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Periphery - Juggernaut: Alpha and Omega

Juggernaut: Alpha and Omega
by Matt "Wolverine" Johnson at 03 February 2015, 11:26 AM

With a resounding effort, Washinton D.C.-based Progressive/Experimental Metal beast PERIPHERY are back with the much-anticipated double album entitled "Juggernaut: Alpha and Omega." Released in January 2015, this is very appropriately named since in my experience, it does indeed possess the sound, style, intensity, and overall size of a real juggernaut. There is no denying the popularity of this band as Metal media outlets are constantly publishing articles regarding the band, the album, or their winter 2015 tour in its support. I believe there are several songs that actually have single quality and could even make it to the airwaves on Rock stations in many markets. The technical and upbeat aspects of the album combined with the heaviness provide for a unique opportunity to broadcast the music of PERIPHERY, should an outlet take such a notion. Combined with recent releases of IN THIS MOMENT, SLIPKNOT, and other general Metal bands that have received airplay, the concept of PERIPHERY making it to the local radio station seems very unsurprising. So who knows? Maybe it could happen one day, and this would be the album to launch that very platform.

Since I've never reviewed a double album before, I was a little daunted by the task. Starting with "Alpha" is the obvious choice. The vocals and style of guitar playing are unlike anything I've heard before, however there is a strange familiar quality to it. The term "Experimental Metal" comes up and to me, the sound of it is a frantic mesh of crazy guitar notes blended together like a sour smoothie mix. Don't believe me? Listen for the sound in the song "MK Ultra" and the ending to "22 Faces." Overall, this part of the album is very mellow and doesn't exhibit much in the way of speed when it comes to the tempos. It is, however, chock full of the infamous and much-critiqued method of using the djent guitar technique. The down-tuned guitars, the perpetual open chords broken by sudden, irregular palm mutes are always fun.

Now for some opinion: the softest track is the opener, "A Black Minute." The heaviest or most ominous track is "The Event." The latter only lasts for just under two minutes, but despite its presence as more of a filler, it easily establishes itself among the other songs of the album. The "Experimental Metal" I referenced earlier reminds me of IWRESTLEDABEARONCE and the vocalist of PERIPHERY reminds me of Chester Bennington of LINKIN PARK (particularly at the end of "The Scourge"), and that could help contribute to the success of this band. I do enjoy the "cleans" on vocals but I'm by far more of a fan of the traditional, growled vocals of most Metal bands.

To sum up "Alpha," it is a fantastic first half of the double album. I was amazed at the amount of melodies on vocals and the groove that all of the music possessed. It all certainly surpassed my expectations! So what about "Omega?"

While the first half of the double album contains ten songs, the second half only contains seven. It starts off fairly slow but quickly ramps up the Metal by the second song, including a nice combination of high and low dirty vocals, the first time the combination appears on either half of the album. About three minutes into "The Bad Thing," there's a familiar breakdown with the screech of a high note on guitar wailing between a series of low notes in the progression, much in the way Zakk Wylde uses the same technique. It makes for a very extreme style and tickles my eardrums quite nicely.

Things then take a softer turn, and rightfully so with the third track named "Priestess" then proceeds right back to what I think is my favorite track off of "Juggernaut." I speak of "Graveless" and it brings to the table one of the most dynamic down-tuned progressions I've heard on this album. The following tracks, including the title track to "Omega" take on a more predictable path and carries the overall stylistic theme through to the end.

In general, there is a high level of production that went into the creation of "Juggernaut"and one would expect as much from a recording artist on the Sumerian Records label. Everything about this album fits together like a puzzle and the music expresses the creativity and musicianship that the members of PERIPHERY have worked tirelessly to acquire. I know I am one of thousands of happy fans who have listened to what this album has to offer and each track is distinguishable as one that this band has made. So it is with high regards that I say that I truly enjoyed second of listening, all the way from the "Alpha" to the "Omega" and I'm anxious to see how this ranks in terms of favorite albums of 2015. Well done!

4 Star Rating

1. A Black Minute
2. MK Ultra
3. Heavy Heart
4. The Event
5. The Scourge
6. Alpha
7. 22 faces
8. Rainbow Gravity
9. Four Lights
10. Psychosphere

1. Reprise
2. The Bad Thing
3. Priestess
4. Graveless
5. Hell Below
6. Omega
7. Stranger Things
Spencer Sotelo - Vocals
Misha Mansoor - Guitars
Jake Bowen - Guitars
Mark Holcomb - Guitars
Adam "Nolly" Getgood - Bass
Matt Halphern - Drums
Record Label: Century Media


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Edited 03 December 2022

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