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

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  • Released: Jul 3, 2012
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.4 (291 votes)
Periphery: Periphery II: This Time It's Personal
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Sound — 10
"Periphery II: This Time It's Personal" is the 2nd LP by Maryland-based Progressive Metal band Periphery, popular among the internet for being half of the driving force behind the "djent" movement, the other half being Meshuggah. Let's get one thing out of the way now. Like Periphery or not, their production is fantastic. Thanks to Bulb (Misha Mansoor, the creator of Periphery)'s remarkable experience as a producer, this album sounds awesome. On certain songs, the grooves really "pop" thanks to the production ("Make Total Destroy", "Ji", "Face Palm Mute"). This album is full of variety. It begins with a quite epic intro track which, coming in at 2:55, is short and sweet ("Muramasa"). It takes inspiration from a variety of sources including classical music ("Have A Blast", "Froggin' Bullfish"), techno ("Have A Blast", "Ragnarok", "Epoch"), and even pop, especially in the vocals ("Ji", "Make Total Destroy", "Scarlet"). There is also/acoustic clean guitar parts on this LP as well ("Luck As A Constant", "Froggin' Bullfish"). It also helps that Periphery as a whole is a group of very talented musicians. There is a ballad type track near the end, similar to the band's previous song, "Jetpacks Was Yes" ("Erised"), next to an instrumental, ambient/techno track ("Epoch"), and the album ends on a strong note with an epic, 6 minute track ("Masamune"). Longtime fans need not worry either, Periphery are still metal. There are songs with heavy grooves ("Make Total Destroy", "Mile Zero", "Ji", "Face Palm Mute", "Ragnarok", "The Gods Must Be Crazy!"), songs with incredible death growls from vocalist Spencer Sotelo ("Luck As A Constant", "Ragnarok", "Have A Blast"), and songs with mind bending solos, from the lead guitarist (Misha Mansoor) and also guest guitarists such as Guthrie Govan ("Have A Blast"), John Petrucci ("Erised"), and Wes Hauch ("Mile Zero"). Overall, this album will not disappoint longtime fans of Periphery, and will offer a great music experience to newcomers thanks to this LP's incredible variety and style.

Lyrics — 10
Vocalist Spencer Sotelo was adamant about not using pitch corrected vocals at all on this LP, and it honestly sounds like he doesn't need them. Spencer sings cleanly with his own distinctive style, adding interesting flourishes to his voice, which sounds great. His vocals almost sound like a pop singer's (in a good way) ("Ji", "Scarlet", "Erised"), until he starts death growling and screaming. When Spencer growls, the growl is sharp and articulate but still crushingly brutal ("Luck As A Constant", "Make Total Destroy"). Lyrically, Spencer has many different topics on this LP to discuss, ranging from being stuck in a desert which he was deserted in, and is now absolutely pissed off about ("Ragnarok"), to simply feeling like he is being controlled ("Luck As A Constant", especially lines like "shut the f--k up and let us live a life we can call out own, leave me alone!"). Overall, Spencer's vocal abilities are greatly improved over the last release from "Periphery" ("Icarus" EP), and his varying lyrical topics always keep the songs interesting.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this album is a fantastic release. Periphery should gain many fans from this release, as it is easily their most accessable release yet, but it does not sacrifice what makes Periphery what it is at its core: groovy, progressive, djent-y metal. Personally, my favorite songs on this LP have heavy grooves throughout, with some breaks to calm things down ("Make Total Destroy", "Ji", "Masamune"), or are beautiful ballads with grooves in between sections ("Erised", "Muramasa"). My least favorite songs are "Epoch" (because while it does sound good, I personally don't like it and feel as if it is very out of place with the rest of the album), and "Scarlet" (I see the appeal in it, but Spencer's vocals seem slightly whiny on this song for some reason. It just doesn't sound right to me). Overall, this LP is AMAZING. I have loved Periphery since their self-titled LP and this is only making me like them more. Amazing drumming and guitar playing, perfectly crafted songs, and great vocals from Spencer Sotelo make "Periphery II: This Time It's Personal" a 10/10 in my book. Can't wait to get my pre-order CD!

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    7StringSir
    WOW. I Just threw away the past 5 minutes of my life reading these post, thinking people would actually have reasonable and logical opinions. I was very wrong. Guys arguing with each other is not going to change each other's opinion. That's fact. Another fact is these guys have more talent than the vast majority of metal out there. Regardless if you like them or not. I agree that Spencer is pitchy at times but the dude is still a very talented and soulful singer who has a brilliant message. If you don't like him then so what stop saying he's poppy. You want pop go listen to justin beiber. Now here is my educated opinion. As first listen this album is incredibly clustered but no great things come with ease. If you listen through a few times everything becomes clearer and if i may say so awesome. It actually made my eyes water a little. Every note falls in perfectly where it should be. If you listen to just the vocals you'll be missing out on ALOT. The bass and guitars hits hard and heavy then lifts you off your feet with their melodies. Some chords do get a bit repetitive though. The drums immediately snag you with their catchy bounce. If your into blast beats there are not a whole lot of those but the drums are still very technical. At their worst their a bit drowned out. Each song has incredible fluidity as a result of the solid mixing of these guys talents and ideas. As a whole album each song hits you about as hard as the last so there isn't a lot of recognizable "high points" but that doesn't mean this album doesn't take on a roller coaster ride. Last but not least the vocals while at times a bit pitchy they can be crushing harsh vocals but also beautiful cleans. All in all this album if ridiculously incredible and i'm totally in love with it. There, all you whiny kids can shut up and just state you FULL opinion not just rag on the vocal like i have. If not the just shut up and leave.
    ProgFripp74
    Pol-Pot-Smoker wrote: Read "djent" and stopped. Can't stand guitar chugga-chugga metal.
    Read comment, realised this guy hasn't actually listened to Periphery. Can't stand people who comment on things they know nothing about. -_-
    SIEGE312
    Personally, I think this album is fantastic, I'm more than impressed with Spencer's progress as a vocalist and especially as a singer. Granted, his range takes getting used to. As far as the pop feel of some of the songs goes, I think it's an interesting move, pairing the Djenty style with that vibe, but based on the first few listens, I kind of enjoy the juxtaposition. I think we'll be seeing a lot more from these guys in the future.
    Anchr
    @ DarkWolfXV review: Your review is exactly the reason I don't give reviews on genres like Death Metal: it's not my cup of tea, therefore my opinion is too biased to give a good review. I don't like the "whiny vocals", or clean vocals overall as it seems. You think the lyrics are about the wrong subject because as it seem you only like Death Metal lyrics, which by themselves are as bland as they come but w/e. Also thinking Death Metal is the only "true" metal, whilst claiming to have tried and be open minded is kind of hilarious, immho.
    nitro22
    The people, and when i say that i mean most of you "musicians", on this site who just LOVE to throw their pretentious opinions about how these guys should make they're music or how it sounds. Enough. It's so easy to criticize when you can't create right? Like one of the guys said up there, why don't we just listen to the same thing for eternity. Im surprised musicians can even make it these days when people love to shove their shitty opinions down everyone's throat about how this sucks or how "poppy" this sounds. I love metal but at the same time i hate it because of this shitty music community. You guys wanna bad mouth a group that REALLY sucks, go to a Asking Alexandria forum. They deserve flam wars for the terrible music.
    B3low3mpty
    I love this album. Spencer's vocals can either be sandpaper or they can soar over the layers of guitars. I do agree that this album has a lot of "pop" inside, but why cant metal be catchy? There is a lot of variety to this album and I 'm hard pressed to find a boring moment.
    iommi600
    Trends, trends come, and then pass away. In metal, we had glam metal, nu metal, metalcore, deathcore, and more recently, as you would call it "djent" or "progressive metal" if you prefer.
    All of my what.
    DarkWolfXV
    B3low3mpty wrote: I love this album. Spencer's vocals can either be sandpaper or they can soar over the layers of guitars. I do agree that this album has a lot of "pop" inside, but why cant metal be catchy? There is a lot of variety to this album and I 'm hard pressed to find a boring moment.
    This album is really average one, it sounds a lot like pop. Metal can be dcatchy, but its better when brutal, dark riffs are catchy, not popish vocals. Didnt find anything outstanding about this album either. Though, synth (ambient?) melodies were very good which is quite surprise.
    wedy1414
    the first album IS WAY BETTER. Straight up disappointed with this album. I am more disappointed with this album than Mars Volta's Noctourniquet.
    EyesWideOpen
    Octavarium86 wrote: 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.
    I listened to one of their new songs and the vocals are as bad if not worse. Guess you were wrong. But yeah it's much easier to dismiss people that disagree with you as ignorant isn't it.
    rob904
    EpiExplorer wrote: 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.
    two people
    Anchr
    Anchr wrote: "...I don't like the "whiny vocals",..."
    Should've been "You don't like"*
    BwareDWare94
    I tried reading that first review, but it took me 20 minutes to decipher the first paragraph. Come on, man. Slow down and edit.