Music / Periphery

Periphery are an American Progressive Metal band founded in 2005, whose relative success has made them leaders of the so-called 'Djent' movement, a recent wave of metal acts that employ Meshuggah's chugging, rhythmically complex riffing style as a key component of their music. While acts like SikTh and Textures may have developed the prototypical form of the subgenre, creating a more melodic and experimental take on the original formula, Periphery are generally credited as its zeitgeist band, kickstarting the popularization and diversification of the genre.

Periphery's own music uses the aforementioned staccato 'djent' riff style, highly compressed and mid-boosted production, and glitchy electronic segments to create a heavy, mechanical feel, using lush clean guitars and soaring vocals to add a more emotive, earnest edge.


  • Periphery (2010)
  • Periphery II: This Time It's Personal (2012)
  • Clear (2014, EP)
  • Juggernaut: Alpha (2015)
  • Juggernaut: Omega (2015)
  • Periphery III: Select Difficulty (2016)

Current Lineup:
  • Spencer Sotelo - lead vocals, lyrics
  • Misha "Bulb" Mansoor guitars, production, primary composer
  • Jake Bowen guitars, programming, backing vocals
  • Mark Holcomb guitars
  • Matt Halpern drums, percussion

Tropes that apply to Periphery:

  • Break-Up Song: "Absolomb".
  • Call-Back / Call-Forward: Juggernaut is full of these.
  • Careful with That Axe: a very long scream by Spencer in "Pale Aura".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Feed The Ground", "The Bad Thing", "The Price Is Wrong" and "Motormouth". Spencer seems to really like using large amounts of swearing when he's angry.
  • Cover Version: They covered "One" by Metallica and it is actually surprisingly good. Another notable cover is "Black Or White" by Michael Jackson which was performed with a former vocalist Chris Barretto (now sings in Monuments). And the last but not least - "The Heretic Anthem" by Slipknot. Meanwhile, Spencer, Matt and producer Taylor Larsen covered Linkin Park's Shadow Of The Day in tribute to the late Chester Bennington.
  • Darker and Edgier: Periphery III: Select Difficulty. The band returned to a heavier style on this record more akin to their first two albums.
    • Haunted Shores is Misha and Mark's darker and edgier side project. The project adopts a style more similar to the heavier end of Periphery's musical output and even verges very much into Black Metal territory.
  • Epic Rocking: It's not uncommon for the band to write songs that last longer than 6-7 minutes.
    • "Racecar", the 15-minute climax of their self-titled debut.
    • "Omega", the 11-minute title track of Juggernaut: Omega.
  • Excited Song Title: "Jetpacks Was Yes!", "Icarus Lives!", "The Gods Must Be Crazy!"
  • Genre-Busting / Genre Roulette: The band has elements of this. While they have Djent's signature progressive / Groove Metal hybrid at their core, not only do they vary in heaviness, they also draw influences from various other genres, such as Mathcore ("Totla Mad", parts of "Buttersnips"), Post-Hardcore ("Jetpacks Was Yes!"), Nu Metal ("Ow My Feelings")...they even dropped a song that could be called "tech death" ("Zyglrox"). They also throw in some glitchy electronic beats and effects reminiscent of IDM/Drill 'n Bass every once in a while.
    • Clear also shows shades of this, what with 6 of the 7 songs on the album being written by an individual member of the band to show off different writing styles.
  • Grief Song: "Mile Zero".
  • I Am the Band: Happens quite a lot with multiple members of the band.
    • The first Periphery album was almost entirely written by Misha.
    • Spencer wrote "Face Palm Mute" entirely by himself.
    • Mark wrote "Scarlet" pretty much by himself too.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: Misha's nickname "Bulb" is written and pronounced as similar as belarusian word "Bulba" ("Potato"). It was commented by Mark that Misha "actually looks like a potato".
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Masamune" starts with happy-sounding major-scale progressions, then abruptly turns into a darker part which slowly goes to a downtuned dissonant chugging followed by cries from hell towards the end of the song. Repeated again in "Remain Indoors" without detuning the thickest string.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Both parts of Juggernaut are considered as this by both fans and the band themselves. Subverted with "MK Ultra" as it's one of the heaviest songs they've ever written.
    • "Lune" is without a doubt the softest song they've ever written.
    • "Catch Fire" is almost practically a funk song.
  • Mind Screw: Spencer's lyrics can be quite cryptic. Here's a fun activity: read the lyrics to "Buttersnips", and then try to figure them out without looking at the explanation below.
  • Mixed Ancestry: 2 current and one former band member with this: Mark (American/Filipino), Nolly (British/Egyptian) and Misha (Not even he knows himself)note 
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Either a hard 7 or a soft 8, most of the time, but they can be quite diverse: "Jetpacks Was Yes!" is around a 5 (or 4, for the EP version), while "Zyglrox", "The Price is Wrong" and "Motormouth" are a hard 9, skirting a 10 in some places.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Technically, as they've been touring with no live bass since Nolly decided to put his touring career on hiatus.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The odd, often absurd ("Buttersnips" and "Jetpacks Was Yes!" in particular) song titles on Periphery.
    • Actually, most of their songs are this ("Scarlet", "Light", "Motormouth", "Marigold" and "Flatline" being notable exceptions.)
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The title of their second album, Periphery II: This Time It's Personal.
    • And their fifth album Periphery III: Select Difficulty.
  • Piss-Take Rap: The verses of "Catch Fire" give a sort of this feel.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The last chorus of "22 Faces".
    "Fuck me! I am dying for sleep".
    • "Icarus Lives" has "Fuck them!" in the last chorus too.
  • Progressive Metal / Groove Metal: Codified "djent", generally a fusion of the two styles.
  • Renaissance Man: Pretty much everyone in the band counts as this in some way or another.
    • Nolly is perhaps the most glaringly obvious example. Not only is he a ridiculously good guitarist and bassist, but he is also very skilled at production, audio engineering and photography. Oh, and he also did a degree in Theoretical Physics before dropping out 2 years in to go to music school. Nolly's tendency to be awesome at pretty much everything has almost become an Ascended Meme.
  • Revolving Door Band: They went through two drummers and three vocalists in five years, before they even released an album. After that, they lost a guitarist and a bassist just for good measure, leaving Misha and Jake as the only founding members left. They could end up in The Dillinger Escape Plan territory if they don't watch their step.
    • Bafflingly, they seem to be on very good terms with many of the departed band members, to the point of going out of their way to help with their new projects in some cases. They even reconciled with Chris Barretto, who departed from the band in notoriously bad circumstances.
  • Saved from Development Hell: both the first album and the Juggernaut double album.
  • Serious Business: The music seems serious and profound, but especially given that they (along with Meshuggah, TesseracT and Animals as Leaders) pioneered a new scene sweeping the metal world the band members themselves have a very relaxed and humorous attitude toward what they do. See One of Us.
  • Something Completely Different: Clear was made to show off the different writing styles of each member of the band. It definitely showed.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Spencer does both sides of this trope himself.
  • Subdued Section: "Feed The Ground".
  • Supergroup: Arguably. After the most recent lineup shuffle, the band now has the main people from their extensive Production Posse in the band, most notably former Fifth Beatle Adam "Nolly" Getgood, to the point where the band is now a who's who of the internet guitar scene that djent grew out of.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Priestess" from Juggernaut: Omega, "Catch Fire" and "Lune" from Periphery III: Select Difficulty. "Erised" from Periphery II may also qualify.
  • The Rockumentary: "Remain Indoors: The Making of Select Difficulty".
  • Uncommon Time: Shows up here and there. Examples include "Marigold" (verses in 7/8), "Habitual Line-Stepper" (middle sections in 5/16), "Lune" (mostly in 7/4), and "Alpha" (7/4 after the last chorus, then 7+8+7/4 in the last section).
  • Updated Re-release: The Icarus EP, containing among other things a rerecorded version of "Icarus Lives!" alongside several remixes, as well as a rerecorded version of "Jetpacks Was Yes!".
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Just watch the video for "Marigold" and enjoy your "egzit", "rmz & legz", "akses graind" and whatever.
  • Vocal Evolution: Spencer Sotelo, the latest in a long line of vocalists, was not very-well recieved by some fans, the most common complaints being that his singing was "whiny" and that his Harsh Vocals lacked power. Since the release of Periphery II, he is now regarded as one of the best vocalists in Periphery's style of music.
    • Jake Bowen has also contributed his own vocals in recent years. he often performs both clean and harsh vocals live to back up Spencer during sections where he is able to play and sing at the same time, and even performed some of the backing vocals on Periphery II.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: "Buttersnips", apparently:
    Misha: Spencer, any comments on [Buttersnips]?
    Spencer: Umm, yeah, I think it's about zombies.
    Misha: Yeah, that one's about the zombie apocalypse, pretty much. And, like, you read it and you don't get it, and now that we tell you that...
    Spencer: You'll totally get it.