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Periphery – Periphery(2010)

  • Review by: Ankit Baraskar

Periphery – Periphery(2010)

For me at least, one of the most anticipated albums of 2010. The guy who invented the word “djent” to define a mildly obscure subgenre of technical metal as we know it, Misha Mansoor a.k.a Bulb is the brains behind this one. (Though it began with Meshuggah, who actually got the onomatopoeic sound with the 7/8 strings). Still, when I first heard Periphery, they were quite unlike Meshuggah, since a lot of melodic shred was to be found. Having done with the introductions, on to the review.

1. Insomnia : A nice start to the album, could have been nicer. Plenty of “djent”, though somehow still not enough. Needed to be a bit more bassy, somehow lacks the groove so present in other periphery songs.

2. The Walk : This is much better. “The Walk” is like an epic misnomer here, since in terms of pace, the song is anything but a “walk”. Nicely paced, palm muted triplets and good, technical yet melodic guitarwork. They’ve experimented with the guitar sound, with a lot of non-djent patches being used.

3. Letter Experiment : Nice song, almost rock-esque in parts, especially with the clean vocals. But still heavy and groovy enough to capture your attention. The end though suddenly changes scales and the entire mood of the song.

4. Jetpacks Was Yes : Almost a ballad by Periphery/metal standards. Electronic effects which should have had an experimental edge to them sound almost commercial and make the whole thing sound too watered down. By now, you begin to wish that someone else was doing the screamed/growled vocals…though the clean vocals are bearable, they need a good growl/scream to back ’em up.

5. Light : Hell yeah. Finally. One of the most anticipated tracks of this album. Such groove, such well executed and well planned breaks…even the vocals go along well. Though I’m sure the guitar sound is the same, they seem to have a sharper edge in this one, possibly due to the different accentuation/rhythm.

6. All New Materials : An interesting offering, especially the way it changes from heavy to slightly lighter and back in a rather fluid manner. Even the guitar solos are much more interesting compared to the first three songs. Though the end is a bit drawn out on this one.

7. Buttersnips : Another solid song, especially the interlude near the 2:10 mark, very well done, harmony et al. The vocalist proves that he was a very good choice as a clean vocalist at least, hitting the high notes cleanly enough.

8. Icarus Lives : Again, a personal favourite. Groovy as heck, slow yet crushing. The Meshuggah influences are plain here, but Misha Mansoor plays it in his own way, with the tapped runs sprinkled here and there tastefully. After 3:12, an attempt at humour as a random bugger introduces the band.

9. Totla Mad : Pay close attention to this one, since the title is so very apt. This one is almost as close to madness as they get. They groove is there, though the feel is somewhat darker compared to Icarus Lives, which has a much more epic feel(since the theme itself isn’t far from epic). Parts of it resemble something out of Fredrik Thordendal’s side project(Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects. That is the closest to madness ANYONE can get).

10. Ow! My feelings : This one almost has a prog kinda feel to it, something like DT(Dream Theater)’s darker stuff. Decent enough, though nothing exceptionally different about it.

11. Zyglrox : Epic. That’s enough to describe this song. If you haven’t heard this band before, I’d say listen to this. The start with the dropped C tuning and the diminished runs…too friggin good. Probably the most technical, catchy and melodic(in a way) songs of this album. Even the solo is so well crafted, this song is enough to make any metalhead eargasm.

12. Racecar : Just like a racecar(or maybe just a car) this song starts off slow, and then quickly accelerates to a decent pace. Good riffage all the way through. A track this long has to be very tightly knit so that the listener doesn’t “nod off” halfway through, and very few bands are up to the task. (success: Opeth – Black Rose Immortal. Fail: any of the later Burzum releases.) Thankfully Periphery have managed somewhere near the better end of the spectrum. The “Racecar” is very well paced, thank you.

Overall, the album was a slight disappointment for Periphery fans, i.e. those who’ve heard the instrumental demos. I expected more variation from the band, but possibly Sumerian record might have been a part of the reason why some of the songs sound a bit watered down and commercial. The lyrics aren’t very innovative either, frankly speaking, but since the demo was near instrumental, not many expected killer lyrics from this band. As observed before, the bass is hardly audible, which sorts of takes a dimension out of the music.

Still, the disappointment is just due to the excess hype created around this album, but still it seems they aren’t entirely ready to be the new wave of low tuned craziness. Somewhere between all the plethora of djent bands and Animals as Leaders, one could say. I’d give it 8.5/10. Still, a MUST LISTEN for all metal-heads, especially for gems like zyglrox, light, racecar and icarus lives, which are 10/10 songs in themselves. Go get it.