Rome wasn’t built in a day, the world has never been less predictable, and “djent” is not a genre. These are all undeniable truths that bind us together as we enter 2023. For genre-shifting GRAMMY® Award-nominated progressive metal quintet Periphery – Misha Mansoor [guitar, programming], Jake Bowen [guitar, programming], Matt Halpern [drums], Spencer Sotelo [vocals], and Mark Holcomb [guitar] – creating the ravenously awaited follow up to 2019’s critically-acclaimed “Periphery IV: HAIL STAN” was one of the most difficult experiences it has weathered to date. It was a process that very nearly broke the band. However, with “Periphery V: Djent is Not a Genre”, Periphery returns with an album that was not only worth the wait, but sees the band nearing the pinnacle of its abilities. Mansoor confesses:
“There were times where I didn’t know how this album would ever come out. I didn’t know how I’d ever feel good about the album, and I’d rather quit the band than put out an album that I don’t feel great about.”
While “Periphery IV” took the band a year to write and record – a period that was considered incredibly long for the group at the time – the writing sessions for “Periphery V” began in earnest in the fall of 2020, making the gestation period for this release the longest in Periphery’s near 17 year history by far.
It was a process fraught with logistical issues stemming from the pandemic, but also challenged by the band’s increasingly high standards for themselves. Mark Holcomb explains:
“We would do week-and-a-half writing retreats and then take two months away from the material before revisiting it together. We really played by the rules with respect to Covid safety and travel and because of that, we had an almost impractical amount of time to analyze the material between sessions. Our standards are higher than ever, so we all pushed ourselves on this album much harder than we ever have before. It was a hard process because we had to keep ourselves honest to those standards.”
From Mansoor’s perspective, the creative challenges on “Periphery V” were also tied to avoiding repeating past statements. Mansoor says:
“We ended up in a very difficult place where we had to ask if we were retreading ground. I always say it’s very simple to make a Periphery record – the only thing we need it to do is excite us. That hasn’t changed, but it’s gotten harder and harder for us to make music that passes muster because we’re ultimately doing it for ourselves. At this point, there’s no reason to make Periphery records other than to make music that we’re proud of, and the stakes are higher because we’ve all grown as writers and players. Material that we would’ve thought was great in the past isn’t cutting it anymore.”
However, the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fires and the strength of Periphery V is unquestionable. With enough “time, stress, and suffering” as Mansoor says, the band found they could solve any problem. Periphery V is an album that sees every sonic weapon in the group’s vast arsenal honed, expanded, and seemingly mastered. The melodies that lace in-and-out of the band’s trademark polyrhythmic churn boast sharper hooks than heard on past Periphery releases. The record’s production, tones, and atmospherics are more textured and engrossing than ever before. Every member of the band has seemingly brought a new spirit to their performances. And yes, that intoxicatingly heavy rhythm guitar assault has leveled up as well.
Chaoszine sat down with the band’s vocalist Spencer Sotelo to discuss about the latest “V: Djent Is Not A Genre” album as well as what made Sotelo a metal vocalist and how has his journey in the metal world been so far. You can check out the interview below:
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You can check out Periphery‘s latest “V: Djent Is Not A Genre” album in full below: