Much like Fifty-shades of Gray and The Bible, Periphery are one of those things which I feel I should perhaps examine before being to eager to pass judgement. I've often said that progressive metal isn't usually my forte, in the way the term is miss-used to refer to a style, a genre of music, as opposed to the actual act of making music which is progressive. Periphery seems to be the former of the two.
I'm nervous. Periphery seems the kind of band to attract fiercely loyal fans. I'm not one. As just about every prog-enthusiast that I've met has told me - I just don't get it. They're probably right, and it's true; I don't get it. It seems, well... overrated. Upon listening to the album, what I hear is very virtuosic, extremely talented metalcore. Not, sadly the guilty-pleasure school of metalcore, but the "Oh God, you just killed Metal-Hammer" style. Who knows, I'm probably just being a dick. I must say that my main grief is with the generic vocals, which vary from typical metalcore to sounding a bit like Greenday in places. Apart from those, a lot of the music isn't all that bad - the solos and lead guitar are often excellent, albeit half the time the work of guest musicians, notably Jon Petrucci, a representative of another band which I almost entirely don't get. The riffs are survivable - also a bit generic, the kind which I'll end up hearing any time I find a radio station or music video site which purports to be metal. The djent-ish tinge in some of the riffing is a little bit more interesting, and while I've probably listened to about seven minutes of djent ever, it certainly breaks the mundanity of the riffs a little, if I'm even recognisng the djent elements correctly.
The production is extremely neat, and the album is undoubtedly overproduced. On the plus side, I've always felt that that is a sound which fits both metalcore, progressive metal and djent, so nothing about this album is compromised in any way by it in the production department, especially considering that if it's not annoying me, it's almost certainly not going to grate with people who listen to this kind of thing on a regular basis. The rather prominent electronic elements, all in all, are quite good, although when the songs start to have sections which are so thoroughly dominated by the electronic elements I did begin to feel a bit lost for a while, although in the better ones, the band did manage to conjure an admirably wide, crystal clear sound-scape. Occasionally, programmed drums came in to replace the organic ones, which was an interesting touch, making the music sound somewhat like slightly psychedelic dance-music. I have no idea what they were aiming at, but still, interesting. This initial impression leaves me wondering slightly - I don't see where the progressive and experimental elements in the music are, and as such, I'm currently of the persuasion that Periphery are one of those bands who are progressive in the sense that a bit of their music sounds a little bit weird, have a few odd time signatures, and has the occasional floaty synth section, and not for any hugely substantial reason. Summarising my views at this point would be rather easy; I probably just don't get it, man. For what it is, the album is also too long, in my opinion. It doesn't feel, or flow beautifully, like an "opus" which would warrant such length. It's just an album.
Once, I ran out of forks, and had to eat my pot-noodle with a spoon. Listening to Periphery has been a similarly long and arduous procedure. But equally, the pot-noodle, for being difficult to get at, was still reasonably tasty. Likewise, I wouldn't dream of simply thinking of Periphery as shit. They're good, but just not for me. Like using the spoon to eat my noodles, however, I'm buggered if I intend to do it again in future.
It's a 6/10 from me. Don't listen to me though; You probably like it. Good on you.
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