Periphery’s self-titled debut long play record was, quite frankly, a game-changer. While the band was not the first to utilize the poly-rhythmic “djent” style of progressive metal, but there is little question that the band’s debut opened the floodgates and ushered in a new breed of followers. The most significant issue with the first album was, of course, the divisive vocals of Spencer Sotelo, and to answer his critics, Spencer opted to shun Auto-Tune for a rawer and more direct vocal approach. Thankfully, the results are much better, as it is clear he was more involved in songwriting this time around. The vocal lines are not yet perfect, as it feels like Spencer is just doing his own thing from time to time, but he has certainly stepped up his game and taken the criticisms personally. “Scarlet” is a great example of this, as both the guitar and vocal melodies merge to create arguably the catchiest track Periphery has yet to release. However, one aspect that is missing on this second go-round is the immediacy of the riffs. I had labeled the band PerRIFFery, as most of Misha’s riffs are absolutely stellar; the opening of “Icarus Lives!” might be one of the best riffs of the past five years. For some reason, those immediately head-banging riffs are on shorter supply with this release. In their place are a heightened use of guitar melodies, guitar solos, and atmospheric playing. It could be argued that the band lost its most endearing element, but tightened the other elements accordingly. Also, for those that love the PeRIFFery of old, there is “MAKE TOTAL DESTORY” that sounds like it would have fit quite well on the band’s debut. These fine gentlemen are also quite giving, as this album gifts sixty-nine minutes of music to the listener. While too much of a good thing is rarely a good thing, too much of a great thing is still a great thing, as the band has written some of its best material to date. Nearly every song on the album is a highlight, but “Froggin Bullfish” may be the statement the band was dying to make: it finds the band at its heaviest, most intricate, and most melodic at the same time, and it really is a treat to listen to. While the album title should be taken in jest, Periphery has clearly taken its role in modern progressive metal seriously, releasing its best work yet and cementing its place among the best in the business. – by Nicholas Senior
>> Classification: Comeback Progressive Metal
>> Recommended Tracks: “Scarlet”, “Froggin Bullfish”, “Have a Blast”
>> In Conclusion: The kings of the pseudo-subgenre “djent” are back and better than ever. While the immediacy of the riffs are somewhat lacking, this is the epitome of a “grower” record, as it gets better with every listen.