound like Rody Walker sometimes though.


Spec
July 18th 2012


27190 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

hi sonic how are u

peartnoy
July 18th 2012


1200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Sonic! I'm glad you didn't hate the review just because you didn't like the album : )

Spec
July 18th 2012


27190 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

he was being a sarcastic douche

Scoot
July 18th 2012


17818 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

album only gets worse with every listen

KILL
July 18th 2012


71955 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

suks

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

TooLateToGoBack
July 18th 2012


1775 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good album, but it's overbloated and really has no direction.

Lucido
July 18th 2012


50 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm serious. Spencer tries too often to make a Linkin Park chorus.

KILL
July 18th 2012


71955 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yea it sucks

silentstar
July 18th 2012


2274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really enjoyed this review, echoed what I felt about it, especially

"the problem is that you don’t remember much after you finished listening and the album seems way overlong."

"‘’Facepalm Mute’s’’ chorus, ‘’Ji’s ‘’ ambient middle section and ‘’Luck as A Constant’s’’ solo ending are just a handful of the superb moments here."

KjSwantko
July 18th 2012


9443 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Facepalm Mute!

Durrzo
July 18th 2012


1112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Facepalm Fute is my favorite track, Spencer actually wrote almost every aspect of that song, just a bit of information I found interesting. Good review, pos.

LP comparisons are pretty damn stupid.

Recspecs
July 18th 2012


9829 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album blows.

KjSwantko
July 18th 2012


9443 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I know right, Pissfaggery



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