My first listen to Periphery and my instinct is to head to track 3, “Froggin’ Bullfish”, first. I’ll always head to the best named track to kick off, and this track built up high expectations for the rest of the album for me. I’m a fan of progressive and technical metal, and having listened to “Periphery II”, I came away knowing Misha Mansoor has put together a band full of amazing musicians, well at home in either of these areas. They aren’t afraid of showing it to the listener either, throwing a great deal of technical diversity into every track.
While the vocals aren’t distinctive enough to identify Periphery from the next band, vocalist Spencer Sotelo certainly has an impressive range and vocal quality, jumping from some very clean vocal lines to some deliciously guttural roars. What really stood out for me on this album though, was some fantastic guitar work by Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen and Mark Holcomb. I mean, these boys have skills. Clearly they’ve spent a great deal of time working together to ensure the technical precision on this album is spot on, and it shows.
Bassist Adam “Nolly” Getgood also hits a few runs with me, also sporting some very technical fingerwork and providing the backbone for much of the album. Drummer Matt Halpern certainly displays some great technical proficiency as well, seeming almost too comfortable with changes that would easily trip up many seasoned drummers.
With so much going for Periphery, it was disappointing it all got a bit “same-y”. The last five or so tracks really blurred together for me. Although technically impressive gave the impression of “Prog-by-numbers” which was disappointing given how clearly skilled these guys are. Saying that, it is because of their strong technical abilities that this album is still well worth checking out.
After listening to the whole album, the standout track for me was by far “Froggin’ Bullfish”. The boys offer the listener an impressive variety of solos and dynamic musical changes executed with the kind of precision you would enjoy from any progressive metal band worth their salt.
Also worth a mention is “Epoch”, which offered some much needed variety to the album and, although heavy on the electronic feel, will be sure to please at the end of a mad night of moshing when you’re finally ready to chill back and relax.
Fans that enjoy Textures and Meshuggah will definitely dig the sound on this album.