Periphery
Periphery III: Learning Difficulty


2.0
poor

Review

by Benjamin Kuettel STAFF
July 22nd, 2016 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Periphery III: Now even more overstuffed with ideas!

Periphery were never very subtle, but then again that was never the point. Their straightforward and instantly gratifying brand of progressive metal has rivaled acts like Between the Buried and Me for how musically divisive they can be among listeners. As usual, the extreme reactions were unwarranted, as Periphery proved to be yet another flawed but enjoyable enough modern metal band with a few great songs here and there. Unfortunately, their dense, unrelenting approaches to songwriting have gone out of control on recent releases, and not in a good way. The Juggernaut double album proved to be a wildly unfocused and forgettable affair; a few good ideas thrown about amongst a sea of musical cacophony. Some, like myself, have held out hope that the band would take their obvious musical talents and hone them for true greatness, but Periphery III: Select Difficulty appears to be the final nail in their coffin. Chaotic, unfocused song structures and awkward genre-bending techniques have resulted in the group’s most frustrating release yet.

Everything about III implies a Periphery parody band, from the album cover to the song titles. An abundance of stale, forgettable guitar riffs throughout the overlong runtime suggests that guitarist Misha Mansoor’s well of prerecorded ideas under the Bulb moniker has run dry. “The Price Is Wrong” is a baffling choice as an opener, managing to draw from tired progressive metal and deathcore clichés, as well as even featuring nu-metal vocals, all in under four minutes. Numerous times, Periphery have both succeeded and failed at packing a punch when transitioning to their more aggressive shades of musical styles, and this sounds like a rehash of their own past. “Marigold” also sees the band recycling from previous efforts. Shoehorned violin sections intersperse with progressive metal verses and choruses, which lead to a bizarre choir repeating the pop rock chorus. While normally a typical exercise in Periphery’s more pretentious songwriting tropes, it also contains morbid, angsty lyrics reminiscent of a Chelsea Grin album.

Death is coming 'round like a hurricane swirling,
We're on the clock and the needle's turning,
The misery's killing me slowly,
Give me a spine to work it out,
I'm just another one wandering endlessly on to the grave.


Spencer Sotelo’s vocals and lyrics have never exactly been a high point of the band, but the awkwardness has reached a new level here. Marrying death metal instrumentation and apocalyptic lyrics with cheesy pop elements didn't work when Periphery tried them before, and they certainly don’t the numerous times they are attempted here either. Synthpop elements also come into play regarding the band’s continuing trend of pointless outros, making the sixty-five minute runtime even more frustrating to sit through. For whatever reason, their melodic, clean guitar sections are even scarcer than the decidedly heavy Juggernaut: Omega as well. The fewer reprieves from the metal madness only adds to the headache-inducing qualities of sitting through III, exhibiting pretentious progressive metal clichés shamelessly: cluttered instrumentation and over-the-top vocals galore. What the band gets right here is not much, but some decent moments include “Remain Indoors,” the Meshuggah-esque breakdown in “Motormouth,” and the “The Way The News Goes” intro. These are promising but fleeting highlights amongst a sea of unmemorable, headache inducing prog metal.

While the band has more than proven the failure to learn from their own mistakes in the first half of III, it manages to become the lesser of two evils after the musical disaster of “Habitual Line-Sleeper.” In this way, the schizophrenic tone changes of the first half give way to simplified, increased pop elements in the last few tracks. While thankfully restrained, they resemble the bland pop elements of last year's That's The Spirit by Bring Me The Horizon more than anything else. “Catch Fire” and “Prayer Position” have passable pop elements in a progressive metal backdrop, for those who are into that sort of thing, as does album closer “Lune,” relying on synths more than guitar wizardry.

III is acceptable only to the loyal fans, as it ultimately does little right and sees Periphery at an all-time creative low, failing to improve on any of their faults. For all the instrumental complexity and quirky songwriting choices, it will just sound forced to most. III shines a light on Periphery’s flaws that appear in one form or another in all their releases, only this time, the flaws cannot be overlooked. There are none of the captivating guitar leads or climactic moments they've shown in the past. The band’s instrumental abilities are impressive as always, but hardly rewarding when they're beating you over the head until you’re begging for quieter moments that rarely ever come, which usually bore more than captivate when they do anyways. If Periphery took a step back and changed their formula, they might be able to salvage their strengths and make something worthwhile. Until then, you’re better off finding your progressive metal fix elsewhere.



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3.4
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


18883 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'm not sure this turned out as well as I had hoped, and I expect that I'll get negative responses for this, but I just had to get my thoughts down and it turned into a full review. Any further CC is welcomed, and thanks to Mongi and Gameofmetal for proofreading.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


18883 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Flatline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7cH6o_sblg



Here's a link to one of the more bearable songs. Links to the others should be listed next to it, most of them have been released on Youtube.

Spacesh1p
July 22nd 2016


7717 Comments


rating is correct

Spacesh1p
July 22nd 2016


7717 Comments


emphasis on the verbal portion of the 2.0 "poor"

Artuma
July 22nd 2016


31495 Comments


excellent review mate

Digging: The Old Wind - Feast On Your Gone

gordodustin
July 22nd 2016


289 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gotta admit, the lyrics aren't at their best with this album on a few of the songs. But the instrumentation is as solid as ever and a 2.0 seems a little harsh considering the lyrics are the only thing holding it back. Also, your opinion of Juggernaut puts you in the minority as a lot of people (myself included) consider it the best thing they've ever done. Honestly, Juggernaut has been their peak and I'll be surprised if they ever top it.

Tunaboy45
July 22nd 2016


16936 Comments


"Flatline"
they were asking for it with a song title like that

Digging: Code Orange - Underneath

tempest--
July 22nd 2016


20634 Comments


can't wait for the thousand "witty" review summaries like this one

Tunaboy45
July 22nd 2016


16936 Comments


Periphery IV: This joke still isn't dead

Toondude10
July 22nd 2016


14166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Staff? Wait wtf just happened?

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


11922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Maybe I'll get my stolen contributor tag back...

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


18883 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

wtf just happened? [2]

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
July 22nd 2016


6767 Comments


oh would ya look at that 😏

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


18883 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'll have to pan Periphery more often if this is what follows haha

Toondude10
July 22nd 2016


14166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Next Periphery review you'll be a moderator

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


4491 Comments


Periphery IV: Talons For Moderator Of The Community-Driven Music Review Website Sputnikmusic Dot Com

TheMrAlexK
July 22nd 2016


11322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review and congrats on the promotion.



Personally, I agree this is their worst album by far. Since I seem to be one of the bigger Periphery fans on this site, I thought a "Just another Periphery album" would turn out to be another solid album, but sadly I was wrong.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


16468 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i know its just right there, but people should at least try and put a teensy bit of thought into the summaries for this album

Digging: Ocoeur - Everything

Insurrection
July 22nd 2016


24736 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dam i knew i should've rated this a 1. congrats ben : )

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2016


18883 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Thanks everyone, and the summary is just a joke. I enjoy seeing what funnier ones others come up with in the thread. Suffice it to say I was not disappointed.



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