Some of this music has been floating around in various forms for years, with Periphery mastermind Misha Mansoor proving himself quite the rightly popular lad on various web forums and Soundclick, and not being afraid to put his demos out there for everyone to check out. It’s taken a loooong time for Periphery’s debut album, but here it is, so crank it!
The first thing that jumps out about this molten slab of prog metal is how freaking aggressive it is – but in that calculated, ‘I could kill you eight different ways before you hit the ground, without even leaving a mark’ way. It’s brutal but it’s precise, heavy yet intricate, and the shredding is intense. There are many moments where you could almost consider the vocals another texture, with Misha’s rhythm guitar as the lead instrument.
Arrangements violently crash between Meshuggah-like rhythmic chugging and the kind of hyper-speed single-note lines John Petrucci is so good at, while song sections whip by with a kind of Between The Buried & Me energy. Vocalist Spencer Sotelo does a great job technically, with a thick roar and a strong clean vocal style, but although he nails his parts, I’m sure he’s about an album or so away from perfecting a more distinctive style.
Check out Jetpacks Was Yes, which in some parts almost reminds me of something from Bowie’s Heathen album if Bowie was a prog metal guy; Buttersnips, which recalls the multitracked speedy headfuck of Devin Townsend’s Ants, Icarus Lives, which stomps along with a killer groove, Ow My Feelings, which features some killer vocals; Zyglrox (more of the Ants vibe to these ears, interspersed with Zakk-like pinch harmonics from hell); and Racecar, a somewhat Dream Theaterish 15-minute epic which carries many moods and some tasty blues soloing. Nice Petrucci-esque clean tones too.
The album is pretty long and I’m sure Misha just wanted to get as much stuff out there as possible, but maybe it could have done with a little trimming. It’s like, relax dude, you and your music are gonna be around a long time so it’s ok to hold some things back for release #2!
CLICK HERE for my interview with Misha Mansoor.