Periphery – Juggernaut: Alpha – 8.5/10
– Periphery has tried hard to bury the image of being the stereotypical “djent” band. From helping the genre grow big with their first album, they made vast changes to their sound with Periphery II and Clear. So it was no wonder that Periphery fans highly anticipated the release of their two disc concept album. Juggernaut burst on the scene during a tour that helped support and create buzz for the album (with a diverse lineup of openers). Now we can finally talk about it after the announcement of it was made around the time that Periphery II was announced. The first of the two albums starts off with “A Black Minute”, which slowly builds up and introduces themes that the album will explore musically and lyrically. From starting with a simple melody and drone in the background to building up with drums and vocals, to adding screams and a choir of background vocals. This song builds up the way that “Muramasa” did on Periphery II, while having a more solemn tone to represent the sorrow that follows war. “MK Ultra” is a heavy and dissonant track that sounds like the chaos that takes place during a battle. The heaviness ends at exactly 2 minutes, and the remaining minute is a latin jazz with a guitar solo which transitions from the heaviness to the next track. “Heavy Heart” is one of my favorite tracks on either albums. It is by far the catchiest in my opinion, which a focus on clean vocals and straight forward song structures and chord progressions. They are able to make it stand out with the emotion in Spencer’s voice and the excellent guitar tones. The bridge section is very epic, reminding me of the chorus of the “The Theft” by Atreyu. From there, “The Event” builds up and goes straight into “The Scourge”. This is another heavy track that uses the moments of Spencer’s clean vocals to create tension before the band lets lose with technical sounding starts and stops. The drums sound excellent in this track with lots of punch and crash to them. The song ends with a soft section that uses vocal melodies from “A Black Minute”. “Alpha” sounds like it could have perfectly fit on Periphery II with a little bit of djent to it, a little bit of progressive to it, and a fist pumping chorus that will sound great live. “22 Faces” and “Rainbow Gravity” continue that trend, and it becomes clear that most of these songs on the album definitely fit in that space where they make use of the first two albums and do not progress as much as we thought Periphery would after an album like Clear. This is not a bad thing whatsoever, because they continue to write killer songs and their fan base is definitely enjoying it. I’ve seen many reviews that say that these two albums are the best that they have done and will be contenders for album of the year. This first album ends with “Four Lights”, a super heavy and dissonant instrumental that sounds like “MK Ultra”, going straight into the final track, “Psychosphere”. “Psychosphere” builds up softly the way that the first track does before going into a djent riff with Spencer singing the lyrics and melody from “A Black Minute”. After this, the song goes into its own melodies and chord progressions. After reflecting on the images after a war, this song reflects on the emotions of how it makes you feel about the world now. The song is full of twists and great melodies, getting heavier in the middle and using riffs from other previous songs. The song ends with a riff repeating before fading out and the sound of silence for a good 30 seconds. This all makes you ready for disc 2.