Sunday, July 31, 2016

Periphery - Periphery III: Select Difficulty (2016)

First off, I really wanna state out that the guys in Periphery might need to go back to middle school, because they do not seem to know how to count. You see, this album is actually their fifth, counting the two "Juggernaut" albums as individual creations, so calling it III is just plain stupid. Even so, I shall not let this affect my impressions of the djent pioneers' new album "Select Difficulty", which is just another technical piece that will put your brain to work.

The album is most certainly very true to the nature of the band, not being drastically different from any of Periphery's previous releases, but it has enough tricks to make it feel fresh and innovative, without taking away too much of the regular formula. We got the heavy riffs, the odd time signatures, the atmospheric moods, and grooves that are irresistible. Simply put, this is just what you would expect from the band. It might not be a gigantic leap forward, but it is at least not a step backwards.

It is the songs though that define the greatness of "Select Difficulty", and they all help making it one of the most even and consistent Periphery records up to date, a thing that has always been my main concern with the band. There is no denying that the band is unique and can create some killer tunes, but the real highs are far between in the previous efforts. "Select Difficulty" however brings out a healthy dose of high quality songs in a very pleasant pace. The memorability factor is also high, making it even easier to love this album.

There are several songs that stand out here, such as the heavy opening duo of "The Price is Wrong" and "Motormouth", and the more atmospheric and catchy songs "Catch Fire" and "Flatline". "Select Difficulty" offer us a smorgasbord of all sorts of technical goodness, from heavy hitters to more orchestral offerings, and even an epic finish in "Lune", making it one of the most diverse albums that this year has seen. Fortunately, it is all within the Periphery frames, not spacing out too much so that it feels cohesive.

Despite all of this quality craftsmanship, I still feel kind of empty, wanting a little bit more from the band. There is no doubt that "Select Difficulty" is an astonishing album that djent fans will drool over, but it does have a fairly safe aura over it. I would have loved it if the band had experimented even more, pushing those boundaries even further, making it more dynamic. Simply put, it just does not click for me to completely love it. It is a great album for sure, and several songs are extremely enjoyable, and one of them will for sure end up on my favourite song list of 2016, but I miss that one little extra thing to seal the deal. So I guess that my selection of difficulty will be Hard, because it takes a lot of effort to appreciate it all for what it is, and that is ultimately how it should be. In other words, a Periphery album to the core.

Songs worthy of recognition: Catch Fire, The Price Is Wrong, Lune

Rating: 7,5/10 Absolombs

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