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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)
  • Periphery IV: Hail Stan (2019)

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

Give me the tropes to work it out:

  • 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.
    • Spencer, Misha, Matt and Taylor Larson (who co-produced Periphery II: This Time It's Personal) covered "The Heretic Anthem" by Slipknot.
    • Spencer, Matt and Taylor covered Linkin Park's Shadow Of The Day as a tribute to Chester Bennington after his passing.
  • Darker and Edgier: Periphery III: Select Difficulty. The band returned to a heavier style on this record more akin to their first two albums. Periphery IV: Hail Stan ups the ante even further and is the band's darkest record to date.
  • 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.
    • Periphery IV: Hail Stan has the near 17 minute opener "Reptile" and the 9 and a half minute closer "Satellites".
  • 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", "Follow Your Ghost" and "CHVRCH BVRNER"), 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. Hail Stan even throws in electronic rock a la Starset ("Crush"), but also Thrash Metal ("Sentient Glow") and deathcore ("Blood Eagle").
    • 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" and "It's Only Smiles".
  • Horrible History Metal: "Blood Eagle" is about the invasions of the British Isles by the Vikings. The name of the song comes from a method of execution where the victim's ribs were forcibly extracted and their lungs pulled through the opening to create a pair of "wings".
  • Hyper Competent Side Kick: Heavily implied with their live sound engineer Alex Markides, although this is more played for laughs/self-deprecation.
  • 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" and "Sentient Glow" 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".
  • Intercourse with You: "Catch Fire".
  • Last Note Hilarity: "Satellites", the final song from Hail Stan, ends with Jake Bowen saying "suck my balls".
  • 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" from Periphery III: Select Difficulty is without a doubt the softest song they've ever written. "Catch Fire" from the same album is almost practically a funk song.
    • "Crush" from Periphery IV: HAIL STAN is an electronic rock song.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: Played straight with "Racecar" from the debut album. averted with the penultimate track "Omega" from Juggernaut: Omega.
    • Both inverted and averted on Periphery IV: HAIL STAN. The longest song ("Reptile") is the first track on the album and the second longest song ("Satellites") is the final track.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Odd Friendship: Misha is good friends with Zedd; he contributed a remix to the Icarus Lives EP.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The title of their second album, Periphery II: This Time It's Personal.
    • And every album since, except for the Juggernaut records.
  • 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.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Habitual Line-Stepper". It's about somebody who the band used to work with.
  • Renaissance Man: Pretty much everyone in the band counts as this in some way or another.
    • Fifth Beatle 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.
  • The Rockumentary: Periphery III: Select Difficulty and Periphery IV: Hail Stan have both had one.
  • 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.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Spencer does both.
  • Special Guest: They're in the music video for "Ain't That A Bitch?" by Twelve Foot Ninja.
    • Several people have guested on their albums, including Cool Uncle John Petrucci as mentioned above.
  • Subdued Section: They like doing this a lot, especially in their longer songs.
  • Supergroup: Arguably was one during the period where Nolly was a full member, as he was already very well known from his previous band Red Seas Fire.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Priestess" from Juggernaut: Omega, "Catch Fire", "Lune" from Periphery III: Select Difficulty and "Crush" from Periphery IV: Hail Stan. "Erised" from Periphery II may also qualify.
  • 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 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 performed some backing vocals in the studio on Periphery II and Periphery III.
  • 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.