Inspiration is often fleeting. Even for the most inventive of minds, a stream of steady output is rigorous…unless you’re PERIPHERY. Just this past January, we felt the weight of their Juggernaut, a double album that fulfilled a prophecy of rumors among all dedicated peripherals since the band’s humble beginning. And now, here we are again to welcome another full length from the sextet. Returning to the self-titled album theme, Periphery III: Select Difficulty, will hit stores July 22 via Sumerian Records.
As with each new release, PIII finds the group continuing to broaden their aural spectrum, a huge feat considering the soundscape traversed on their double-disc concept. However, the disc still offers the elements that have become a part of their trademark sound. And while it is the shortest offering in their library, it is easily the most dense. But enough with telling you about how it’s so great without explanation of why it’s great. Let’s break this thing down.
The party kicks off with “The Price is Wrong”, possibly one of the heaviest songs from the group. The track is a straight ripper from start to finish, with tons of chunky riffs and not a moment of clean vocal. “Motormouth” channels influences from the band’s early days, building on angular rhythms and a youthful angst that can only be justified by using guitar as a percussion instrument. The first single is the definition of gnarly; “Marigold” combines all of the better factions within PERIPHERY’s identity in a tight package of complex guitar, haunting atmospheres and a chorus that completely sets the world ablaze. This song has wings. It has teeth. It will consume you and you will like it.
How does one follow that? With clean arpeggiation and gigantic harmonies. “The Way The News Goes…” dished out huge melodies as well as the oddly satisfying confusion of whether the song should be considered a ballad or not; regardless, it’s gorgeous. “Remain Indoors” romps in a bouncing movement that is slightly melancholy, yet anthematic and, dare I say it, fun. Going further into juxtaposition is “Habitual Line-Stepper”, a song that starts off with a grinding Death Metal feel, but transitions into a soaring epic through its second act. “Flatline” serves as a fairly typical number from the guys until the bridge, when the vocal melody takes the song from standard to extraordinary.
“Absolomb” is a slow burning fire, with plenty of dynamic and over the top melody. If it weren’t for the instrumentation, “Catch Fire” could easily be labelled as a pop song. And I’m ok with that. But that light airy feel is met by the riffy fit of rage known as “Prayer Position”. Now, I’ve always been a fan of ending on an epic ballad, and so you can imagine my pleasure with closing track “Lune” an opus of magnanimous proportions, complete with multi-layered, intertwining vocal lines, strings and even a section of “Woah Woah Woahs”, not to be confused with the “Nah Nah Nahs” found in “Hey Jude” from THE BEATLES.
Where some of the tangibles of this record fit the M.O. set by their previous efforts, Periphery III: Select Difficulty sits as a new territory, most notably with the colossal vocal delivery. Though it’s been said with every new addition from these guys, PERIPHERY have truly outdone themselves this time. I find myself absolutely floored by the depth found on these eleven tracks, from whopping to dramatic, ireful to monumental, the jump from end to end of the spectrum engulfs the entire CD. Though I tell you quite often, I may never mean as much as I do now that you need this record.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM