Periphery III: Select Difficulty



by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
July 21st, 2016 | 1496 replies

Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Periphery III: This Time It's The Same As Last Time

Writing about Periphery has become something of a song and dance at this point. A very regularly metered one, at that.

A new album, usually entitled Periphery X: Non Sequitur! comes out, gripes are made about Spencer Sotelo's singing (which, I'll admit, I've come to enjoy as his voice has finally found a palatable niche in Periphery's music). The reviewer then chooses to address whether Periphery are too melodic or not melodic enough (I'm in the latter camp), and everyone agrees with a broad statement that this is good, but a band with this much talent could do so much better.

The problem with Periphery isn't even in the music anymore - the music on Periphery III: Select Difficulty is actually pretty good, and even grows on you with time. It's catchy and, in my opinion, pretty fun. The problem isn't that this is a bad album; the problem is that after three LPs and a double album, I should have to go off script to discuss this album.

But I don't have to. Not really, at least.

Periphery III (omission of sophomoric subtitle intentional and to be continued for the duration of this review) strikes almost immediately as another half-hearted flirtation with melody and a half-hearted attempt to maintain the band's chaotic and polyrhythmic roots. Sure, maybe it's another quarter inch of toe in the melody pool than its predecessors, but how much more can we really analyze the snail's pace at which the band pursue the sound that, in my humble opinion, is their most appealing? When it's counterbalanced by weighty, posturing tunes like "The Price is Wrong" (someone please fire the guy who names things in the Periphery camp) and "Motormouth," it's hard to conjecture that the band are honing in on a specific sound. Instead, Periphery seem content to fold their arms at the crossroads of two distinct musical intersections and have a seat.

Not everything's entirely stale, though. On the whole, the djent factor of the album is lower than most others (spare, perhaps, Juggernaut: Alpha) and the inclusion of orchestral elements throughout makes things feel a little more open, inviting, and intriguing. The use of a chorus on "Marigold" also proves a smart and effective way to change things up, while the digitized bitcrushing included on "Remain Indoors" puts a tasty spin on an effect that's fairly common to the subgenre. Speaking of which, "Remain Indoors" is a strong fusion of Periphery's penchant for the heavy and prowess with catchy, more traditionally structured songs. I'd be keen to say that perhaps it'd make a good blueprint for the future, but we all know what history suggests for Periphery IV: From Fear Through the Eyes of Your Mom!

And the rest? The rest is basically the same as it was last time. Maybe a little more color added to the coloring book. Maybe the lines are a little more solid than they had been previously, but it's the same story, the same cheesy lyrics, and the same edgy semi-progressive metalcore that's going to appeal to meatheads and high school social outcasts who just want to listen to "something heavy, bruh" (but will secretly cry along to the lyrics of "Absolomb" after they suffer "the most pain anyone has ever known" from a recent breakup).

So in lieu of a real conclusion, here is a summary of which tracks fall into which expected and well-known Periphery stereotypes:

Tough guy "COME AT ME BRO" tracks: "The Price is Wrong," "Motormouth,"
Pop-driven melodic metalcore with a sensitive bent: "Marigold," "The Way The News Goes...," "Flatline," "Absolomb"
Songs that will confuse people attempting to mosh at the live show: "Remain Indoors," "Habitual Line-Stepper," "Prayer Position"
"Sensitive" songs with sweet grooves hindered by lyrics that fit the hair metal and/or nu metal movement(s): "Catch Fire," "Lune"

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 3.2

I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for this.

Album is ok. Hardcore Periphery fans will probably love this. People on the sidelines like me are still looking for that breakthrough album.

Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

This is easily their worst album. Good review Atomic, to be safe I guess I'll wait until the release date to post mine. Even though they've already released most of the songs by now lol

Digging: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis - La Panthere Des Neiges

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, nice style to the writing.

This does have some of their less good stuff (the first two tracks are among the band's worst and easily their worst opening tracks to date) but the highlights for me (Marigold, Flatline, Lune, etc.) more than make up for it. Then again I dig virtually everything by these guys so my word is kind of irrelevant.

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 3.2

Thanks, man. Yeah, unfortunately I had to tell Ins to wait as well. We got a stream through Prosthetic that I was fortunate enough to get access to to do the review.

I think the album's value depends on what part of their style you prefer (this emphasizes the melodic, catchy stuff). I dig some of the tracks (despite the lyrics, "Catch Fire" is pretty cool) but it just hurts that they're spinning their wheels.

July 21st 2016


Dig the review.

This is their worst, by a considerable amount, imo. It has a few moments but ehhh. I too would prefer that they move into more melodic territory. I think all of my favorite songs and moments from them were when they stopped djent chugging so much and wrote some really lovely melodies. I know they can do it, they just don't like to go all in on that sound for some reason.

Honestly the first two tracks on this album are just shit. And I say that as a pretty big fan of the band.

Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2016


Heh, nice review, Atomic. I like the frankness with which you basically say "eh, you already know what you're in for"

Have no doubt this is dreadful tho I pity your lobez

July 21st 2016


Great review atomic dude.

These guys have been on a downward slope since their debut, man that album has some great cuts but what happened?

Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Gotchya Atomic, that's what I assumed.

July 21st 2016


Periphery IV: This time We've Run Out of New Color Combinations for Our Album Artwork

July 21st 2016


Sounds like they will continue their trend of FUCKING BRILLIANT (...for two or three tracks per album)

July 21st 2016


i need to know if they've written another Letter Experiment or Luck as a Constant because i haven't listened to this band since album 2 and those are the only songs i revisit

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

Album slays

I enjoyed this a lot more than their previous efforts.

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

I lost interest in these guys after they put out that horrible Clear EP and Alpha/Omega. But I'll probably check this out in full. I dug some of the released tracks on this.

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I want to be a bigger Periphery fan than I am because I know these guys have the talent, but much like you I haven't felt them quite break out yet. Each of their albums flash brilliance and have become a fairly big fan because of it but they seem to fail in the same places each time like they can't learn from their mistakes. I'm sure I'll feel very similar to the way you do about this record judging from the singles. It's actually shaping up to be my least favorite release by them.

Digging: Twelve Foot Ninja - Silent Machine

July 21st 2016


This band is just so boring, great review though and even though I haven't heard it I'm sure you nailed it with the summary.

Digging: Richard Dawson - 2020

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

^Disagree there. Sure, the orchestral bits add a nice flair and are a legitimately different touch than we've seen in the past, but they're not in each track and they hardly change the core of the band's sound. If anything, the change that most sticks out to me here is the lack of electronic interludes, but they were already transitioning through that with Juggernaut.

Didn't mention this in my earlier comment but I do agree this is the band's weakest album to date, though I think so less because it's formulaic and more because the actual tracks on here are super hit or miss for me.

July 21st 2016


Gotta admit I was wrong about this album. It isn't as good as the first 2, but it is WAY better than that Sigma and Omicron shit they released before this one.

Not sure how long the novelty will last, and while that 'Booty Disgusting Blud" song is crap, I say this is a pretty enjoyable album.

Digging: Matthew Good - Avalanche

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 3.0

Can't wait to listen to this, should have some good jams, ya know bruh?

Ocean of Noise
July 21st 2016


Periphery IV: From Fear Through the Eyes of Your Mom!

I lol'd.

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

catch fire was instantly deleted from my library, and in doing so made the whole album 3x more enjoyable.

on a serious note, i dont look for anything "deep" or "life-changing" with periphery's music. IMO this band is perfect for being in the gym, getting work done, or driving with the windows down. and they do it very consistently. also sotelo's skramz have gotten v good. enjoyable/5

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