Hot of the back of last years double album, Alpha & Omega, Periphery strike swiftly, bringing us another record armed with some of their strongest songs to date. Being relatively new to the band I am not so a custom with their back catalog but if there's one thing I'm certain of, Its that Periphery are a band in the prime of their inspiration. With the third track "Marigold" things swiftly elevate as the music starts to sparkle and shimmer in the wake of moving lyrics, "Death is coming around like a hurricane, swirling, were on the clock and the needle's turning, the misery is killing me, slowly, give me a spine to work it out". Remarkable words which the music follows as string sections crescendo to its metallic, mathematical counterpart. An organic experience that ascends the record to soaring hights for another two truly genius songs with "The Way The News Goes..." and "Remain Indoors".
In this remarkable state the group harmonize and breathe together as the instrumentation comes to its form with vocalist Spencer leading the charge with his strong and softly piercing, melodic voice shining like rays of light over a tapestry of interwoven instruments in tandem with one another. Everything is in a gorgeous flow as minuet bursts of strings and synthesizers absorb into the ever transforming dance between groove laden Djent riffs and complex, lush, exotic acoustics. Gluing it all together the throbbing drums batter away with a measure for respite in the calmer passageways. It finds its apex with a grooving textual treat of a breakdown at the end of "Remain Indoors" as the vocals break for a syncopation of instruments slamming in tandem to take hold.
Unfortunately this trinity of brilliance leaves the rest of the record in its shadow. If the entirety of the album was on this level we may be talking about a modern masterpiece but as it goes they just didn't match this moment of magic and so the album, for me, fizzles out a bit early after such a burst of exuberance. Its mostly Periphery doing what they do best, mixing their lush acoustics and heavy guitar ensemble with fluidity as Spencer dances around them, jumping between his persuading clean lines and dense shouted screams. Maybe a few sparks re-emerge with "Catch Fire" and "Prayer Position" but mostly the feeling of those excellent songs linger and so Select Difficulty is a solid record but one that operates on different wavelengths, making for an odd experience when you find yourself disappointed by solid songs.
Favorite Tracks: Marigold, The Way The News Goes..., Remain Indoors