In our first ever Power Cords guest blog, metalhead, playstation fan, and full-time Thor impersonator, Jordan Kessler give his totally biased review of Periphery’s latest auditory assault, Perphery II: This Time it’s Personal. Enjoy!
I have to first start this review off by saying that Periphery guitarist Mark Holcomb and I are very close. In 2004 I had the prestigious honor of being Marks roommate in college, which completely rocked. I was moderately into heavy metal at the time, skimming the surface with gateway bands like Metallica, Motorhead, and Iron Maiden. We instantly clicked (Really on anything; ethnic food, video games, movies) and before you knew it we were seeing Children of Bodom live, grieving over the death of Dimebag Darrell, and casually meeting our new god Devin Townsend backstage.
Mark and metal had a profound effect on me and while you’re probably saying to yourself, “they formed a band right?” you’d be wrong. I possess zero musical talent. I mean, I look good in corpse paint and I can carry a tune, but instruments fall to ruin in my hands. Now Mark on the other hand, here is a guy who can wail on a guitar and I don’t just mean play Stairway to Heaven and call it good, this guy is creative. I rarely ever heard the same thing twice and if I did it was because the riff was beyond catchy (Periphery 2’s Scarlet comes to mind, a Mark Holcomb original). With this skill Mark put together Haunted Shores, which certainly had it ups and downs but was definitely a worthwhile endeavor. It certainly caught Periphery’s leader Misha Monsoor’s ear.
And well, the rest is Periphstory.
Now I guess I should talk about the album, years in the making by a band that in my opinion has had more stops and starts than my bike. I was there for all the band member changes, the potential label deals, and of course the announcement of Spencer Sotelo as their new singer and some time after that, Mark as their new guitarist.
With all my Periphery knowledge in mind I am happy to say that this album is a triumph for this group. I know I only get to say this once for a band, but I mean it. It is a triumph. The guitars are tight, the riffs are phenomenal, the production is on point, but the star of the show is the before mentioned Spencer Sotelo. Spencer roars like a beast on this album adding his incredible range to the Periphery onslaught. Compared to the first album, an album that had forced Sotelo to sing songs written for a different vocalist (Casey Sabol), he now sings under his own power, unhindered by what came before. He is own man now and while we will always love this band for the riffery, the soul of this group has become Sotelo.
I don’t have much else to say really except this and it’s going to sound really sappy. You have to fight for your dreams. I literally watched Mark scratch and claw to his now success. He wanted to be a professional musician and HE IS DOING IT. I am immensely proud and inspired by him and his band mates. They have put together an incredible album and I strongly encourage you to listen to it.
Favorite Tracks: Muramasa, Have a Blast, Scarlet, MAKE TOTAL DESTROY, Erised
Check out more Periphery here.