Periphery / TesseracT / Monuments

Academy 3, Manchester on Wed 2nd Feb 2011

The showcase of a relatively new subgenre, which goes by the onomatopoeic name 'djent', began with the UK's own Monuments. As soon as they began it was instantly gratifying to hear such a busy sound come across with such clarity. While the bass and one guitar – for lack of a better word – 'djented' an unnervingly irregular structure, the other wove ambient and involving textures, adding colour to the sound. Over this was the unusual use of two vocalists. Sometimes harmonising in sombre tones, and sometimes conflicting in staccato shouts and screams, it was a dynamic and interesting addition.

Next on were TesseracT, and I have to say, the lazy attempt at making their name symmetrical (capitalising the first and last letter) made me think they might be a bit... posey. Unfortunately, I was bang on the money. Though taking many of the same influences of the other two bands on the bill, they amalgamated them into a more self indulgent affair. The instruments were actually pretty good, but the fact that they took second stage to the over emotive – forcibly so – vocals meant you really had to concentrate to squeeze any enjoyment out of it. Saying that, there were some pretty decent breakdowns where the vocalist shut up for a bit, so it wasn’t all bad.

It was surprising to hear Periphery open their set with some of the more experimental and less accessible songs. Mostly drawing from the latter part of their - just shy of a year old - self titled debut album, songs like 'Zyglox' whirled, stuttered and rumbled from the stage plunging the audience in at the deep end of their uniquely progressive-djent-metalcore-jazz-fusion sound - (it's impossible to describe their music without dipping into the vat of overused and ultimately meaningless genre idioms, so I thought I'd get that out the way early!) But the sound wasn't as full as it should have been; and through no fault of the band. Just before they began playing, the guitarist Jake Bowen raised a misshapen and mummified digit to the crowd, declaring that he would not be playing due to a broken finger. In scouring the web afterwards for information about how this happened, nothing presented itself and the band have remained suspiciously silent on the matter. From this I think we can assume it was due to something embarrassingly banal like a particularly passionate game of flip cup (they are yanks after all).

The line up usually consists of three guitarists: Bowen, Alex Bois and the brains behind the outfit Misha Mansoor. Wrapping their intricate melodies around up and over the demented time signatures of the rhythm and bass, there was still a lot going on even with one member absent. And, in fact, I think it was testament to their skill and good song writing that at certain points it was really obvious a guitar was missing. Writing such long, complex songs with three guitars all making a unique and equally important contribution is seriously impressive, and this was made more obvious by their unfortunately lacking sound.

Despite a setback that would have many bands cancelling, Periphery played a tight and powerful set. The vocalist, Spencer Sotelo, who only joined last year, was incredible. Seamlessly and effortlessly he moved from an aggressive and darkly satisfying roar to soaring heights of melodic vocal wizardry. For the record, I actually think he is a wizard. The guitars, in all their spasmodic glory, were beyond reproach; and how the drummer managed to keep this all together without being some kind of clockwork spider is beyond me. Ending the set with their most brutal song 'The Work', the band and the crowd were no less enthused than they were at the beginning. Having seen 5/6 of the band perform so well, I imagine the complete unit is unforgettable; and the rest of the tour will see various other guitarists step in, so it's still well worth going to see them.

article by: Robert Knowles

published: 07/02/2011 09:14


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.