Periphery delivers another genre-defining album with “Periphery V: Djent is Not a Genre”


Photo courtesy Richard McDaniel

Periphery plays ‘Atropos’ for the first time during the first night of their tour with Loathe and Underoath at the Fillmore on Mar. 3.

Progressive metal giants Periphery defined metal during the 2010s, even to the extent of spearheading an entire subgenre of metal, ‘djent.’ This is why it is a surprise that their new album – “Djent is Not a Genre,” which was released on Mar. 10 – possesses a name that runs counterintuitive to the effect of their work. Although the name elicits confusion, Periphery manages to deliver another great album that elegantly fuses thunderous instrumental sections with flawless vocal melodies.

Periphery opens the album with two tracks that were released as singles prior to the album release: ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Atropos.’ ‘Wildfire’ begins with roaring guitar riffs along with brutal screams by singer Spencer Sotelo. Although the song begins with harshness, it quickly begins to show its progressive undertone with an odd, but melodic, chorus. However, although the chorus is sublime, I find the section around the three-minute mark to be the highlight of the song. During this section, we hear eviscerating guitar riffs combined with vicious screams, all of which is followed by an intense guitar solo.

While ‘Wildfire’ is marked by a fierce heaviness, ‘Atropos’ is much calmer and nicely showcases the creative side of Periphery, which fuses clean vocals with screams.

However, both songs pale in comparison with the number that follows ‘Atropos’, ‘Wax Wings.’ ‘Wax Wings’ is easily the best song on the album and is one of the best songs Periphery has ever produced. The song starts with an immediately catchy guitar part, which is followed by unforgettable, emotional vocals. The highlight of this song is directly after the piano solo where Sotelo reaches new highs by delivering a scream that climbs high into the fifth octave.

This new musical high is furthered by their next song, ‘Everything is Fine!’ This song is one of Periphery’s heaviest and contains a playful chorus.

Even though Periphery seems to have reached a new high thus far, this is all placed to a halt with their next song, ‘Silhouette.’ Unfortunately, this song disrupts the flow of the album by being reminiscent of a 1980s synth-pop song with corny lyrics.

Not all is lost, though. All songs on the back half of the album are quite good. ‘Dying Star,’ like ‘Wax Wings,’ nicely showcases the more emotional, mellow side of Periphery. ‘Zagreus,’ another single released prior to the album release, illustrates their lyrical and musical creativity. ‘Dracul Gras,’ a 12-minute song that is nice but doesn’t hold a candle to the nearly 17-minute ‘Reptile’ on the previous album, possesses a catchy chorus and a brutal climax around the eight-minute mark. Lastly, ‘Thanks Nobuo,’ a song influenced by the video game Final Fantasy, is one of the best songs on the record with Sotelo’s vocal ability and range being depicted nicely amidst atmospheric guitar and drum playing.

While this album may not be as good as their previous album – “Periphery IV: Hail Stan” – this album still delivers to metal fans what Periphery is known for: lyrical beauty and intense rhythms that certainly produces headbanging for years to come.