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
  • Mark Holcomb guitars
  • Matt Halpern drums, percussion
  • Adam "Nolly" Getgood - bass, production

Tropes that apply to Periphery:

  • Call Back / Call Forward: Juggernaut is full of these.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Feed The Ground" and "The Bad Thing".
  • 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.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • "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!"
  • Follow the Leader: Regarded as the flagship band of the rapidly expanding djent scene...not like they particularly care. Are themselves following in Meshuggah's footsteps.
  • 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: Nearly everything Periphery has released thus far is an "official" version of Bulb's old demo tracks, usually simply with vocals added and some minor changes in instrumentation. Reportedly, though, the rest of the band will have much more input on Juggernaut.
  • I Am Very British: Nolly unintentionally falls into this. Not only is he the one British person in a band of Americans, but he has an accent that could be deemed as being posh. Also subverted, as he is half-Egyptian.
  • 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.
  • 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: 3 band members 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.
  • 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" and "Light" 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.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The last chorus of "22 Faces".
    "Fuck me! I am dying to see".
    • "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: Nolly. 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.
  • 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. "Erised" from Periphery II may also qualify.
  • The Rockumentary: "Remain Indoors: The Making of Select Difficulty".
  • 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!".
  • 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. Come the Periphery II, he's stepped his game up significantly, developing a style evocative of Protest the Hero's Rody Walker. His vocal capacity has gotten even better since Periphery II with the deepest growls he has ever done showing up on the Juggernaut albums.
  • X Meets Y: Meshuggah meets Porcupine Tree.
  • 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.