As a genre, metal has always been firmly rooted in pushing music to new extremes, taking the sounds we’ve come to know and love from other styles and pushing them well past their limits until they become something new. Always looking to pushing things into increasingly lower directions is Periphery, the new project from expanded-range guitarist Misha “Bulb” Mansoor. Utilizing a combination of extreme tunings and studio magic on the eponymous album, Periphery presents us with a combination of blistering fretwork, extreme tunings, and studio magic to create a maelstrom of prog guitar worship reminiscent of Meshuggah and the Dillinger Escape Plan. While lightning-fast playing and odd chord structures and time signatures are certainly a part of Periphery’s charm, the production on the album helps to give it a razor-sharp edge over some of the competition. The band uses the studio here almost as an instrument in and of itself, controlling not just what you hear, but how you hear it. Guitars are gated and compressed into tones that are almost mechanical, replacing anything resembling bluesy warmth with a sound that is stark and metallic, at times sounding more like a piece of industrial equipment than a stringed instrument. What’s most impressive about the whole thing is that they manage to pull the whole thing off without sounding over-produced. By pushing the production to such limits, the album manages to blast through the typical production clichés to create a sonic assault that should quickly change your reaction from “Why did they do that?” to “How did they do that?,” making Periphery an album that’ll give lovers of prog metal something to sink their teeth into.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney