Only last year Periphery released the immense double dose of progressive technical riffery entitled ‘Juggernaut’ upon us, an album which again show-cased the huge variety of styles available to a band which is strangely recognisable on a single hearing despite their eclectic nature! Before most bands would even have completed the follow up tour here they are again with another full albums worth of aural assault for us, these guys are a machine!
First single ‘The Price is Wrong’ starts the album brutally with all cylinders firing and the lyrical content barked at you with beautiful precision breaking down two thirds of the way through into a gorgeous respite where the guitar lead soars before the onslaught begins again, ‘Motormouth’ follows a similar pattern until its second half where it breaks down completely before changing rhythm entirely leading us disjointedly into the first anthemic vocal line of the album.
‘Marigold’ and ‘The Way The News Goes’ the former starting off with a string sound taken over by the guitar and leading into a mainly clean vocal sing-along with some beautiful harmony work, the latter sounding like something Good Tiger would have been proud to write. ‘Remain Indoors’ works to bridge the softer side of the previous songs back to the heavier side with a slow sludgy riff which comes and goes into more proggier interludes before leading in to the heavier ‘Habitual Line-Stepper’
‘Flatline’, ‘Absolomb’ and ‘Catch Fire’ again tread the water between heavy and melodic before a crushing ‘Prayer Position’ and this is where my problem with the album occurred to me. After the initial tracks the album seemed to have drawn itself into a pattern with the track selection becoming quite formulaic which is a shame as individually each track deserves great respect but as an album I found the pacing to be off.
I admit fully that on the first few listens I was a little disappointed with Periphery III:Select Difficulty but I found it hard to describe why. Periphery are a great band, musically I cannot fault much of the material on this album, when you hear any single track you can identify the band immediately, the musicianship is second to none but I continually came away from this release wanting more…maybe we have just been spoilt by them! Fans of the band will find much to love in this album but you may find yourself in time overlooking it for previous releases.