CD REVIEW Periphery

Band: Periphery
Title: Periphery II
Label: Century Media Records
Distribution: EMI
Release date: July 16th 2012
Review: CD

Even though I found it extremely difficult to make a ‘decent’ review on the first Periphery-full length (still available on the May 13th 2010 update), back then released through Roadrunner Records, I was very pleased by this Washington D.C.-based band’s refreshing and varied approach. I am not that intensively into Prog-oriented absurdism, yet in this band’s case the eccentric approach, and the unusual mixture of Extreme Metal and avant-garde passages was above expectations. For sure! And therefore I do consider Periphery’s debut as one of the best Prog-Death albums from the 2000’s, without any doubt!
In mean time the band did release an EP called Icarus, but unfortunately I seemed to have missed it.

The sophomore album, simply called Periphery II, or just II, goes on in the vein of the debut full length. It lasts for sixty nine minutes (!!!), so imagine a deep sight before I started listening the first time, and you better breathe in very deeply as well before joining the ride. The fourteen songs (there do exist versions with additional / bonus tracks on top of it) are as complex and onward-pushing as on the debut. The (unique) mixture of extreme Metal parts, progressive and modernistic avant-garde elements, Post-Rock melodies and the injection of influences from different musical genres (with no limit on experiment, and unique in time-dated and regional-located back ground), and the huge variation (vocals, tempo, melodies, structure and so on) is, again, very un-easy to digest.
Personally I think this second effort is somewhat overdone, and too well-polished when it comes to balance and, especially, the sound. II is catchier than the debut, still energetic yet not that uncomfortably confusing anymore. I guess it is much more accessible (no, sorry, that might be overestimated, but I mean…), and little easier to undergo in its totality.

For the interested ones: this time too Periphery asked some colleagues to do a guest performance: Dream Theatre’s John Petrucci, Wes Hauch of The Faceless-fame, and Guthrie Govan, known from The Aristocrats.

75/100

Ivan Tibos.