Album of the Week 2/8/2012: Periphery – “Periphery”

Welcome to the first of many entries in Pwrcords.com’s Album of the Week column! Every week, one of our writers will contribute posts on their favorite albums, and why you should love them, too! This week, Brendan gives us a look at Periphery’s self titled debut. And be on the lookout for Game and Movie of the Week columns as well!

Djent. It’s become a four-letter word of sorts these days. What started as an adjective to describe the guitar sound of bands like Meshuggah, has grown to encapsulate an entire genre. In the past few years, djent’s popularity has exploded, with new bands aping the heavy guitar tone and complex polyrythms of the genre’s progenitors, and creating their own unique spin — mixing in highly melodic passages and vocals. Periphery are one such band.

Periphery don’t exactly play the type of metal I usually gravitate towards. I like plenty of similar proggy bands like Protest the Hero, Dillinger Escape Plan, and the almighty Between The Buried And Me, but Periphery was my first real foray into the realm of djent. And might I say, it is a great place to start off.

As more and more bands release more and more albums in the genre, I find myself being turned off by the vast majority of djent out there. Granted, I haven’t done my homework as thuroughly as I should, most of it comes of simply as uninspired and overly digital, or worse, it’s just deathcore using the Meshuggah guitar tone because it’s “heavy”. Thankfully, neither scenario is the case with Periphery.

At it’s heart, Periphery is a progressive metal record, and that’s why I enjoy it so much. Prog metal is one of my favorite genres of music, and the technical riffs, soaring vocals, and time signatures that turn on a dime that define this album are what make it so much fun to listen to. The talent of the song writing and musicality here is impressive, to say the least. Misha Mansoor has a gift for creating heavy yet memorable songs, filled with hundreds of infectious riffs that get stuck in your head for days.

Spencer Sotelo’s vocals dig those hooks in deeper. While admittedly his particular brand of clean-then-scream vocals are not my favorite style in the world, it actually fits the music perfectly (and songs the band have released since Periphery do show that his screams have greatly improved).

Sure, in a library containing bands like Trap Them and Dragged into Sunlight, Periphery might seem out of place, but like I said it’s the prog that truly love. Sure, the guitar tone is heavily mechanical, digital and “plasticky” feeling, but damn it, these riffs are great! I’m not one to give two shits about “trve” or not being able to like a certain genre because it doesn’t follow some sort of rules. There are plenty of people out there who love Periphery, I’m one of them, and you should be too.

For fans of: Animals As Leaders, Cloudkicker, Protest the Hero, The Human Abstract, TesseracT, Vildhjarta

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