Ladies and Gents, it is not often that you hear a CD that immediately affects you in ways that few others have. There seems to have been some internet hype over the past few years on this band and I for one was not privy to this hype. But I am here to proclaim that the future of Metal is here and their name is…. PERIPHERY! Hailing from Bethesda, Maryland, Periphery's self titled release (Sumerian Records) is without a doubt the best, and sickest record that I have heard since Meshuggah's 1998 record Chaosphere, and for me the best debut since the far overlooked, 2001 New Killer America from Florida band Skrape (who's drummer Will Hunt, is now a member of Black Label Society)! Kids, this is NOW the Metal record to beat for 2010!
Periphery is made up of Misha "Bulb" Mansoor- guitars, Alex Bois-guitars, Spencer Sotelo-vocals, Tom Murphy-bass, Matt Halpern-drums, Jake Bowen-guitars, and this seems to be the most stable lineup so far for the band that formed in 2005. Five members have come and gone within this time and the current line up seems to have wasted no time. This self titled CD has 12 songs and on iTunes they have come up with a quite interesting idea; they offer 2 different versions for download. The full CD version with 2 extra songs and an Instrumental version of the record!! I don't think I've seen that before and it is a very cool idea. So you can pick from the physical CD version or 2 download versions. There is something for everyone.
The CD leads off with the song "Insomnia", a flurry of punches to the solar plexus and a head butt to the cranium. The Meshuggah influences cascade over you like a ball of fire, but they are NOT a rip off at all. Periphery takes this to a different place, but all the while defining a new chapter of metal which I call "Psycho Metal". It's not just Math Metal. It's not just Extreme Metal. It's not just, and I hate using this term, Death Metal. This is a seriously scary hybrid form of Metal. Take a huge slice of the Mighty Meshuggah, a piece of the Melodic Metal that Sevendust brings to the table with a dash of Dillinger Escape Plan and a part of a Bury Your Dead and you're beginning to get the idea. This is the type of CD that will not leave your player for weeks at a time, it sheds!! There is NOT a "fluff" track among these 12 and in fact you will find yourself listening to all 12 as a whole, over and over. There is beauty within brutality.
Tracks like "The Walk" and "Letter Experiment" just simply kill. Syncopated poly rhythms between the drums and guitars are the signature of Periphery, and while Meshuggah pretty much invented this in Metal form, Periphery have taken this idea and added melody to the mix as well. In the "Letter Experiment" they bludgeon you about the face and neck with such a muscular riff and then break it down with a beautiful and sweeping chorus. And the first single and video from the record, "Icarus Lives" is a perfect example of the power and melody that Periphery exudes. With the lyrics, "I'm neither Angel nor a demon spawn, though some will call me god" the hookiness of this chorus WILL get stuck in your head, as well as conquering up images of Iron Maiden's "Flight of Icarus". The musical dexterity of this band is nothing short of jaw dropping, there is so much going on at any given moment and you will find yourself not being able to get enough of if. The angular guitar riffing is completely hypnotic and addicting in all of its 7 string detuned glory. Songs like "Jetpack Was Yes" show the depth of the band. Sound effects abound and with that afore mentioned Sevendust melodic feel to it, this could easily be a top charting Rock song at radio. Just heavy enough, while still having a huge melody underneath, this could be a big some for the band. Other instant classics are "Light" with its heavy staccato delivery throughout and searing vocals.
The vocals are another thing that helps set Periphery apart from other bands in the heavy genre. Songs like "All New Materials" and "Buttersnips" allow singer Spencer Sotelo to total shine. Being able to go between clean passionately sung vocal passages and dirty and screaming rants totally works. And add in the TREMENDOUS musical talent of this band, and you've got something really, really special. The triple guitar attack that Periphery is spewing is nothing short of a headbanging goodtime, full of pinch harmonics and squeals that would have the guys in Killswitch Engage raising the "DIO Horns" (m/). There is NOT a song on this record that won't get your head bobbing and the guitar work is just stellar. And as a friend of mine that turned on to the band said, "The guitar playing is awesome and it sounds like guitar solos are finally coming back, but I want more from these guys. The solos are too short!". Let's NOT forget the awe-inspiring drummer of Matt Halpern. This guy is a god damned robotic terror! If you could take parts Tomas Haake (Meshuggah), Will Hunt (Skrape, Dark New Day, Bloodsimple, Tommy Lee's Band, BLS) Morgan Rose (Sevendust) you would come up with Matt Halpern. Pure groove and technical expertise at the same time. Just a pure bad ass! You WILL be hearing about this guy for years to come, mark my words!! And the production of this record is also just spot on. Self produced by the band themselves and mixed and engineered by guitarist "Bulb" in "Bulb's Bedroom", this debut record sounds as good as the songs are. The drums are high in the mix which only over emphasizes the brutal drumming and makes the record heavy as hell. Great guitar sound (gotta love those Engl Amps!!), killer drums, sweet vocals and amazingly intricate and technically brilliant, as well as just great songs, Periphery will make it really difficult for you not to get aboard their ever increasing bandwagon.
Periphery are just very simply the best new band that I have heard in almost 10 years. The CD has yet to leave me, whether that be my CD player or my iPod, I just can't get enough of it and I doubt most of you either. There are special guests on the record as well. Über guitarist from Nevermore, Jeff Loomis, delivers a, for lack of a better term, a very Jeff Loomis type guitar solo on the epic 15 minute CD closer, "Racecar". Shredding goodness abounds. This is so far the best record of 2010 hands down. This has replaced Fear Factory's amazing Mechanize as the record to beat in the Metal realm, and I do not see this being beat by ANYONE, unless Meshuggah manages to put out something new by years end (of course their Alive CD/DVD is utter brilliant, but that doesn't count..lol). Periphery has dropped a 72 minute debut release that will make people sit up and listen. THIS is the type of record I have been waiting to hear since the already mentioned, Chaosphere. It is bombastic, full of grooves, mean, powerful, melodic with hooks and musically technical in ways that I have never heard before. It don't get much heavier than this, Kids! This is a masterpiece!
2. The Walk
3. Letter Experiment
4. Jetpacks Was Yes
5. All New Materials
7. Icarus Lives
8. Totla Lives
9. Ow My Feelings