Review Summary: More vocal confidence, heavy and melodic guitars, and more mature subject matter makes this album stand out.
Periphery have seen more attention on Sputnik than any other band in their genre by far. Whether negative or not, they must be doing something right. The fans can't get enough, and the haters can't stop taking time out of their day to bash them for being "a rip-off of Meshuggah" and "a sub-par version of Protest the Hero". The fact is, Periphery are clearly influenced by other artists. Hell, every band is. Whatever your opinion of Periphery, they have clearly opened a new gateway for future bands to follow in the djent world.
Periphery stands out amongst other artists in the djent category because they do so much more than that genre expects. They are progressive and seem to push themselves every time they release new material, which seems to be a problem for many bands who just find a good sound and stick to it for the next 5 albums. Every member has stepped it up here, the most noticeable being Spencer Sotelo. The hollow, throaty screams of Periphery I don't exist here. Spencer is back with deeper growls, higher shrieks, and just an overall better tone. His clean vocals are continuing to show improvement as well. He hits the listener with some surprises that include some really amazing falsetto in Stranger Things and multiple quick changes between clean and harsh vocals that really showcase his confidence in switching between the two. Spencer's cleans are noticeably poppier this time around, and will turn anyone away that was on the fence about his voice. However, Spencer is essentially a pop singer gone metal, so it actually seems to add to the album because it feels like he's finally embracing his natural style.
Instrumentally, this is still djent at it's core. 7 strings are prevalent and low tuned throughout the album. However, there are still a few standout moments in Omega that are worth talking about. For starters, all of the soloing in Juggernaut is superb. In fact, it's possibly the best soloing the band has done to date. What makes them stand out is the choice of clean tone while doing so. As heavy as some of these tracks get, the solo's seem to keep them reeled in with a real sense of melody. They are fairly lengthy, especially when compared to most of their older lead work, and give the songs such a great contrast to what the rhythm guitars are doing. Another thing that Omega sees in excess is the use of harmonic scales. In just one listen, it is easy to pick out multiple bad ass harmonic licks that give some groove and melody to the heavy down-tuned riffs. The drums are fantastic as always. Odd time signatures and complex fills continue to showcase what makes Matt Halpern one of the best modern drummers in the metal world. The bass doesn't get a lot of time to shine, but that's to be expected with the style of music for the most part. Although it would have been nice to hear a couple bass solo's, as Nolly has quite a bit of talent and really needs to start showing it off.
The only thing about Juggernaut that is somewhat frustrating is that it's a concept album that is trying to tell a story, yet after multiple listens, the listener will still be scratching his head trying to figure out what the story is about. Although most of the lyrics in the album are well done, they are vague and don't paint a very clear picture of what the band is trying to tell us. Luckily, the album will come with a graphic novel upon release, which will hopefully clear up some confusion.
As a whole, Periphery has really stepped up their game with this record. The subject matter is more mature, the vocals are more confident. The guitars are heavier, and its variety far exceeds that of Periphery 1&2. Hopefully, Misha will continue to lead them down this path of maturity and we will continue to see them grow as a band. If so, they have a long future ahead of them.