enters the Billboard chart this week at #22
Spotify online listen
not yet rated by allmusic
3rd studio album
prog-metal I guess they call it
not my thing but it may be SteveO's
artist website - http://www.periphery.net/
Bio - from allmusic
Periphery started in 2005 as the recording project of guitarist and producer Misha Mansoor. Mansoor, who had made a name for himself in the progressive metal
community through his production abilities with his project, Bulb, created the band as an evolution of his earlier works, taking the music out of the studio and onto the
road, fleshing out the band with a lineup that includes guitarists Alex Bois and Jake Bowen, bassist Tom Murphy, drummer Matt Halpern, and, after running through a few
vocalists, singer Spencer Sotelo. With a sound that pushes at the boundaries of progressive metal, Periphery are at the forefront of the “djent” movement, utilizing
detuned, extended range instruments to create a sound that’s as technically dizzying as it is heavy, joining in with the growing ranks of bands that are taking the
framework laid down by bands like Meshuggah and running wild with it. Periphery released their self-titled debut in 2010 on Sumerian, then quickly went out on the road,
touring the U.S. and Canada, as well as making stops in Australia and the U.K. The following year, the band released their first EP, Icarus.
Album Review - from sputnikmusic
Let me be blunt: I like Juggernaut: Alpha. I like it for probably many of the reasons fans of the group's first forays seem to dislike it: for emphasizing musical structure and
painting with a wider swath of colors than the monochromatic schemes we were fed on their eponymous debut.
While Periphery (the one that wasn't personal) focused on experimenting with rhythm, it mostly neglected to shade that rhythm with any particular color. Don't get me
wrong - forgoing melody to achieve dissonance or pounding rawness can be an effective technique, but we invented color television for a reason, and Periphery never
quite had the cinematic effect of a Schindler's List. Periphery 2, on the other hand, shifted gears to emphasize melody, albeit in a "look at us, we're shifting gears to
emphasize melody!" way typical of a band experiencing growing pains while reinventing themselves. Spencer Sotelo also learned to sing like Rody Walker at this point,
which at least sounded better than his performance on their debut.
But I digress, Alpha is a good album. Not a "good by comparison" album or a "good for this band" album, but a damn good album, up and down, left and right. Maybe
with a pinch of a "good to see a band with a lot of talent finally put out something really great" mixed in there for effect. Because Periphery are that band and this is that
Alpha builds its success from two angles: the heavy djent rhythms Periphery are known for (although often altered to be in a slightly more regular meter) and an
elaboration on the flash of melody that we saw on Periphery 2. Vocal melodies and guitar solos alike create less dissonance than they did on previous outings, allowing
tracks to gel into a package that's more attractive and accessible. And yes, the two really do go hand-in-hand for Periphery, as dialing back the rhythmic technicality on
Alpha clearly makes space for a melodic air that the band have sorely needed in the past. That said, you'll still hear moments of computer glitch soloing ("22 Faces" and
"Rainbow Gravity") and "MK Ultra" definitely steers full-boar towards the group's original sound (for better or worse).
But even the retread balls-to-the-wall rhythmic madness of a track like that feels polished on Alpha - partially the product of Spencer seemingly, finally coming into his
own as a vocalist with an appropriate range dialed into every track on the album; and partially the product of a band putting a few fundamentals back into a sound that
was sorely missing them. Some will bemoan that this makes things more "pop-oriented" or "less innovative," but there's simply no denying that the techniques employed
are successful. Truthfully, the turnabout sees a lot of clever hooks and tropes employed by successful 21st century progressive rock, which is probably why it's being
seen in such a "pop" regard. But when it works, why argue with results?
Alpha is easily the band's most accessible album to date... But that should, by no means, be a black mark against a band that have finally put all of their musical
intelligence to exceptional use. Having a chorus that's fun and easy to sing along ("Heavy Heart," "The Scourge," "Alpha") to doesn't lower the musical worth of a product
that can leave you reeling with a low, polyrhythmic punch just a track later. Nor does melodic soloing, or rhythms which know their place reinforcing song structure and
venturing into experimental territory without detracting from a song's focus.
If anything, Alpha proves that Periphery have learned and matured as musicians and as a band. Alpha is less an exercise in flaunting technicality (as the previous two
albums tended toward) and more a concerted team effort with a musical goal in mind. To be concise, it's less instrumentally selfish, more melody-focused, and
interesting without being alienating. That, to me, makes a damn good album, whether you're Periphery or any other band. If you're a fan of progressive metal, whether
you've listened to Periphery before (actually, especially if you've listened to Periphery before) or if this is your first experience with the band, you'll be pleasantly surprised
with this one.
1. A Black Minute
2. MK Ultra
3. Heavy Heart
4. The Event
5. The Scourge
7. 22 Faces
8. Rainbow Gravity
9. Four Lights