Sound — 9
Periphery began as a solo recording project by multi-instrumentalist, Misha Mansoor, who initially shared his music online on sevenstring.org and other forums. This eventually led to a good deal of success, and resulted in Misha recruiting a full band to back him. While the lineup was initially very shaky, it has stayed fairly stable since the band's first release in 2010. Since that time only Mark Holcomb and Nolly Getgood have been added. Misha Mansoor is, of course, the only remaining founding member. "Juggernaut: Omega" is the second half of their third album, which is a double album (first is "Juggernaut: Alpha"). There are 7 tracks included on the album with a runtime of approximately 39 minutes.
The album opens up with "Reprise," which is a little less than a minute and a half and seems to set the mood for the second half of the album more than anything else. "The Bad Thing" is immediately my favorite track from "Juggernaut: Omega," because I enjoy it musically as well as how it uses both the clean and screamed vocals. I especially like the solo on this track. "Priestess" has an acoustic intro that is a slight change of pace for Periphery, and is probably one of their more "accessible" tracks I've heard before, especially for people new to the genre. There are still some heavy portions on the song, but not like the rest of the album. This is another track with a good solo. "Graveless" seems like it is trying to make up for the relatively calmer track, "Priestess," by being especially heavy. The vocals are screamed and intense even during the clean passages, with the backup vocals being growled screams. The second half of "Graveless," like some of the other tracks on this album, has passages that have strong electronic elements. "Hell Below" opens up pretty heavy, with "djent" style guitar going strong and intense screamed vocals. "Omega" is by far the longest track on the album, clocking in at just under 12 minutes, and opening with a piano intro. It quickly moves to heavy guitars and sounds more like what you would expect from Periphery. This is another track where the guitar solo does a lot to stand out to me. It has an almost Gilmour-ish vibe to it. "Juggernaut: Omega" closes out with "Stranger Things," which opens up as kind of psychedelic, and has a cool combination of clean vocals with heavy music. This is probably the track where Spencer Sotelo's clean vocals won me over. I was into the track by the time the screamed vocals came in.
Lyrics — 9
Spencer Sotelo is one of my favorite vocalists of the genre, with both a good screaming and clean voice. Mark Holcomb provides backing vocals. Pretty much everything I said about the vocals and lyrics from the review of "Juggernaut: Alpha" would remain true here, but I think I like the clean vocals a little more on this one, or else they've grown on me.
Here are some lyrics from my favorite track on the album, "The Bad Thing": "Sometimes there's a crack in the world that I can peer through/ And see it for what it really is/ There's an ugly face staring back at demons of everyone/ They draw the hatred from inside of me/ There were times at the top of the Earth that I wish that I could throw/ Everyone and everything/ Watch surrounding symphonies of the hypocrites/ Abating in the thought of it/ Severed dreams of all the weak - quenching thirst inside of me/ And the scream it holds the key - unlocking this for all to see/ Fly past the trees, ascend to holy air and breathe/ Far from the leaves, transcend these earthly boundaries/ Fly past the trees, ascend to holy air and breathe/ Far from the leaves, transcend the f--king boundaries/ And is it this desire that you're looking for/ Or is insanity is knocking at your door/ And give me just a peace and surely you will find/ Everything is better on the other side/ But can you look within and find what is in store/ This life is but a scream that has become your whore/ It's tearing a hole inside, you'll bury your life."
Overall Impression — 9
I've been thinking about which half of the double album I prefer, and I can't decide - when I listen to "Omega," I feel like that is my favorite half, but when I listen to "Alpha," then I feel like that is my favorite half. My favorite song from "Juggernaut: Omega" would be "The Bad Thing," but I enjoyed the rest of the album quite a bit - especially "Priestess" and "Stranger Things." I didn't dislike any songs on the album, and as a whole the "Juggernaut" double album is a strong release. As one of the first bands to make "djent" popular, they do a great job of not sounding cliché or stereotypical to the genre. I can't wait to hear more from Periphery in the future.