Review: Periphery “Juggernaut”

Review: Periphery “Juggernaut”

A key issues needs to be addressed here: apparently “Juggernaut” isn’t a double album. It is is two separate albums. Released on the same day. The band intend for you to listen them together but it isn’t a double album. Apparently. Someone somewhere needs to sort their understanding of a double album out…

Periphery "Juggernaut: Alpha" // Sumerian Records 2015
Periphery “Juggernaut: Alpha” // Sumerian Records 2015

With that out the way the only real issue here is this: is the music on “Juggernaut” any good? Storytelling and concepts don’t matter. What does is performances, compositions and hooks. And “Juggernaut”….well it lives up to its name in two ways. Firstly, like the character from X-men with terrible taste in head wear, there are moments in here that flounder and careen around with no sense of awareness. Secondly, there are tracks on here that absolutely destroy in the way, that say, a Juggernaut would. (See what I did there?)

The biggest weakness here is excess. Which is a weakness it shares with pretty much every other double album I can think of. The reality is, few artists will ever be prolific enough to produce more than 10 or so tracks that really make you stand up and grab your genitals in excitement. That being said, Periphery actually fare better than most.  At least where the shorter tracks are concerned, the few lengthier moments don’t really earn their extensive run times. The band still suffer for substituting length and complexity for ideas that are actually progressive. Though they’re still not as guilty of this as say, Between The Buried and Me.

But, when the band indulge some of their more left field influences in the heavier moments its a pleasant surprise. The harsher and darker sounds on this album are pretty compelling and give the band a sense of threat that they’ve never had before. You couldn’t  fault the performances on this record they’re all tight and excellently polished by an incredibly modern production and any lack of spontaneity is forgiven given the fictional context of the material . Vocalist Spencer Sotelo probably delivers the stand out performance, striking a powerful balance between vocal dexterity and an almost Queen-esque sense of dramatic bombast.

All things considered “Juggernaut” contains some of the band’s strongest material to date. The band’s heavier indulgences now sound as if they’re legitimately aggressive for emotional purposes rather than just sonic ones and the push the melodic aspect of their sound to near breaking point. It’s maybe a shame that in their attempt to create such a monolithic and in depth release they lost in a little in the way of sophistication. Nonetheless, the band’s ambition on this release demands nothing but admiration.

Periphery don’t so much need to drop the fat as lean up if they want to rule the world, but as it stands “Juggernaut” puts them up as serious contenders.

7/10

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