Periphery - Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
Sumerian Records
Djent/Progressive Metal
14 songs (69:00)
Release year: 2012
Sumerian Records
Reviewed by Leah

The rising popularity of the “Djent” genre has created a plethora of new bands, most of which hold to the bare standards of the genre and hit pure mediocrity in the meantime. Maryland’s Periphery is one of the more popular groups, releasing their first album Periphery in 2010. After the album’s release, the band’s fanbase grew immensely. Fans of standard Djent realized that Periphery was taking a step forward, meshing the chug-chug-chug of the genre with elements of Progressive Metal and a technicality that could only be demonstrated by having three guitarists in the band. Periphery became the leader of the new music craze.

With their second release, Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal, vocalist Spencer Sotelo gets free range with vocal melodies and a hand in the writing process. Periphery’s first release was initially recorded with their old vocalist Chris Barretto, and re-recorded last minute with Sotelo when Barretto left the band months before the album’s release. In Periphery II, there is definitely a noticeable difference between the vocal styles of both singers. In songs like Have a Blast, it’s an improvement, though in songs like The Gods Must Be Crazy! and Erised, the clean vocals may be a bit too much on the whiney side for some.

Periphery II is more fluid and cohesive than its predecessor. The band’s years touring and writing together since the release of their self-titled debut have definitely affected the chemistry and dynamics of their music-making. The second track on the album, Have a Blast, is a perfect blend of this chemistry; Sotelo’s different vocal style is apparent, and fits in perfectly with the same heaviness and technicality that Periphery is known for.

Songs like Facepalm Mute and Ji are the ones that really stick out from the rest on the album. Facepalm Mute features a heaviness that Periphery has fine-tuned and made their own, and Sotelo’s vocals are impressive additions that amplify the headbanging, moshing quality of the song. It’s good to see that even in all kinds of Metal, there can still be catchy, sing-along choruses that make fans want to jump around. Facepalm Mute ends with an ambient piano and guitar outro leading straight into Ji, which goes right back into the same heavy catchiness, but with a somewhat softer and more melodic direction. Sotelo really explores his vocal range and lets his voice go where it will, providing dream-like interludes from the harsh vocals and chug-chugs.

Periphery’s musical growth is apparent in this album, though some fans may not be entirely convinced that Sotelo’s style of clean vocals are the best direction for the band. There are songs in which he does a lot of unnecessary vocal runs, and they don’t add to the music as much as they stick out as too mainstream pop or showy. The band’s first album was more straightforward and heavy, rather than experimental and vocal-based. Nevertheless, Periphery’s progression into something different while still maintaining the elements that make them unique, in a genre that boasts a lot of copy-cat unoriginality, is something to be admired.

Killing Songs :
Ji, Luck as a Constant, Muramasa
Leah quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Periphery that we have reviewed:
Periphery - Periphery IV: HAIL STAN reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Periphery - Juggernaut Alpha and Omega reviewed by Joel and quoted 86 / 100
Periphery - Periphery reviewed by Crash and quoted 71 / 100
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