Periphery II: This Time It's Personal review by Periphery

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  • Released: Jul 3, 2012
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (291 votes)
Periphery: Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
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Sound — 10
Hot damn. For anyone who enjoyed Periphery's first full length album, "Periphery", this album is a huge step up, or at least in my opinion, and here's why! First of all, let's be honest, lots and lots of metal fans out there love an eerie, atmospheric intro or build up track to an album! It helps set a mood for the album and gives you an idea of how the rest of the album is going to follow on. The track in question on this album is "Muramasa", and is certainly one for my favourites! It is a song in itself of course, and not strictly an introduction, but the start of it certainly has that epic synthetic build up that adds tension and atmosphere. Brilliant song, that flows fantastically well throughout itself and into the next track! For anyone reading this who counts themselves as a fan of the combination of metal and synthesisers/keyboards... You're in for a treat! There are tons of loops behind the instrumental sections that almost seem to mimic the guitars, especially behind any reverb as hell lead parts! Something I should certainly comment on is the mixing and overall production of this album! Which can be simply summed up with, "Wow". The guitars retain their heaviness yet are as clear as day when trying to work out the notes. The vocals are brilliantly performed and mixed with the other instruments, so that they're all at a nice equal sounding volume. Amazingly well produced and performed album I must say, 10/10 here!

Lyrics — 9
I can't really comment on the lyrics as I don't know any just yet, however they flow beautifully with th music, whatever they are! You can work out the odd passage here and there, such as "can you silence your opinion of the...", which is enough for me, as I like an album that you have to listen to once or twice to get the lyrics and passages down by memory! Speaking of singer skills, I instantly rate 9/10! Great vocalist, with a brilliant voice when harsh or clean! Live and studio, he can pull it off and deliver a great performance, in which you can hear the emotion and effort put into it! I give 9 instead of 10 however because as much as it's fantastic, I prefer (personally), slightly more melodic death metal style of vocals! But if you're more into djent, then your problems won't exist here!

Overall Impression — 9
It certainly compares to the last album and in my opinion, surpasses it technically, emotionally, instrumentally, etc etc... The guitar and bass parts as just as hugely complicated and inspiring, with brilliant simplistic grooves between the insanely complex tapping sections! The drums are just what they need to be! Not over progressive nor under! They fit the patterns of the music fantastically and bring a nice feel to it! Much easier and nicer to listen to than blast beats behind some angry brutal death metal! Vocals are just as wonderful as the first album, even though a different vocalist! Lots of nice echoey clean parts over the choruses and bridges, with insanely well pulled off harsh sections over some of the verses and other bridges! Great vocalist! So far, my favourite songs from the album have to be "Muramasa", "Ji" and "Have A Blast"! They all seem to perfectly blend atmospheric, clean, almost tranquil sounding parts with the harsh, deep, chugging parts without leaving a confused expression on your face, only a smile! There's absolutely nothing I hate about this album, it's just not as high up as some of my all time favourites, but it's definitely getting there already! I love pretty much everything! Cool artwork, brilliant production, crazy guitar solos, fair price too! If it were stolen or loss, I'd certainly buy it again! Well worth the money you pay! 10 for a nifty folding case and bonus tracks! Highly recommend his! Definitely considering it an album of the year for me! Have fun djenting!

54 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Anchr
    Erised is, immho, by far the best track on the album. Petrucci's solo absolutely kills. I get goosebumps every time the first chord settles in.
    Dylan6998
    I sat down and listened to their first record the whole way through while I finished downloading II. With those songs fresh in my mind, I switched over to II as soon as it finished downloading. It started off hopeful with Muramasa. If anything, you can always count on Periphery to come up with a decent album opener. After that however, the whole thing got super bland. I know that it's been less than 24 hours since I first listened to it, but the handful of standout songs (translation: songs that make me stop what I'm doing and pay attention to the track. that this could be my new favorite track kind of feeling) couldnt make up for the overall repetition of the same song structure. Sure the vocal have gotten a lot stronger, sure the guitars are still just as incendiary and heavy, sure the drumming is tight but not overbearing but still, the band relies heavy on the same basic riff-different riff-chorus over palm mutes-riff #1 riff #2 repeat sort of structure. Even with these excellent ingredients, the band still managed to just all play their instruments at mach speed for 14 songs, sprinkled with occasional, albeit rare, moments of pure djent-metal bliss. Ji comes to mind, Masamune is up there, so is Ragnarok, but out of 14 well-crafted, well-mixed and well produced songs, the fact that I can only remember 3-4 standout riffs is troubling. Unlike a lot of the comments here, upon first listen, I feel that the band is pulling away from their pop-y elements. Id argue that the music is a lot less happy sounding and a lot more dark and mature sounding. Gone are the sophomoric song titles and upbeat rhythms. In my opinion, their sort of tongue-and-cheek humor contributed to their songwriting as well. Songs would take unexpected turns, random samples, fills and riffs or loops would weave in and out, and then theres Ragtime Dandy who could forget Ragtime Dandy Overall, my initial impression is that I maybe just listened to one long, 69-minute song with 13 sort breaks. Its a great album as a whole, something worth sitting back, throwing the headphone son and experiencing a sonic explosion of notes and beats, definitely a progression and tightening of the sound, but the lack of standout tracks or peak moments is discouraging. Periphery took over an hour explaining to you how serious they are about their music, trouble is, some of us were only here to laugh at some track titles and be blown away by guitar geometry before we go back to listening to Cloudkicker. If I wanted dark and brooding song titles and bleak album covers. Id go listen to Meshuggah. BTW, that wasnt a djent comparison, simply an everyone else is kind of faking their badassness except for Meshuggah comparison. Happy listening! Ive got a feeling my opinion will be very different after a montho or so of listening. These kinds of albums, packed so tightly with ideas and sections, often take time to unpack. Im starting to remember similar feelings upon hearing their debut for the first time. It too sounded like one long song, albeit with some roller coaster twists and turns. Perhaps II will take somemore time to become personal.
    playtrip
    I liked this album alot, it really has no weak moments for me. It's a really refreshing album to listen to after having listened to all those generic bands out there these days. I'm giving this album a solid 9 maybe even a 10.
    Breakingpoint56
    I will never understand why so many metal heads have to be snobby about the way metal is done and its true guys. Admit it. You're snobby as **** and it comes through with these. I like heavy. Heavy is great. But spencers clean vocals would be wasted if they weren't on the record. People confuse pop with bubble gum pop which was in the vein of boy bands and justin beiber. Alot of popular music has clean vocals and its not so bad to have them to appeal to a wider audience. When I started listening to metal, I hated it. I did. But then I heard KSE and ATR with their clean vocals, I saw/heard the balance and it was beautiful. Periphery does that excellently here. It doesn't have to be brutal to be powerful. The lyrics can really reach out and grab you and you can feel it infiltrate parts of your life that your dealing with. That has the makings of a good record to me.
    courageous93
    I really enjoyed it, and though I loved Spencer's MASSIVELY improved vocals, I thought he was all over the place. However, I recently listened to the album with the lyrics in front of me, and he's a thoughtful and inspiring lyricist. I give this album a solid 9/10. Very much looking forward to what the 'Riffery do next.
    theflyingapple
    Seems like this reviewer hasn't listened to the whole album.. His fav tracks are of the first four, hasn't listened to the lyrics and frankly is quite biased. Next time, let the music settle in a bit, then write the review.
    bassisfun
    After I learned that Spencer wrote all of Facepalm Mute (music, lyrics, melody) I gained so much more respect for him. Hell, everybody in this band is leagues beyond other songwriters.
    !Mike!
    JustlikeHolden wrote: All they have is just, bwowwwunow, bwoww duhguhduhduguhdooowww, weeenidlle weeenlediddlee.
    i got the reference!!
    pyrochaotix
    "Vocals are just as wonderful as the first album, even though a different vocalist!" haha its still spencer man, he just really stepped up his game for this album. he's a beast of a vocalist!
    JB95
    I like what I have heared from the album, but honestly you can't rate the lyrics at all if you haven't read them. Way too early to make a review for you. And btw:
    I prefer (personally), slightly more melodic death metal style of vocals!
    wtf
    Astyan
    Djent is NOT a genre. NOT a genre. I'll quote Misha Mansoor himself: "I was looking for gear that was djenty. I was like: Are these pickups djenty? For some reason it caught on, but completely in the wrong way, because people think it's a style of music and they think it's a style of music I play." Djent. Yep. NOT A GENRE. Goddammit.
    Aays
    Huge improvement. Review sounds a bit fanboyish with lots! of! exclamation! marks! But I love the shit out of this album. Props to Misha and co.
    ProgJazzMath
    EpiExplorer wrote: Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click.
    You are literally fishing for hate comments bro. This comment was composed for that sole reason. The part where you say it was directed at 5 year olds doesn't even make any sense. You should have elaborated on why you think that. If you think this album sounds like a generic pop record, you must have not listened to it at all and it's technical because it's progressive metal.
    Syphoid
    Pol-Pot-Smoker wrote: Read "djent" and stopped. Can't stand guitar chugga-chugga metal.
    This album is actually a lot less 'djenty' than their other stuff, which makes it a lot better imo.
    stormtrooper887
    Their soloing, has definitely improved and Sponce's vocals are amazing. Can't wait to see them at Sherperds Bush in a few months time
    Mr Winters
    There are some awesome songs on this album, but overall I fell it's kind of too poppy. I'd give it a 7 Anyone else thinks Spencer sounds like the guy from Protest The Hero at times?
    Roran109
    I tend to keep an open mind about clean vocals in metal. You have people saying that Spencer sounds like a whiny kid or the songs sound too happy or poppy, but I honestly think that his clean singing is soulful and cathartic. If you read the lyrics, he's singing about the usual metal themes, rather than the standard love and 'let's go clubbing' themes that mainstream music orbits around. However the vox sound, it doesn't matter to me; as long as they're skilled in in their style and the lyrics actually have depth.
    shredder3386
    Such an amazing and fresh record. I love how anything with "electronic" aspects and good choruses is labelled as "pop" and then dismissed. People whine for originality, and when a band tries to do something different people scream "**** this pop shit." Lets all just listen to generic chugging and cookie monster growls for all eternity instead, because im sure that shit doesnt get old either. Anyway the music is great, and I am way more impressed with Spencer's vocals this time. Its like he is channeling Corey Taylor or something.
    Breakingpoint56
    EyesWideOpen wrote: Breakingpoint56 wrote: I will never understand why so many metal heads have to be snobby about the way metal is done and its true guys. Admit it. You're snobby as **** and it comes through with these. I like heavy. Heavy is great. But spencers clean vocals would be wasted if they weren't on the record. People confuse pop with bubble gum pop which was in the vein of boy bands and justin beiber. Alot of popular music has clean vocals and its not so bad to have them to appeal to a wider audience. When I started listening to metal, I hated it. I did. But then I heard KSE and ATR with their clean vocals, I saw/heard the balance and it was beautiful. Periphery does that excellently here. It doesn't have to be brutal to be powerful. The lyrics can really reach out and grab you and you can feel it infiltrate parts of your life that your dealing with. That has the makings of a good record to me. I love clean vocals as well. Just not these ones. Just because someone dislikes a band that you like doesn't make them a snob, or ignorant or anything of the sort. That's an incredibly arrogant position.
    Its not because someone dislikes a band I like, its why they dislike it. And its always for the same reasons. "It's too poppy. It doesn't make me want to slice a kitten open with my dick. Daddy didn't hug me enough." Its always the same shit. Nobody can just enjoy music. It has to be twisted to their exact liking or they throw a fit over it. Metalheads just do it more than others that I've seen.
    sonicx2218
    Great album, everything is just so much tighter than in their past releases. Vocals are the best they've been too.
    purplexing
    EyesWideOpen wrote: The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click. Instrumentally they are a decent band to listen to but they have one of the most awful vocalists of all time. Just sounds like a whiney angsty teen. So bad...
    To tell you the truth, IMO the vocalist is the best member. I'm tired of all this new metal bands screaming 90% and singing only 10% of the time.
    EpiExplorer wrote: Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click.
    lolololol every time I read a music review in UG, this guy is being a hater. He doesn't understand that music taste is opinion and not fact. If people like certain types of music, even if it's Beiber, it's just an opinion and people shouldn't be so hateful.
    nt42
    (
    EpiExplorer wrote: Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click.
    Apart from saying that I do like this new approach on metal, I'll counter your comment with these: I what bothers you id the silly nonsensical song titles, then know that many or most of these were MM's songs from when he produced music himself as Bulb, whne he didn't really give f*ck about titles. If the music/vocal style seems happy to you, then I call that same sound Innovative. In other words: If I listen to another generic metal song written in a straight minor scale by a band with a "cool" name and a "heavy" song title (e.g. "Oblivium/ia - Hands of Darkness") I'll blow my brains off.
    gman128
    anvil is god wrote: Dat fanboy review. Decent album, but their is much much better djent to be had.
    Like Koloss by Meshuggah - I wouldn't really call that djent, but that album kills it!
    Octavarium86
    Instrumentally they are a decent band to listen to but they have one of the most awful vocalists of all time. Just sounds like a whiney angsty teen. So bad...
    You clearly haven't listened to the new album.
    Astyan
    And since exasperation made me forget the second half of my message: not really my cup of tea, but these guys are talented and it's definitely a step up from their previous effort. Good album.
    GazzaCee
    Dude, less exclamation marks. Hopefully it's better than the first record.
    NightBladeXx
    This album is freakin' awesome and you're blind if you can't see the genius in it. Sure the vocals may not be everyone's cup of tea, but everything is else is grand.
    Raven_Flight
    They now sound like a heavier Protest The Hero. Not a bad thing though, the record is ok.
    GuitarGod610
    I was a big fan of the first Periphery album, partly because the music was great, and partly because they gave you the option of purchasing the one without vocals. That said, there is no such option for Periphery II...yet. I know it's an opinion, but the vocals just ruin it for me. This album is a lot harder to enjoy because of it, so I'll be sticking with the first one.
    Dat fanboy review. Decent album, but their is much much better djent to be had.
    Like Koloss by Meshuggah - I wouldn't really call that djent, but that album kills it!
    Any album by Meshuggah is better than this one. Literally. Any of them.
    FlyingPirahna
    I pre-ordered the album and am waiting on the mailman as usual, but one question...does this album have more variation than the first? I can rarely get through the whole thing in one go because it gets quite repetitive, but the songs are great on their own.
    LightxGrenade
    Listened to this album on repeat for a while now. I'd give it a solid 7/10. Spencer's vocals are cool but - just like it took me a while to get use to Rody Walker's vocals when I first started listening to Protest the Hero - it takes a while to grow on you. Because there's quite a bit going on with the music almost every song takes multiple listens to truly "know" the song. In the end I see this as a very good effort. Not some legendary metal album but a very good album nonetheless
    EpiExplorer
    purplexing wrote: EyesWideOpen wrote: The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click. Instrumentally they are a decent band to listen to but they have one of the most awful vocalists of all time. Just sounds like a whiney angsty teen. So bad... To tell you the truth, IMO the vocalist is the best member. I'm tired of all this new metal bands screaming 90% and singing only 10% of the time. EpiExplorer wrote: Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click. lolololol every time I read a music review in UG, this guy is being a hater. He doesn't understand that music taste is opinion and not fact. If people like certain types of music, even if it's Beiber, it's just an opinion and people shouldn't be so hateful.
    I think you've confused yourself a bit there. My opinion is an opinion, so, okay, you've established that for yourself. But then you say that I think its fact, when I know its an opinion. It gets downvoted because its an opinion that people take a hard time swallowing on first read (like you), and even then, they have no need to agree. Also, whatever it was you said was the typical youtube response comment to anything that you dont agree with/feel the need to pointlessly defend. Something along the lines of 'OMGZ H8RZ'. Its not like Periphery are going home with hurt feelings because one person thinks their music is crap.
    The Spoon
    I gotta say, the only thing that makes me go meh about the record is how poppy some of the choruses sound. It's not that it's bad, but you really could take those sections out and put them on some alternative rock CD and they would fit. Another thing is that everything they did to Have A Blast beyond the two mintues seems out of place to me. Maybe i'll get used to it, but it doesn't sound like it fits all that well. What also bugs me is that Spencer improved greatly with his screams, but he's doing less of those now. I would've liked a song more in the vein of The Walk instead of Erised on the album. Plenty about this album is good though. I like how it flows. There is still a lot of cool guitarwork. The songs feel like the vocals and instrumentals were written together, which is pretty cool. Those are first impressions. I still have to really let it settle in.
    EyesWideOpen
    EpiExplorer wrote: Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click.
    Instrumentally they are a decent band to listen to but they have one of the most awful vocalists of all time. Just sounds like a whiney angsty teen. So bad...
    EpiExplorer
    Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click.
    shadowspy
    The second part of Luck as a constant is really epic. I recommend this track. Also, Have a blast will surely give you a blast.
    EpiExplorer
    nt42 wrote: (EpiExplorer wrote: Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click. Apart from saying that I do like this new approach on metal, I'll counter your comment with these: I what bothers you id the silly nonsensical song titles, then know that many or most of these were MM's songs from when he produced music himself as Bulb, whne he didn't really give f*ck about titles. If the music/vocal style seems happy to you, then I call that same sound Innovative. In other words: If I listen to another generic metal song written in a straight minor scale by a band with a "cool" name and a "heavy" song title (e.g. "Oblivium/ia - Hands of Darkness") I'll blow my brains off.
    Its not innovative. Its been around for a decade at least, just in an unreleased CD format. Yes, the song titles are very stupid, but that'd be no reason to not listen to them. I JUST DONT LIKE THE MUSIC, IT SOUNDS PLASTIC AND OVERRATED, ALONG WITH A BUNCH OF OTHER STUFF.
    xicetraex
    EpiExplorer wrote: Okay, I know the fanboys will be all over this one (and over me, but I just have that amazing animal magnetism), but this album and everything about it feels like its directed at 5 year olds. The music has an awful feeling of forced happiness, like a generic pop record and the counterbalance of technical playing for the sake of it really doesn't click.
    Dude, my feelings on Periphery exactly.
    EyesWideOpen
    Breakingpoint56 wrote: I will never understand why so many metal heads have to be snobby about the way metal is done and its true guys. Admit it. You're snobby as **** and it comes through with these. I like heavy. Heavy is great. But spencers clean vocals would be wasted if they weren't on the record. People confuse pop with bubble gum pop which was in the vein of boy bands and justin beiber. Alot of popular music has clean vocals and its not so bad to have them to appeal to a wider audience. When I started listening to metal, I hated it. I did. But then I heard KSE and ATR with their clean vocals, I saw/heard the balance and it was beautiful. Periphery does that excellently here. It doesn't have to be brutal to be powerful. The lyrics can really reach out and grab you and you can feel it infiltrate parts of your life that your dealing with. That has the makings of a good record to me.
    I love clean vocals as well. Just not these ones. Just because someone dislikes a band that you like doesn't make them a snob, or ignorant or anything of the sort. That's an incredibly arrogant position.
    silly hats
    It only really comes across as Musiciancore to me, no one else really cares about it and there's nothing wrong with that by anymeans... I thought that the first album was about okay, this had a few songs but I am not a massive fan of squeaky, sterile clean productions or guitar tones. Hipster, snob, whatever.