Sound — 8
Periphery have changed their sound from their first album to more dynamic and very broad-ranged guitar parts, fitting electronic noises, pumping verse rhythms and more subtle breakdowns. Spencer Sotello, the singer and frontman of Periphery, is said to have composed the song "Facepalm Mute" by himself. The involvement of the other band members (as opposed to just Misha making everything) has added a very dynamic and refreshing contrast between songs. They have more simple yet elegant rhythms, as opposed to the usual pseudo-complexity that gets tiring in the progressive-metal scene, that focus more on how good they sound rather than how impressive they may seem to remember, which is the characteristic trait of a well-prioritized musician, which is no doubt a worthy label for the members of Periphery.
Lyrics — 8
Spencer's lyrics throughout the album, as you will have noticed, have a single consistency that runs throughout three songs on the album ("Muramasa", "Ragnarok", "Masamune") which is the line "In the distance we can see, shining, clear; our demise to be. We're not listening to ourselves.". The highest note hit on the album would be during the climax in the latter-half of the song "Ragnarok". Spencer's varied vocal style was impressive in their first album, but in this one, it's major-league impressive. From the heavy low-tone growls he belts out of his belly-button in "Masamune", to the beautiful melodies that bring the bridge in "Ji" to life, Spencer really knows how to create different sounds. As for the meaning of the lyrics, I believe there are certain lines that attribute to the forthcoming sounds of a track, for example "Cast away. I feel the heavens slowly turning grey." is a line in "Masamune", beautifully inserted in a transitional period between a happy melody and a simple rhythm to a complex and apprehensively timed diminished chugging rhythm that closes the album. There has also been speak of many "Final Fantasy" references, along with "Harry Potter" references among others. One criticism of the vocal performance is that sometimes Spencer's screaming tone can be a little too whinny for my taste, although it is sufficiently deep and guttural to sooth a chugging guitar rhythm. Some overlapping melodies Spencer creates are a little bit closely packed and overwhelming, which would be better off if they were given room to have their own dignities and flourish (for example, the "Scarlet" chorus).
Overall Impression — 9
Periphery have a 'repeat quality' to them because they are very multi-dimensional. Other bands such as Veil Of Maya have their fine moments, but they do not have music that warrants a second listen, or a wholesome listen. I feel like their music expires after the opening breakdown every single song has. Periphery seems to have a quality in their music which makes me want to listen to entire songs, and not just one energy-consuming breakdown that people like to skip to. Overall, it deserves a clap and a couple good listens before they release what promises to be a quality third album.