Periphery: Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal

It’s not a long shot to say that this might be one of the best prog metal releases of the year. I mean, this is up there with Gojira and Meshuggah’s albums for 2012 and this is definitely Periphery finding themselves musically.

I think this is a great record. Their debut record was also really great, but lacked in direction and could use some tightening up. Since then we’ve seen this band truly evolve and discover their true potential. Their Icarus EP also helped to display their versatility and evolution as a band. Now we have the band’s second major release and I gotta tell you, it’s very impressive.

This is also very much Spencer’s album. I’m not talking about songwriting-wise (to be honest, I’m not 100% sure who does all the songwriting on these songs), but overall. Hear me out. I felt like the first record was all about Misha. The riffs, the production, everything was Misha. Now, I think it’s all about Spencer. I can’t tell you how impressive his vocals have gotten. He has improved as a singer tenfold and is really cutting loose on this album. I could tell I would be hooked during the first breakdown of the first track “Muramasa: where he just screams for what seems like forever. There were times where I was listening to his voice and I thought to myself, ya know, if they were to re-record the soundtrack for Jesus Christ Superstar, Spencer would be a great jesus. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, look it up. Legendary Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan sang as Jesus on the soundtrack before Ted Neilly came in for the movie and the broadway shows. is range was crazy back then and Spencer’s is crazy now. Good for him.

One thing I don’t really like on this record is the lack of riffs. There’s a lot of riffs obviously and a lot going on, but I feel like this album focuses more on the solos than the riffs like on the first album. I mean, they brought in three guest guitarists to do solos on this record (Guthrie Goven on “Have a Blast”; John Petrucci on “Erised”; and Wes Hauch on “Mile Zero”). There’s also a lot of ambience and instrumental interludes that bridge just about each song together. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the singles that they released. I guess I was kinda hoping for another “Icarus Lives” and I didn’t really get that. It’s not a bad thing, but after listening to the full album, I liked “Facepalm Mute” and “Ji” more than I liked “Scarlet” and “Make Total Destroy.” All songs are good and songs like “The Gods Must Be Crazy” (Go see that movie if you haven’t), “Luck As A Constant” and “Mile Zero” are also killer tracks.

As far as production goes, I didn’t think there was much of a difference. I bit bigger sonically, but I think that had more to do with the songs being more mature and properly arranged and less Misha at the board. Misha is a great producer though and really struck gold with this band, but the production on this record isn’t really new or different from the past two releases.

All in all, I think this is a blinding record. They are certainly giving bands like Meshuggah and Gojira a run for their money even though their in two different worlds of metal and I’m sure there will be plenty of facebook trolls and “true metal heads” dissing the record, but who cares. As long as YOU enjoy it, that’s all the matters.

Luke Helker

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