Periphery
Periphery III: Select Difficulty


3.5
great

Review

by Insurrection CONTRIBUTOR (111 Reviews)
July 22nd, 2016 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Periphery’s weakest outing remains a fun summer jam.

As far as polarizing artists go, Periphery has to be near the top. Thanks to their tongue-in-cheek attitude toward song and album titles (This Time It’s Personal) and their blatant poppy tendencies thanks to fearless frontman Spencer Sotelo, listeners are typically driven either by unconditional love or complete and utter contempt. Of course, some fall in between those two extremes, and especially with their latest outing Periphery III: Select Difficulty being arguably their weakest album yet, it’s perfectly reasonable to place the band into the “promising yet flawed” category.

On the plus side, Periphery have never sounded so comfortable in their niche. Spencer’s continuously improving vocals mesh with the instrumentation better than ever, the production accommodates for both the crunchy breakdowns and lush sweeping atmospheres equally, and the songs themselves are more structured and streamlined than before. This also brings up a gripe, as Periphery had a knack for throwing curve balls – PII’s alternative epic ‘Erised’, the aching droning of Omega’s ‘Hell Below’, or the ultra-happy ‘Alpha’ – to keep listeners on their toes. No such surprises are found on Select Difficulty. Unique passages like the filthy bass intro on ‘Absolomb’ and the swirling post-chorus riff of ‘Prayer Position’ are over as soon as they start. The most jolting thing about Periphery III is ‘The Price Is Wrong’, opening the album with a swift, unbridled kick in the nuts. It’s the first sole-screamer the band has written since ‘The Walk’ from their debut, with blast beats and atonal chugging taking precedence over catchy sing-along choruses. On the other hand, closer ‘Lune’ is has not a single scream in its almost 8-minute runtime, creating a sumptuous aftereffect as the album fades out.

Melodically, there are some truly beautiful moments to be found. ‘Marigold’ is filled with Muse esque arpeggios and rich orchestral progressions, the speedy blast-beats under Spencer’s soaring harmonies in ‘The Way the News Goes…’ is an unexpected breath of fresh air, and ‘Remain Indoors’ is grounded by its ethereal wall-of-sound reminiscent of Devin Townsend. You can draw a clear line in the sand between the metalcore tracks and straight up alternative rockers here. ‘The Way the News Goes…’ and ‘Catch Fire’ wouldn’t sound out of place on the overtly poppy Alpha, while ‘Motormouth’ and ‘Prayer Position’ share the relentless intensity and dissonance of Omega. Other tracks drift to and fro, such as ‘Flatline’ beginning as a standard groovy romp before morphing into a lavish post-rock esque finale, or ‘Habitual Line-Stepper’ which contains borderline death metal riffage before its tender orchestral bridge and subsequent explosive breakdown that begs your head to bang along with it.

Select Difficulty does have its glaring problems. Occasionally you’ll catch a whiff of the lyrics, which will leave you either scratching your head or pounding it against a desk. Periphery albums in general tend to overstay their welcome and this one is no different. Only a couple of the eleven tracks warrant their full runtime. When a handful of songs push the 6-minute mark, you’re left wondering if the indulgent ambient outro of ‘Marigold’ was necessary, or if ‘The Price Is Wrong’ would’ve been better off as a two-minute attention grabber instead of a fully fleshed out song. You may also ponder the inclusion of ‘Catch Fire’, which may be the worst song the band has ever conceived. Fit with faux-rapping and the rest of Spencer’s foibles squeezed into a four-minute experience that sounds like a polished Alpha B-side, it serves the album absolutely no benefit and likely would’ve worked better on a separate EP, or not seeing the light of day at all.

Select Difficulty largely feels like Periphery embracing their niche, keeping boundary-pushing experimentation to a minimum. Aside from its balls-heavy opening and an overall increase in synths and falsetto, there isn’t much to differentiate this from past records. That said, PIII remains a fun summer album bound to entertain fans of the band with a few notable standouts. It won’t sway your opinion on Periphery one way or the other, but it can effectively fill the void for accessible prog metal, if only for a short time.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2016


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

open the floodgates



"Marigold" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmtU2WJfPgU

"Remain Indoors" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrzrcn_e5s8

"Prayer Position" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91eAE7GMBBk

Asdfp277
July 21st 2016


15809 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is their best

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2016


10878 Comments


Great write-up Ins

Digging: Russkaja - Energia!

RosaParks
July 22nd 2016


441 Comments


"weakest outing"
"Album Rating: 3.5"
something doesn't add up

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

all their stuff is in the 3.7-4.2 range for me rosabro you know im a raging fanboy. anyway i can totally get why people think this is their best



P1 will always be tops for me

iloveyouall
July 22nd 2016


6319 Comments


do it for the objectivity.

torts
July 22nd 2016


4300 Comments


djent-djent mc-gnaaaaaaaaaaaaaàaar

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sup sach. im guessing this is a solid 5 for you

NocteDominum
July 22nd 2016


7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Quality review, you made my visit to this site worth it for the day mate.

Evreaia
July 22nd 2016


4896 Comments


I only heard the singles, but every single one of them sounded soulless. Rest of the songs better?


Tunaboy45
July 22nd 2016


15609 Comments


The White Album is the only summer jam you'll need this year.

Great review as always.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Aids
July 22nd 2016


24410 Comments


still listening to Periphery hey

Asdfp277
July 22nd 2016


15809 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I only heard the singles, but every single one of them sounded soulless. Rest of the songs better?"



Nope

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


24412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that'll never change aids. thanks guys : )

SteakByrnes
July 22nd 2016


4573 Comments


I always love your reviews

Digging: Ghost Atlas - All Is In Sync, and There's Nothing Left to Sing

facupm
July 22nd 2016


11295 Comments


weakest album, this must be seriously awful

BeyondCosby
July 22nd 2016


1764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So many people are afraid to like Periphery....

Asdfp277
July 22nd 2016


15809 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

so many

Flugmorph
July 22nd 2016


17457 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

so many

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Spec
July 22nd 2016


34816 Comments


"So many people are afraid to like Periphery...."

been trying to like them for years and cant




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