Periphery are a band that have never failed to impress since their first self-titled record in 2010, released on January 27, 2015 Juggernaut: Alpha continues this trend.
Opening with a sparkling yet haunting melody and the serenely emotive vocals of Spencer Sotelo in A Black Minute. Sotelo really shows the depth of his voice in this song, with some seriously gritting and high register vocals to accompany the tempo kick and huge snare towards the end. This vocal depth continues on throughout the album.
MK Ultra returns back to what you expect from Periphery, odd-meters, wonderfully disjointed riffs, dissonant fills and the relentlessly hammering drums powering the whole thing along with total precision, as Soleto puts out huge ear-splitting roars. The whole thing finishes with a Jazz section, which in some other songs may seem out of place, here it works perfectly though, and serves as sort of an intro to the next tune. Heavy Heart brings more serenity to the album, the chorus is almost anthemic with catchy melodies throughout the piece.
As expected the guitar work is impeccable throughout the album, but it isn’t the shred fest you might expect from Misha Mansoor, there is a depth to the melodies and lead guitar work in all the songs of Juggernaut: Alpha, each section really feeling as though it belongs to the whole. The Scourge is one song that really shows off this aspect of the song writing although it is ever-present throughout the album, I can really hear the influence of Devin Townsend in The Scourge too, who has been cited previously by Mansoor as an influence.
Periphery have never been frightened of experimentation both musically and in production, this album shows that again with the sort of eight bit intro to Alpha which breaks out into a large groove riff, this is djent sounding, but different, a kind of evolution with huge candle waving choruses and a deeply suspenseful atmosphere. Love it!
It is really difficult to pick out the highlights of an album like this, each song is incredible and belongs without question exactly where it is. 22 Faces, Rainbow Gravity and Four Lights, all provide their own progressively awesome highs and lows, the staccato kick drum of Rainbow Gravity is excellent. There are many individual sections i could name as excellent but if i really had to pick out the highlight of the album it would be the final track.
The whole of Psychosphere is amazing, the suspenseful intro tone which carries through as that bouncy first riff powers in, the huge tom rolls, the general off-beat feel, the massive thundering bass hits. The whole thing drops into a sort of funky interlude with twinkling melody notes floating through it, interspersed with more large riffs and roaring vocals from Sotelo until at 04:45 the outro to the song and the album happens. There is something about the timing of how it happens, on the back of such a powerful section, with such big sounding guitars/bass and the fast tremolo picked melody line, which makes it a special kind of awesome.
This album is amazing, enough said.