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2. The Walk
3. Letter Experiment
4. Jetpacks Was Yes!
6. All New Materials
8. Icarus Lives
9. Totla Mad
10. Ow My Feelings
13. Captain On (iTunes Bonus Track)
Well this sounds familiar... if this self titled album had been released 18 years ago, it probably would have been an EP entitled 'None'. And it would have been put out by a rather tiny band from Sweden that went on to become a world renowned 'Math Metal' phenomenon... and are now known for their extreme lack of creativity and excessive repetition (at least in my opinion).
Anyhow, getting back to the album at hand...Minus the rather emotastic clean vocal phrasing, this has early 90's era classick Meshuggah written all over it musically. And that is regardless of what their younger and 'hipper-than-thou' sceneage fan base cares to believe. There isn't much originality going on here nor is it even that unique, which is sad considering the talent within the band. It's essentially nothing more than an ode to the excellence of Meshuggahnic Machinations and Fear Factory's bold incorporation of clean vocal manifestations in extreme music 20 years ago. Adding to the homage, tracks like 'The Walk' take a wicked obvious nod from Atheist at the 3:09 mark. If I had never heard 'Elements' from Atheist, I might find the melodic lead to be rather tasteful and even inspiring. Unfortunately, it's just another thing taken from an age of metal 2 decades old that no one under the age of 25 even cares to appreciate, thus making what this band does seem 'fresh and exciting' to an entirely clueless generation.
As the saying goes... "Everything Old is New Again," right?
Does that make such a release entirely bad? No, not necessarily. So what are the good points of the record? Well, for starters, not only do the clean vocals help to set them apart from the likes of stylistic pioneers Meshuggah, but they also serve to separate Periphery from their even MORE Meshugganic brethren who's name need not be mentioned here. So that's a positive point for the band. Another plus for Periphery is the fact that they've been doing this for a good while now, thus becoming extremely good at structuring their material, which is something that seems to be becoming less and less common amongst younger bands that feel the need to add as many riffs, notes and scales as is humanly possible to cram into 35 minutes of material.
Showing off is ok live, but on record bands need to showcase the fact that they can actually write songs with structure and Periphery seem to realize this. So aside from bring capable musicians, Periphery at least have that going for them. And being as capable as they seem to be, here's to hoping they can find their own sound on their next release, and leave the Meshuggah worship for a covers album or a tribute band project... because a band this capable shouldn't come out sounding like they did nothing more than add clean vocals and melodic nuances to a record that was originally written and released in 1992.
BOTTOM LINE: Blasting and shredding away for 35 - 40 minutes becomes a total yawn fest, and sweeps are as tired as 808's already. Fortunately there's not so much of that going on with Periphery, and when trends like sweeps do come into play they're not done for the sake of it, thus never sounding forced. What you have here is solid song writing and an amalgamation of styles that have been crafted into an album that couldn't be a more perfect release for 2010.
This album has all the elements necessary to cross what are typically very definitive genre boundaries, effectively appealing to more than just sceneagers, hardcore kids, hipsters or metalheads specifically. And while I can't say that the vast majority of this album appeals to me personally, I can see why it stands to do well and why sceneagers in particular will eat this up. There are a few moments on the album where the band simply shines and it's extremely evident that they're capable of so much more than what is presented here. And that's exactly what I hope to hear more of on the next go round.
Until then, I'll just keep spinning my 'None' EP and hoping that Meshuggahcore meets it's much needed demise a lot faster than it's deathcore predecessor did.