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Periphery – Live In London

Live In London
by Ian Yeara at 05 January 2021, 2:37 PM

I have quite a long history with PERIPHERY at this point. If you'll indulge me a personal story; in 2014 PERIPHERY was the first concert I went to with my fiance; I believe the line-up was TOOTHGRINDER - INTERVALS - THE CONTORTIONIST - PERIPHERY, quite a line-up huh?  I wasn't a huge fan of PERIPHERY at the time, but I really liked the "Clear EP" they released at the time. I listened to their first two albums enough though and I enjoyed them enough, but it wasn't until they released the "Alpha/Omega" duo that I really started to get into them. Then "PIII" was really good, but the pièce de rèsistance really was "Periphery IV: Hail Stan".

First of all, a great album title, and I really appreciate the satirical naming of songs such as "CHVRCH BVRNER". More importantly "PIV" saw PERIPHERY take their sound forward and they open it and this live album with a brilliant 16 minute song Reptile, the longest song they had written since their debut album by the way. My point with all of this is that PERIPHERY is a band that has only improved since their inception and especially since the "Clear EP" they have really been on a hot streak with their albums continually making my year end lists.

I'm not really used to reviewing live albums, especially without the video, but I will do my best here. Just looking at the setlist as a PERIPHERY fan it looks fantastic. Opening with "Reptile" was a great move, I think starting a concert with a longer song can be a really great idea because it lets you take the crowd through a multitude of sounds and styles in one song. Also, since it's the beginning of the concert people aren't tired or wanting a break so you've got the whole audience captivated for at least those first 16 minutes. As for judging the audience, it's kinda hard to when you can barely hear them, but they seem energetic enough during the development section of "Reptile" and generally during the breaks between songs the crowd seems to be pretty good.

More importantly, the mix for the concert itself is really well balanced, it sounds like it's live, but it's very clean and polished for a live album. I'm assuming Misha Mansoor produced this and as always he does an incredible job. I like when a live album sounds like a live album, or at least sounds different enough from the studio version (otherwise why would I revisit this instead of the studio version?). There are plenty of live albums where the band goes out of their way to make the songs sound like they were performed in the studio on the live album, which is great for the people at the concert, not so great for those of us reviewing live albums.

Anyway "CHVRCH BVRNER", "Remain Indoors", "Follow Your Ghost" and "Scarlet" are all good songs, but me? I'm just waiting for the "Marigold". When I first heard "PIII", the first two songs really had me disappointed, I'll admit I much prefer the more melodic side of PERIPHERY and "Motormouth" does nothing for me. Then "Marigold" hits me, and really the whole album follows the example "Marigold" sets.

The strings create a beautiful tableau for a beautiful melody to follow and the build up to the chorus is big and epic, you’d almost think PERIPHERY were Power Metal fans. I have no doubt that this is the best chorus PERIPHERY has written in their career, it's so catchy, but beyond that it's brilliantly accessible while not really compromising the crazy Progressive tendencies of their music. Using the guitar to imitate xylophone is a neat little touch that never ceases to put a smile on my face. If anything, I wish I could hear the crowd a little more on this song because I know that had I been there I would have been singing my lungs out. My voice would have been shot by the end of that night, but alas there's only so much room in the mix and this is already a pretty dense mix.

I’ll admit I had completely forgotten about "It’s Only Smiles", which ended up being one of my favorite performances on this live album. The bass sounds big and punchy, but mix-wise the guitars are the most impressive here, they don’t overwhelm any of the rest of the band, but they sound really clean and polished. Talking about the song itself and not the performance, "It’s Only Smiles" really grooves and instead of relying on the super heavy Djent aspect of their sound this one stays on the PLINI/SYU atmospheric, Post-Metal kind of sound which I really like and I need to say that Misha Mansoor is a brilliant songwriter and guitarist.

"Blood Eagle" is one of those PERIPHERY songs that seems a lot more fun live than in the studio, but in terms of crowd interaction I really like the ending. Having seen him live a couple times, I can confirm Spencer Sotelo is a great front man, and I love his slightly snarky attitude with the crowd, also it seems like I barely heard the audience, but during "Lune", they seem a lot more energetic and invigorated. "Lune" is of course a great finale, both on "PIII" and for this concert, I’m really not sure what else to say, the band sounds great, the production is really good and the setlist, while kinda short is really solid if you like their last three albums.

Performance: 8
Production: 10
Crowd: 7
Setlist: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Reptile
3. Remain Indoors
4. Follow Your Ghost
5. Scarlet
6. Marigold
7. It's only Smiles
8. Psychosphere
9. Blood Eagle
10. Lune
Spencer Sotelo – Vocals
Misha "Bulb" Mansoor – Guitars, programming
Jake Bowen – Guitar, programming
Mark Holcomb – Guitars
Matt Halpern – Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records


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