The new wave has come. After the idol-worshipping of Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God, it’s time for an era of djentsters, or rather d-jentsters. When the year sees nearly every band start djun-djunning their sound, it puts immense pressure on the pioneers to come up with the same cracking noise that they did from the underground more than half a decade ago. Alas, it wasn’t to be. This is a peach of a record but cannot match the classic Bulb/Periphery tracks that the genre was defined by.
The 14 tracks do present some interesting tunes – in trademark high gain tones – but the zest has faded away. ‘Muramasa’ is a great opening song with some progressive drumming and layers upon layers of an all-you-can-eat djent buffet. To add to their magnificent repertoire, the band invited a guest solo from Guthrie Govan on ‘Have a Blast’ which does exactly what it says. ‘Facepalm Mute’ is some fun wordplay with a tight rhythm section and keys to boot. ‘Scarlet’ is hinting at the Haunted Shores sound and brings back some of the vintage valour in the meaty sections.
The album has a comprehensive mix of the trademark sound, with ‘Ji’ and ‘Ragnarok’ traditional djent tracks with heavy tones and severe palm muting. ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy!’ is a frenzy of loops and some crushing bass lines, while ‘Make Total Destroy’, the first released track, captures the spirit of the album with its brutal assault of riffs and layers. Neo-guitar god John Petrucci also makes an appearance on ‘Erised’ with a phenomenal solo, and ‘Epoch’ and ‘Froggin Bullfish’ signal a new direction for the band in which the humorous undertones continue behind a foreground of more technical, digitized music.
The six minute closer, ‘Masamune’, is a fine end to the long but thrilling compilation. This album shows a clear progression of the Periphery members as artists, establishing them as a great name in the genre and making sure that they’re here to stay. However, the verve of hearing a plethora of illegally downloaded torrents that showcase everything, from ‘Letter Experiment’ to ‘Zyglrox’ to ‘All I Had for Christmas is You’, was a onetime phantasm that seems lost in time and, with djent gone mainstream, it seems like it would take a while for something of that ilk to be replicated.