The ’00s may not have seen too many positive developments in music and metal in particular, but a rising trend in metal has been the ‘djent’ scene, a particular style of math metal pioneered by Meshuggah’s palm-muted guitar work. One of the most popular bands in this style is the Maryland group Periphery, who had been promising a full-length debut to their fans for years before finally coming out with this self-titled debut. A very modern blend of metalcore and progressive influences, the album should certainly appeal to the ‘djentlemen’ that have so long awaited the release. Although the band’s first full-length feels as if it drags on for far too long without enough meat on its bones, the album is an expertly produced piece of progressive metal.
In regards to variety here, there is not much to go around, but Periphery do what they do particularly well. Rhythmic experimentation and a constant thirst for throwing the same few muted chords into as many different time signatures as possible is what much of the band’s music can be described as. There is more here to dig into however; additional mellow arrangements are layered overtop to give the music an ethereal quality to it, and the vocals of Spencer Sotelo are skilled, if anything. Through growls and clean vocals, the singer of this band can really belt out, and his modern style really makes me think that I’ll be hearing a lot more bands of this sound emerging in the next years.
The song writing is generally quite good, although the vocal hooks and melody can feel often drowned out by the more ‘djent’ and mathematic aspects of the music. Each musician here is rock-solid in the execution, but as an album that crosses over the seventy minute mark, it doesn’t feel like the band has the sound to make the journey consistently interesting. Instead, many of the songs sound quite alike as if treading the same territory of the one before it. That can really rob the album of its experimental flow, despite the album being an absolutely incredible listen if restricted to a few tracks.
Jetpacks Was Yes, Icarus Lives! and The Walk are all winners here, whether for their added rhythmic madness or stronger melodic hooks. One important thing to mention here is the incredible production of the album. With the exception of the drums (which sound rather mixed out and underwhelming) the album has a very ethereal and spacey sound that really takes Periphery a step above your typical mathcore act.
I cannot praise the great musicianship here enough, and as for song writing, there is plenty of potential. However, Periphery still needs to clip some fat off of their act before making the masterpiece fans have been hoping for.