Periphery // II 
Rating: 2.0/5.0 — A band for whom song craft is in the periphery. 
Sumerian [NA] | Century Media [EU]
Release Dates: EU: 2012.07.16 | US: 07.03.2012

Periphery II - Cover

Periphery is kind of a big deal, apparently. People have been having a conniption on the Internetz ever since the release date started getting closer and, wow, I didn’t really know what all the hype was about. In all of this, I received a promo of the band’s wittily named II and I thought “Hey, progressive metal! I like progressive metal!” This, however, is not your grandfather’s progressive metal. No, unlike the progressive rock and heavy rock of the past, Periphery isn’t really writing great symphonic works of art or abstract tracks with smart, snappy choruses. Nor is this a shred-fest in funny time signatures á la Dream Theater and their ubiquitous and oppressive ilk. Nay, Periphery is something unique to the 2010s, and I’m not sure that progressive metal is better for that.

Periphery is a modern metal band that probably belongs in the “djent” category for all you genrefiers out there. Sure, that genre is getting a bit wide (and already oh-so-tired), but Periphery wears the moniker well. The root idea of most songs are semi-progressive, poly-rhythmic guitar riffs that scream Meshuggah worship. These chuggy riffs in twisted time signatures are blanketed with vocalist Spencer Sotelo’s unremarkable hardcore screams and occasional growls. Then there are the obligatory pop-punk cleans, punctuated by Sotelo’s school boy tenor, which is produced and filtered to a T. Finally, the songs are often laced with electronica tricks and fantastic guitar-nerd solos. The production is thick, hyper-modern, multi-layered and really functions to encase the sound as it’s supposed to be presented: in a sterile package. It’s hard, actually, to imagine the band ever performing this material live because of how important the production is to their overall sound. All of this blends into a semi-cohesive sound, but often times serves largely as a vehicle for a chorus or a vehicle for solo—depending on who’s supposed to be in the spotlight in what song.

Periphery 2012But, frankly, I get left in the cold by this band. My complaints are legion, but I’m going to focus on the two things that I see the as the biggest problems: the songwriting and the vocals. While the songs have some amazing parts (the intro to “Luck as Constant” is fucking superb, for example, and I could go through separate songs and pick out neat parts and tricks), they feel undirected and poorly constructed in their tendency to wander. Songs (maybe “tracks” would be more appropriate) tend towards linear formats, relying on production tricks and awkward transitions to push one riff or another—but rarely does the band produce a transition that’s truly memorable like what one hears from Textures or Animals as Leaders or old Opeth. The guitar work and the riffs are exciting and creative at times, performing mind-bending backflips and dropping the bottom out sometimes and just hammering home thick, fat riffs. But as the drummer from a major label band once told me: “Everyone can play. Everyone has ProTools. Song craft is a dead art.” And Periphery is the perfect example of that. Write me a fucking song, dudes, not a series of audial doodles that have been pasted together on your computer.

The second problem that I have overlaps with the first; vocalist Spencer Sortero. I don’t know where these little boys grow, but can we stop getting them in our metal? With his Coheed and Cambria meets Protest the Hero pop punk vocals, one would expect that this record would be laced with catchy melodies that would stick into your spine like those fucking annoying spiky balls that stick to your pants when you’re walking through the woods. Instead, the vocal lines are often just him linking notes together into patterns with no real melodic content in a weak attempt, I assume, to be progressive. There are moments like on “Ji” or the opening “Muramasa” where the melodies are good, subtle, smart and poppy. But for the rest of the record it’s almost like the guy is just free associating his parts at the studio. Oh, also, this Angry Metal Guy finds his voice really annoying, but since he’s not singing melodies worth listening to anyway, I’ll leave that alone.

So riff-after-riff that doesn’t sit; “melody” after “melody” that make me go “meh” and this record leaves me unimpressed and, frankly, confused as to what the fuss is. They’re talented, sure, but “anyone can play,” and where are the songs here? What’s to be excited about? If it’s great guitar work and sterile production you’re after? Check out Digital Veil from The Human Abstract. Like great chug and crazy polyrhythmic times? Well there’s a band called Meshuggah, they kinda invented that genre. Want a little boy who sings weird melodies that get stuck in your head? Check out Coheed and Cambria. Leave Periphery in the periphery.

  • Oh the comments are going to be delicious! I do agree with you though, this band has never grabbed me despite people going crazy about them.

  • shinobeast

    Well, let me be the first to say I respectfully disagree.  I will grant you that the songs can tend to wander, but I have listened to the album almost ten times and each time I am seeing more cohesion than before.  I think you need to allow the album to grow on you some more.

    Of course, I could just be talking out my ass.  I respect the points that you make, but I enjoy the album and will continue to enjoy it for a long time.

    Bottom line:  Periphery isn’t for everyone.

    • It’s just that the songwriting here is so “second thought.” It’s like the writing process is “I have this riff this riff and this riff. Under normal circumstances bands produce songs. *Sigh* I guess I’ll just link ’em together.” 

      • shinobeast

        Well, djent is a style that doesn’t follow traditional metal structure, so it’s my opinion that they do write good songs in their own style.  I am sorry to be so difficult, but I am an impassioned metal lover.  By the way, I wouldn’t argue if I didn’t have a ton of respect for you and the site.

        • a_dg

          Sorry to be contentious, but what is “traditional metal structure”? Verse-chorus-verse-chorus? So many different styles of metal stray from that path. Djent plays by the same rules as any other music worth listening to: stick to an idea, make it listenable (on some level and to a certain audience), but bring something new. I love odd song structures as much as the next guy, but if it adds up to nonsense, then the gig is up.

        • But progressive metal is varied and fascinating. Djent isn’t that special. It’s just Meshuggah-worship. Frankly, this band is form above function. 

          • Seriously? “Djent
            isn’t that special.” It’s polyrythmic, it’s an entirely restructuring of the classic timing that’s at the foundation of all rock, they even use SEVEN STRINGS!!!
            :P I’d call that special. Kudos to Meshuggah for helping to pave the way but I never got into them so “Meshuggah worship?”…PUH-leeez.  And Opeth???  Did they record they’re 75th 20 minute flat bore you to death track about a fanciful troll frolicking through the enchanted winter forre……OMG
            PLEASE KILL ME NOW!!! Could they BE more Swedish???  It wasn’t until I heard Periphery’s “New Grove”
            and “The Walk” that the little metalhead inside me said “I need to SMASH something!!!”
            and “why don’t my speakers go to ELLLEEEVEN!!!” THAT SHIT IS GOOD!!! For that I’ll give these guys my thanks, a bit of doe and plenty of listens….even if this
            album is disappointing…! :)

          • Polyrythmics and polymeters have been around progressive rock way before Meshuggah and any “djent-ism”. And the way Meshuggah says, they don’t even do polyrythmics, just a syncopated 4/4, and I tend to agree with that.

          • You’re absolutely right, but in this context Meshuggah is the only relevant reference point.

          • What? That’s horse shit. Given that the djent movement is basically stealing Meshuggah’s sound and adding clean vocals, I find it highly suspect that you would say that Meshuggah has nothing to do with djent. The band itself is not djent, but the movement itself is particularly prone to ripping them off.

          • I think I stated Meshuggah helped pave the way for the djent movement. And as I’m sure you’d agree, I don’t know enough or care enough to get into these “who stole what from who” arguments. If Meshuggah makes good music I will listen to them, if Periphery makes good music, I’ll listen to them too…

          • The same is true for me. And I listen to Meshuggah, but not so much Periphery. :) 

          • I was specifically referring to “transitions.” You know, the part where one part of the song moves into the other part of the song? I can’t think of a band that does better transitions than Opeth. 

            Also, I don’t even know how to really respond to this stream of consciousness babbling. Leave the meth alone and come back when you can form coherent thoughts. 

          • My argument is that in the six times you refer to the Swedish hobbit metal band Opeth it becomes abudantly clear to a first time reader that you’re not honestly comparing them on a purely technical level. One doesn’t have to spend alot of time on this site to see that the genre of metal you prefer is far removed from bands like Periphery, regardless of any connection to the progressive or djent descriptors. So If I want a good review of metal per the melodic Northern European vein I’ll know where to look, otherwise why review music that’s so clearly out of your scope of interest?
            I wish I had seen your tags sooner…

          • Opeth is a band that has tremendously good transitions. I also used examples of Textures and Animals as Leaders who are much better at it than Periphery, in my opinion. Also Nami. And well, most other metal bands. 

            Also, from a technical perspective I listen to lots of bands that are just as technical or MORE technical than Periphery who I never would compare them to because I don’t give a shit about the technicality if the songs fucking suck. And that’s really the point, isn’t it? Cynic or Beyond Creation or Spawn of Possession write *good songs* that are highly interesting and worth listening to. Periphery doesn’t do that.

            Also: read the fucking FAQ. 

          • I’m not arguing technical abilities or song writing skills, I’m refering to personal preference. Where’s the Brain Drill, Beneath the Massacre, The Faceless ?  Noone will find them here becuase they’re not your kind of metal and they don’t belong.  The problem is neither does  Periphery…

          • I review what I get promos of. Brain Drill isn’t very good, but I dig The Faceless and haven’t listened to Beneath the Massacre. 

            But your argument is fundamentally that I’m “biased” against this time of metal. I get what you’re saying. Read the FAQ.

          • I’ve read your remarks on objectivity and understand that ultimately it all comes down to opinion. Mine would be that there is a particular genre of metal you prefer so that a critique of a band like Periphery is tenuous at best. For whatever it’s worth, I appreciate the work that you do and you’re obviously very knowledgable on this topic. I just don’t think you can take the hobbit out of the Angry Metal Guy. But that’s just my opinion…!

          • The hobbit? Hahahaha. I’m quite tall, though I do have hairy feet. But I just heard a djentish band I liked a lot today. Caligula’sHorse (not djent, I said, DJENTISH). It’s out there. I just think Periphery writes bad songs. And I don’t think that’s ’cause I like Scandinavian metal. I think that’s ’cause I don’t think Periphery writes good songs. :) 

          • I’ll have to check them out, or wait for your review and then thoroughly bash it! :) I’m more of a Dying Fetus guy. And you’re right, Periphery did not write good songs on this album, but they gave us works like “Frak the Gods” which I think is phenomenal so I know they have it in them…No matter how non-Scandinavian they may be!

          • Come on, stop it with the “Meshuggah-worship” thing. 1. I do not like Djent in general, I find it boring. 2. I think Djent is pretty far away from Meshuggah even though they obviously are influenced by that legendary band. 3. Defining Periphery as Djent is pretty simplistic… I would say Tesseract are typical Djent, and Periphery attempts so much more, and what  some people describe as “immature writing” (what you said about randomly pasting riffs together), I do not mind if the riffs are good and the solos are good (yes, I am a huge guitar fan, so that has an influence over my opinion, as well). So,  I still think the songwriting issue is also a matter of taste.   

      • Robert Turnbull

        My thoughts exactly.  Some great solos in there too, but little consistency.

        Whereas some bands (Opeth, Ne Obliviscaris, even Scar Symmetry – death pop!) manage musical juxtaposition and just make it feel right, Periphery doesn’t (yet) do that, and without cohesion the music just isn’t immersive.

    • Very well said. I also agree Periphery is not for everyone.  And that is the only reason AMG doesn’t like Periphery, because his taste differs, and that’s perfectly fair.    I don’t like it when he goes as far as to say the band is bad, but that is also just an opinion.  I appreciate the fact that he can, nonetheless, state that there is actually talent in the band (something that cannot be disputed regardless of musical taste).

  • a_dg

    They released a separate instrumental version of their first album, which I love. Never heard the version with vocals, don’t feel the need to. And in the samples I’ve heard of this one, the vocals just seem absolutely intolerable. “School boy tenor” is exactly it, and the vocal melodies do seem pointlessly meandering. Unless they put out an instrumental version of this one, I can’t see ever getting it, which is a shame given how much I enjoy their debut.

    Now, to check out this Digital Veil …

    • Oops just noticed this post after posting my own “Hey, there’s an instrumental version of their first record available” announcement. Whatever. This bit of news is so good it bears repeating: it’s possible to listen to Periphery without the hideous song-destroying vocals.

  • Martin L

    But as the drummer from a major label band once told me: “Everyone can play. Everyone has ProTools. Song craft is a dead art.”


    Yes. Unfortunately, a thousand times yes to this.

  • Of course, yes, I should listen to the album before forming any opinions about it, though in light of the descriptions in this review (particularly of the vocals), I really have no interest in bothering.  I have a strong suspicion I’d feel the same way.  Thank you for saving my time.

  • Sean Thomas

    I think it is the cold, clinical shininess of the production that is the biggest problem for me, there’s no warmth, no feel, it’s like trying to grasp a hard surface. I also find the songs blend in to one after the first few. I think they need to shorten the overall record length, cut down to say 9 songs, make those songs longer, be more patient, build something, create an atmosphere, do something! They need to take a look at who is around them, Uneven Structure are far superior in this field. 

    • There is a lot of warmth or feel. You just don’t like clinical shininess, that’s all :/    Never bring up “feeling” when talking about music, because it is an empty argument, everyone feels music in a different way. You do not feel this record, I do, and with great pleasure.

  • This is probably the most overrated band in modern metal.

  • João César

    I disagree with your review and totally agree with shinobeast .

    I like the non traditional song structure,  the vibe and groove of most of the songs. You can’t absorb all this in a couple of listens. Also, the complex riffing and tempo changes are not for every one (as a matter of taste, nothing more).

    I was not a  big Spencer Sotelo fan, but that guy has a impressive range and musicality. Perhaps he varied too much on this record. Someone that does not know the band could easily say that there are 3 different singers on the records. 

    Anyway, I think your rating may have been slighly affected by the djent factor. 

    3/5 might have been more appropriate.

    • I have enjoyed other Djent releases (see Textures that I mentioned and Nami). But I listen to plenty of progressive metal and am not scared by “complex riffing and tempo changes.” 

      This record is form above function all the way. The “non-standard song structures” of a band like Opeth or Agalloch are things of beauty. This is nothing so artful or interesting. 

      And by the way:

  • HohenheimOL

    In my opinion, these guys just straight up aren’t metal. (I say this because in my opinion a band must be riff driven and have a sense of momentum perpetuated through those riffs to be metal.) That’s why you don’t like them, because you’re judging them by the standards of a metal band, by which they inevitable fail. “Djent” is some whole other genre that some whole other group of people enjoy for some entirely different reason than metalheads have to enjoy metal, which is why 
    metalcore/deathcore/insert ostensibly metal genre really shouldn’t be paid much heed by anyone looking to enjoy/review proper metal. Hell, even Gojira is closer to being actual metal than these guys.

    Just my two cents.

    • No. Djent is metal. Meshuggah (the band they’re all copying) is one of the great metal bands of all time. In fact, I’d say that writing it off and saying “it’s not metal,” does other djent bands who succeed a major disfavor. And I don’t like this because it’s bad, not because it’s djent. 

      • HohenheimOL

        Djent as a style can be incorporated into metal. Djent as a genre is not. It’s like the difference between crossover thrash and hardcore punk(replace “hardcore punk” with “polyrythyms”). One is metal that incorporates the sound of the other to add variety, the other is something else entirely. Animals as Leaders is the former, Perhipery is the latter. Meshuggah started out with a mixture of thrash and technical with some use of polyrythyms, but they’ve gotten to the point that they let polyrythyms totally define their style. Which is why I don’t consider them metal after a few albums in.

        I’m not trying to say all Djent is good or bad. My point is that in my opinion it sets out to accomplish something fundamentally different from what metal sets out to accomplish. But I digress.  We’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

        Also, I don’t buy that “progressive metal” label that Perhipery uses. I see little progression in their music. All I really see is polyrythyms. But presumably you disagree with me on that.

        • No. Djent is metal. Djent as a genre is metal. It is a type of metal. It is a style that is rooted in metal and it is not different. It incorporates the cleans of pop punk, but that’s even something that has been happening since metalcore, so it’s not exactly unusual. It’s just progressive metal. And it’s not about the song structures. Just ’cause they write shitty songs doesn’t mean they’re “not metal.” Again, Opeth is metal, Moonsorrow is metal, Dream Theater is hard rock or metal depending who you ask. So is Behold… the Arctopus! All of these things are in the big tent of metal. 

          Also, I consider Meshuggah, Textures, Animals as Leaders, Vildhjärta, Nami, Tesseract, and so forth, all to be metal. 

          Also, polyrhythms are progressive. The stuff that they’re doing with electronica is also progressive/crossover within metal. I think calling themselves a progressive metal band is totally reasonable. They’re just not a good one, IMO. 

          • Daniel Maimer

            I just hate the notion of “djent” being a genre.  It’s like saying “chug” is a genre.

            Djent is an onomatopoeia for a fucking guitar tone, to me.  Isn’t it a word Dino Cazares made up for palm-muting?

          • Gein

            Djent is a little bigger than that. When you tag something as djent now it usually refers to a type of progressive metal with a specific guitar tone/playing and heavy use of polymetrics. The only real requirement is the tone, but regardless a genres purpose is to essentially categorize something so people know what to look for. I see nothing wrong with calling it a genre when it fulfills just that.

            If that doesn’t convince you just look at the word ‘genre’ in the dictionary and tell me it isn’t one:

            “a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like”

          • HohenheimOL

            Metal or not, I sure don’t like it. But I second what Daniel’s saying. I take issue with a guitar technique that is essentially chugging defining an entire genre.

          • Which is more proof that it’s metal. :P

          • muath masoud

            Just wondering, why don’t you ever review any Meshggah or Opeth albums; I would love to hear your take on the new Meshuggah.

      •  Meshuggah have actually stated that they don’t even find that the majority of “djent” bands have a sound that is even that similar to their own and the ones that do don’t do it in  a way that sound so spot on.  Oh, and the reason why djent is even a genre is because the name kinda stuck when people thought that Misha intended for it to be a genre.  I wish it wasn’t a genre personally (it’s a friggin abrupt palm mute for crying out loud),  but the people have spoken, it has a classification,   and its here to stay. 

    • KingKuranes

      “even Gojira is closer to being actual metal than these guys”

      You are one small-tent metal dude.

      • HohenheimOL

        Right. Because there’s SO little metal out there that doesn’t overuse polyrythyms.

        • No dude, but I don’t think anyone would ever try to imply that Gojira isn’t metal.

          • HohenheimOL

            I know. I was just being a dick there.

          • Ah! Trolling succeeded!

  • I had only one track to like from the… 14? total track listing. And even when I was finished, I was so utterly bored out of my mind I was unable to bring myself to find that track again. I read in the comments that djent doesn’t follow common structures, but I must say that at least a structure is discernible in many other releases in the genre. AND I can’t bring myself to make it “grow on me” because the vocals are even more off-putting than the latest In Flames releases. I’m fearing an age gap issue here, because I just don’t get where the praise comes from. Thanks for the review AMG

  • I actually think the whole “bunch of riffs vs. real metal songs” issue mostly got solved with this album. It really bothered me with their first release, but with “Part II..” I must say I’m hearing a huge improvement. Same goes for the vocalist. Either he improved, or they mixed his voice better. He sounds much less whiny!

     I say its perfectly fine if you guys don’t like it, I just don’t like the whole Djent bashing trend..I agree Periphery aren’t DT, but the comparison is kinda nonsensical if you think about it.

    • They sell themselves as “progressive metal,” I was implying that they’re not prog like DT or like Kansas (or even like Opeth). Hence DT.

  • THANK YOU AMG for not liking them. Seems like everybody is desperate to meatride Periphery when they’re nothing more than a glorified Meshuggah cover band. And when there are even more problems than the mediocre songwriting (as you mentioned, vocals, production etc) it’s just like… why

    • LOL @ “meatride.”

    • Not saying that you have to like Periphery, but as much as I love Meshuggah (and I do), if you really are saying that we sound like a Meshuggah cover band, that leads me to believe that you haven’t ACTUALLY listened to our latest, and you are just regurgitating what someone else who didn’t listen to the album said.

      My advice would be to listen to the new album, for there are plenty for legitimate reasons to hate it, instead of made up ones that dont make sense haha!

  • You just, like, have shitty taste, man.

    • If by shitty taste you mean the aftertaste this “delicacy” leaves on the roof of the mouths of the people who “dare” don’t like it, then yes, it is indeed a shitty taste.

      Also, “it’s, like, your opinion, man” derivatives are a very weak attempt at humor. Good trolling tho, compelled me to answer.

    • Says the guy who likes Periphery. :p

  • I shall be analyzing this album very soon myself (because I believe it will bring traffic in, which is really the object of reviewing a release like this if you are not particularly a fan, no?), and while I do not think I will be quite as harsh as you were, the basic sentiment is dead-on.

    • I review records seemingly at random. I am less concerned with the traffic than the individual review will bring in because fans of the band aren’t likely to stick around when you pan something.

  • Bad review,  ‘angry metal dude’ you should go to classes of  “how to do a review”.. instead of the subjetive “I don’t like this, I don’t like that” you need to learn how to write objectively.
    but… I can see how people can’t understand Periphery’s music, It isn’t for everybody, first of all you need an open mind ( clearly don’t have it)
    In the end,  I saddens me to realize that Periphery will never appeal to masses, reaching only smart, brillant people and musicians (clearly, you are none of this)

    • Are you seriously telling Angry Metal Guy how to write a music review? Where might we go to read your stellar reviews so we can all learn how it’s really done. Also, there is no such thing as an “objective” review of music. We covered this ad naseum already. Go read the FAQ. Oh, by the way, NUTHUGGER ALERT!!!!

      •  I’m not into the writing reviews thing, so you can’t read any of my authorship, also I speak/write english poorly, so is not going to happen soon.Ok you have a point with the “objectivism” of a music review, but I think the subjectivity here its too damn strong, and certainly it seems very wrong to me. This is a comment, my opinion, and obviously it is subjective, like your ‘nuthugger alert’ well said, Periphery II is pure bliss to my ears, and I admit it bothers me a little that an album that is generally well recieved by critics and loved by fans gets destroyed by this biassed over-subjetive pseudo-review

        • Objectivity it’s not “I agree with everyone who praises this record, blowjobs to all!”

          And so far I have not read one single objective argument defending this record from you, by the way.

          •  I don’t need to, I don’t have to, I’m not a reviewer, and I’m not the “defender of Priphery II” it’s just I don’t like how this review is written

          • You just don’t like it doesn’t agree with your own opinion. But you are entitled to dislike the review, just as AMG is entitled to dislike the record. 

            And as an honest reviewer, he is entitled (some would say even ethically obliged) to express his disliking. And that’s why so many people happen to like this site so much.

            I won’t agree with every score here (he gutted my heart with Opeth’s Heritage) but I can understand very clearly where he comes from in every point he makes to criticize a record, and he and the rest of the gang have my respect for that.

          • ok, I’ll give you and AMG some credit, I came here not knowing nothing about the site nor AMG was about, thats why my initial reaction. But I do still consider this a ‘not good’ review because.. I as a simple reader can agree or disagree and I don’t have to write in a specific manner, but a guy who calls himself a Reviewer must do it with certain impartiality, without that you oly get a dude who writes about how much likes or dislikes some albums, and that for me it isn’t a review, just a opinion based only on personal taste.

          • All reviews are based on personal taste. How else does a reviewer relate to music except by how it impacts him or makes him feel? Think about it. Every review about anything you ever read in your life was based on how it made the writer feel. Not how it made some vague collective, objective consciousness feel.

        • Here’s the thing. I hate to be the one to break it to you but just because a critic doesn’t agree with what you consider “bliss” doesn’t invalidate their opinion in the least. Nor does it make a review “over subjective” or a “pseudo review.” It seems you want to live in a world where everyone agrees with what you personally find to be quality. You like the album, so good for you. Enjoy it. AMG didn’t.

          • I think it is supposed that in a review, the reviewer must detach, within the possible, of  personal feelings that may interfere with the judgement of the object that is reviewed, in order to be actually a Review, something that I don’t see happening here, instead, I only see prejudice, thats my problem with this “review”.

          • So if he gushed and said it was amazing and bliss to the ears, you would be okay with it and it wouldn’t be subjective, right?

          • So if he gushed and said it was amazing and bliss to the ears, you would be okay with it and it wouldn’t be subjective, right?

          • Haha! well played, dude. I really don’t know, it would depend on how detached of personal taste and feelings sounds. I can see myself liking one review like the one you said, but in the end it still not a good one. I think that in order to do a good review, the reviewer must not like or dislike too much the object reviewed.

          • Bottom line is that he didn’t like it. It’s his opinion. You don’t like it, respect it.

        • It is my opinion that the readers of this site want my opinion on music that is released. By reviewing records that aren’t good or that I don’t like I give listeners an ability to gauge my taste with their own.

          As to critical acclaim: literally everything is critically acclaimed. I’m not aware of a record that has not received universal critical acclaim recently. Occasionally magazines beat up on low hanging fruit, but when Amon Amarth or Opeth or whomever release a shitty record the whole reviewing world throws their hands up in unison and yells “brilliant!” Only when a band has obviously and gravely violated the norms of the scene (Metallica, Morbid Angel) does the reviewing establishment turn on them. But even those bands receive kids gloves from big print mags.

          • You have an opinion.  I don’t think reviews should be unbiased, doesn’t that kind of defeat the point.  
            I get it, you think my band sucks, that’s fair, it’s just music, we can still be friends though haha!

          • No, I think your songwriting is too cluttered and your vocalist is annoying. I don’t think I ever implied that talent was lacking.. haha. :P 

    • I point y

    • Also, I know you like to think that you’re “right” and that only “brilliant” people listen to this stuff, but maybe it would be wise to invest less of your self esteem in your music choices. This review isn’t about you and your taste in music or intellectual capacity anymore than it is about whether I’m a musician (I am), a smart person or whatever else.

      This review is about my opinion on the new Periphery album, which isn’t very good because while the band is talented, the songwriting is weak.

      One final important point: think about what you’re saying when you call me biased. You’re saying that because I don’t agree with your OPINION about periphery, I am NOT OBJECTIVE. Is that even logical?

  • The only thing that I would like to say is that there is literally no pitch-correction  or anything done to the vocals throughout the whole album except for some background harmonies providing chord structures for some of the songs. Other than that, all of the lead vocals that you hear are completely raw, screams and singing. I see where you are coming from in this review, but just wanted to point out that fact. 

    • I didn’t claim it was auto-tuned, though. Just filtered. ProTools is used for so much more than tuning. It helps get the clinical cleanness that so many find offensive.

      • Just wanted to chime in here to clear this up:
        Filtering in the engineering world means eq work, which is present on every recording for the sake of making frequencies not clash.  If you are saying there is a high pass on the vocals, well there is, because there is no useful information in the lower frequencies, and that clashes with the kick drum and the bass.  But that is pretty standard fare for any professional recording.
        I am not entirely sure what you mean by filtering, because on the album the signal chain was Manley Reference Cardioid -> Brett Averil Preamp -> Compression (we used different ones on different songs) -> Reverb/Delay.  Which again is pretty standard fare.  There are certain bits that have more effects for…effect haha, but most of the time it is pretty raw.

        There is some pitch correction on the harmonies/layers because they gives them almost a chorusing kind of effect against the raw vocals, but the main lines are raw, no pitch or time correction of any kind!

        • Well, I’m talking about the kind of high power compression and stuff that is done with vocals. I assume that most vocals are tuned these days, but I never really criticize bands for it. Though, frankly, I wouldn’t like Spencer’s vocals at all, because I find his tone to be kind of offensive. He’s way too Blink 182 for me. 

          I think it’s important to remember that not everyone—including myself—appreciates the very clean tone that a lot of modern metal records have. All the guitar re-amping, the drum replacement and the highly compressed and filtered vocals leads to a sound that isn’t really super pleasing because it often feels like it lacks energy and the kind of live punch. (Oh, also, it tends to lack ANY punch because it’s so compressed in the mastering process, but that’s not usually something the band has control over.)

          I am not a production expert by any means (I’m a novice at best), but I have a general sense of how the technology works and while I don’t hold good production against bands, I do hold certain production choices against bands because it affects the whole record’s sound.

  • I find everyone stating this review sucks, very narrowminded. And saying Periphery = Bliss!?! periphery is bliss? periphery is not and not meant to be bliss looking at te name.

    Good review as always! This site has a great and well constructed taste in music :)

  • some of the comments below… that’s why I hate acritical fanboys

    their favourite band MUST be the best, always, ever, and stating the opposite, or even having a mild opinion of the aforementioned group is WRONG. the same goes for a genre, be it djent, metalcore, melodeath

    people, please, wake up! broaden your musical horizon, listen to different music, stop hero-worshipping your favourite and bashing whoever thinks different. AMG didn’t like this record, stating consistent reasons for his opinion and broadly motivating his judgement. why can’t you accept someone else’s opinion? why your own opinion can’t be questioned?

    musical likings are personal, and a review obviously reflect a personal vision on the reviewed material. learn to accept someone else’s opinion. else, not only the metal scene, but the whole society is doomed

  • Thank which ever force brought this site to my attention!!! 
    I have a friend that idolizes this band and I’ve been trying so hard to express my point of view on this band without being completely shot down upon uttering a single word on the topic. I try to bring across my opinion that they are by no stretch of the imagination bad musicians (and I never will until I can play what they do with maximum ease) but I really can’t find any songs on this album that grasp me as being amazingly well written. As a matter of fact, nothing on this album truly grasps me unless I transform into a total instrumentalist and start babbling off about how awesome a couple of riffs are well played and technical (and even if that’s the case, I can point out a couple of riffs from a list of about a billion bands that are better, more technical, awesomely written and flow perfectly with the music raging from anything such as Rhapsody of Fire to The Faceless to Animals as Leaders and to, of course, Opeth). This review helps prove that it’s only a select group of fanboys that will have a baby over this album. The vocals are nothing special, you find FAR SUPERIOR guttural to clean transitions in bands such as Opeth (and even Mastodon I rate) and instrumentally non of this album really grasps me, a riff can be technical and superior in that sense to most, but if you’re relaxing studying or watching TV and that riff doesn’t come into your mind at all, you know there’s nothing special there.
    All these arguments in the comments about how amazing this album is and how incorrect AMG is has lead me to a less-than-shocking and somewhat obvious conclusion. Generic Djent is identical to sub-genres such as Deathcore. The fans of it now, will probably only enjoy it for between six months and 2 years before leaving their collection to waste away, but till then, they’ll futilely defend it till they begin to crap lava. AMG, awesome review!
    Faggy fan-boys, get over it, its just an opinion (a brilliant one at that).

  • hiii

    • Hi! Thanks for reading! Sorry I don’t like your band, but you’re a fantastic guitarist. :)

      • Thanks dude, but no worries!  We appreciate people talking, and you seem to have sparked up a bunch of debate which is great, that always does us some good (we tend to be a very polarizing band for some reason).
        Our first album got generally worse reviews and worked wonders for our career, so at this point i would rather see a bad review than not see a review at all! Thanks again!

  • Way too much chug for a proper Cynic or Opeth comparison, IMO. Maybe Gojira, but Gojira also lends itself towards more chug than I like. They’re not “djent,” but they have a lot of that specific high-gain, palm-muted chug.

    • There is a certain amount of chug, I won’t argue that, but half of the album is melodic clean stuff more associated with Karnivool than anything extremely heavy, and the metal parts are more technical death metal than anything else.

      I wish I had discovered the album last year, because it would have placed highly on my year-end list.

  • Kyle McDonald

    Regardless of how “objective” or well-written this review may or may not have been, you spawned some of the most interesting conversations that I have read on this site, and I think a lot of us are interested in what others think.  Good job AMG!

  • Wow, I never imagined Misha to come here and say thanks instead of flaming. Sir, you just earned 50 Respect Points with me.

  • Don’t hear the Meshuggah worship on the album … weird you mention it. There are a few Djenty parts on the album and they’re signature Periphery in terms of the style of song-writing. To be called ‘worship’ is akin to talking out of your arse – the new Veil Of Maya album for example is a total Meshuggah worship band with actual rip-off riffs. Periphery sound pretty massive live too, it’s not that hard to imagine AMG. Bands of today like Nile or Fleshgod Apocalypse use samples or intros before/ after their songs, but I guess that’s ok because they aren’t Periphery? 

    • Yeah, Veil of Maya is also total Meshuggah worship. And I said that the riffs were. Also, I didn’t say that samples and intros were bad. I said that they were awkward. And other bands use them poorly also. No contest, samples and intros are super overused and a stupid metal trend.

  • I was trying to be balanced with this comment but fuck it, this band is horrible. It’s metalcore vocals meeting badly written Meshuggah songs. It’s not a combo that works at all.

  • i can’t agree more about the songwriting. anyone can play, but it takes a true artist to put incredible riffs together into a well though-out song that tells a story, not just slams them together to impress people. that’s why i love Corelia so much. not only are their riffs incredible and unique, but there song writing turns the whole album into a genuine work of art

  • Interesting discussion. Haven’t heard this album yet, but I’m sure I eventually will, as I’m a huge fan of Bulb. I think his band blows though. Their vocalist renders them unlistenable. They know this, too. That’s why they released an *instrumental* version of their first album on iTunes. I’ve got it and I think it’s pretty freakin’ cool. It makes the world a better place by providing a quick solution to an irritating problem. Much less hassle than hunting down the pre-atrocity Sony CD of Blizzard of Ozz or making your own Frankenstein remix of …And Justice for All in the interest of Justice for Jason. Probably shouldn’t go into the details on how to go about that last trick in this here venue, but that rock band Metallica sure has a hell of a guitar hero in Kirk Hammett! Here’s hoping for a singer-free Periphery in 2013. Just think: split the money with fewer people, more room on the tour bus…

  • I have nothing but respect for Periphery and I always will. I was hooked all the way back in the Bulb days.. I just can’t get past the vocals though. This album was less than spectacular.

    With that being said however, if that’s what makes the band work, and that’s the sound they want, all the more power to them! Keep on truckin’ on.