Periphery III: Select Difficulty


RiffSlip into the fray, slip between the night and day…

Countless retreats from new music’s murky creek has given me a renewed appreciation for patience. A lovely racket kicks off only to be met with hesitance? Perhaps it’ll be a few more years before I can make a good case as to why gutturals and walls of noise steal my attention like a seagull turf war. Keen for the stroll but never one to stay too far, if something heavy pops up, you can bet I’ll be there; though at the back, with a healthy hesitance in tow.

Washington D.C was the most recent victim of my arbitrary let-it-grow-on-you period. For years I’d written off Periphery as that great sounding band with the god-awful vocalist but deep down, I knew we’d get on if we put in the work.

Instrumentally, ‘Riff was cracking! Low-tuning chugged things and the odd percussion assault moved forward the melancholy when things got a tad too devastating. The vocals is where it all took a tumble.

The two styles of frontman Spencer Sotello (best described as ‘melodic nasal’ and ‘yelling’) did well to complicate my enjoyment of Periphery. Never one to knock a good whine, I too have my limits, and Periphery danced dangerously close to that… edge. For years, I’d veer from the D.C. djents. Not quite my cup of tea.

At its core, Periphery III: Select Difficulty is a metal record. More interesting is the tinkering it boasts to a genre adored by few, despised by most – the Rum & Rasin of the music world.

Rife with deviance and a subversion, P3 mucks with metal, pulling at threads and paying tribute to the genre’s strangest pastimes. Playful and confident, it curls invention around its finger and from pop-punk to 90s power ballads, the sixty-four minute symposium just dares listeners to pigeonhole.

Catch Fire punches with a 90s-fuelled bop and a snare so thick with reverb it could have been recorded in a cave. The Way the News Goes marks the album’s second act and puts forth a synth-pop & blast beat concoction a duet unlikely, but effective all the same. Not without pure slammers, P3‘s frenetic opener The Price is Wrong heads straight for the throat whilst brother-in-arms Motormouth continues the assault, putting forth a sharp-tongued manifesto against anyone looking to dispel another’s well-earned, headspace.

Standouts here are the mood pieces, those drifting closer to progressive ballads. Absolomb, Flatline and Lune all bring a sombreness to proceedings, lathering layers of poignancy and time running dry.

A band I’d banished to the hills, Periphery’s Select Difficulty is a sanding of edges to erect something eerily perfect. I’ve never heard anything like P3, and I doubt I will again.

Periphery III: Select Difficulty