Periphery have been at it for 13 years now. At this point, you know where you stand with the fabled progressive metal/djent band, and it’s generally a love-or-hate thing. Really though, a lot of their stuff tends to ride the middle road unless you’re a hater or a stan. Such is the case with Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre. Y’all saw the score already - let’s get into it.
Not ones to take themselves too seriously, the band have a paradox on their hands. The title is provocative and even for someone who used to listen to a lot of djenty stuff and love it, I’m on board with it. On the other hand, the band entrench themselves in some tropes and (try to) push the limits with what that sort of sound can accomplish. The results are mixed, as capable of soaring high and impressing as they are treading water.
But hey, let’s start with the good just like P5 does. “Wildfire” does a hell of a job selling us on intensity and tightness. The dense guitar melody from Misha Mansoor and company in the fiery chorus is a tweaking of/reference to “The Event” from their 2015 album, Juggernaut: Alpha, my personal favorite of theirs. Nostalgic nods notwithstanding, this is a wonderfully constructed opener and “Atropos” does nothing to deflate the hype even as it slows things down a bit and gets more deliberate with melodies and cleaner vocals from Spencer Sotelo. It still has its raw spots though, packing high energy into just about every measure they have - call them Periffery, I guess. It’s no wonder why these were chosen as singles.
They baited the fuck out of me too. “Zagreus” is a cool track, made all the more cool by being a subtle tribute to one of the best video games the world has seen in the last decade, Supergiant Games’ Hades. They even borrowed the motif from the game’s death music (which is seared into my brain) for the last melodic stinger before the orchestration kicks in toward the end. They also get self-referential again, lifting the thick-ass breakdown from “Four Lights” - also from Juggernaut: Alpha - one of the best Periphery songs there is. As always, Matt Halpern’s drums are impressive, guiding the group on pacing and providing ample power to add to the punch.
Still, no amount of pandering can make me look past how long some songs are. This is US economy levels of inflation and “Dracul Gras” and “Thanks Nobuo” are the price of eggs at 11 and 12-minutes respectively. Progressive, yes, but the problem is that the songs don’t go anywhere or achieve anything that shorter songs don’t. “Wildfire” had the right idea - marry the steely weight of prog metal with off-kilter jazz-influenced interludes to break up the action, all in just over seven minutes. The individual movements and stylistic shifts in these songs are delightful at their best, but by the time you reach these two tracks, you’re nearing an hour runtime and risking fatigue. Not even the nod to one of the greatest video game composers in the world, Nobuo Uematsu, is enough to get me on board.
Even a few of the shorter tracks drag a bit too. “Wax Wings” is rather simple cannon fodder for djent haters, its wings burning from the heat of the sun in true Icarus fashion before achieving greatness. It’s not bad, but it can be argued that middling is worse than bad. The best part is the vocal harmonies at the end - they’re larger than life and executed well, but it’s too little, too late.
Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre is a bit of a grind, and even with some nerdy, fun tendencies, its flaws keep it from getting anywhere substantial. Perhaps it’s weighed down a bit by its own expectation, a death knell for any progressive band that seeks to do more/better/different with each outing. Then again, Periphery have been riding a very similar wave for years now - good for them, don’t knock the hustle, but at this point it’s more of a chain around their ankle than a means to reach new heights.
Bottom line: Let’s break it down. If you’re a Periphery fan, you’ve already heard the album (several times) and rendered your own opinion. Great! If you’re someone who’s never seen the appeal or straight up find what they do repulsive, nothing here - in this review or on the album itself - will change your mind. Cool. Cynically approached, Periphery don’t offer much new on P5. Realistically, progression isn’t supposed to be linear anyway and can occupy a 3D space to spread out in. Next time, I just hope there’s more spreading.
20 commentsPost Comment
Djent is shit and should be banned forever. Worst genre of metal ever. Still, Im ""okay"" with this band. They always seemed more genuine than these mall djent bands who rely too much on editing, sampling and cracked amp sims.
'Still, no amount of pandering can make me look past how long some songs are. This is US economy levels of inflation and "Dracul Gras" and "Thanks Nobuo" are the price of eggs at 11 and 12-minutes respectively. Progressive, yes, but the problem is that the songs don't go anywhere or achieve anything that shorter songs don't.' Best review I've seen from you so far. 5/10 from me, not a hater (except the clean vocals) as the guitarists are good, I just don't get the point of this band.
No care ever. Goo/10
Great review - everyone on the record can play the shit out of their instruments but can they collectively write complete, engaging and meaningful songs? Definitely middle of the road record. Singer is the weakest link, always has been and actually detracts from the songs. More of a distraction in my opinion over well written material - the Bono glasses need to go too
Zulu received a 9. Just saying. This album must be pretty f*cking terrible.
Peaked in '10
Now this is a lambgoat i remember. Glad we're back to reviews that make no sense!
Gayest band on the planet.
Laughable review. Love or hate the album, the idea that theres nothing new here or that the songs dont go anywhere is delusional. Typical critic looking for a hot take. Its clear this website doesnt know how to vet their reviewers, wont be coming back, and encourage other to do the same.
Misha, is that you?
That's definitely Misha
Pretty sure they smoked beer on this cover album. Won't amount to dents in a washer machine. More like 'Shrek 3: Shrek 2'. Get off the pot and then shit.
First album is ok. Still, they're nothing compared to the first bands influenced by meshuggah that did way better things with the sound such as Mnemic, Textures, In-Quest, Sybreed, Devolved, early Threat Signal, more recently, The Interbeing
Excellent math, you f*cking retard. They band has been around since 2005. 18 years.
Voting up "gayest band on the planet"
anonymous 14 hours ago Excellent math, you f*cking retard. They band has been around since 2005. 18 years. ^By 2005 the bands listed above already released albums and nailed their own sound. Periphery's first album came out in 2010. No need to get defensive over facts
Djent, am I right?
The D. stands for Douche
Hardcore, am I right? It's half the reason we exist
I tried to scratch my ass in time with most of these songs and it kinda hurt ngl