Our top ten Periphery songs list looks at the body of work of an American band best known for its progressive metal sound. Guitarist Misha Mansoor initiated the formation of Periphery in 2005. Periphery’s first record was issued five years after the band’s formation. However, the band had been active in the music scene before its debut official record having toured extensively as a supporting act to multiple bands including Fear Factory, God Forbid, Emmure, and The Dillinger Escape Plan, among others.
Since 2010, Periphery has released a total of six studio albums and two extended plays. The band has its seventh studio album scheduled for release later this year. While progressive metal has been cited to be Periphery’s primary sound, the band has seen some of its records ooze progressive metalcore and djent influences.
Periphery’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
After five years of solidifying its musicianship (with several lineup changes), the band went ahead to issue its eponymous debut studio album. Periphery was issued through Sumerian Records (once) home to The Smashing Pumpkins, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Between the Buried and Me, Asking Alexandria, Sleeping with Sirens, and Bad Omens. The album was an instant mainstream success, rising to position one hundred and twenty-eight on the Billboard 200 Chart.
Periphery also graced the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart, rising to the second spot. “Racecar,” “Insomnia,” “All New Materials,” “Jetpacks Was Yes!” and “Icarus Live!” are the best Periphery songs from the album. Former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis is among the guest artists featured on Periphery. The album paved the way for the later success of Periphery in the progressive metal scene.
Other Releases by Periphery Over the Years
After a successful debut studio album, Periphery returned in 2011 with their first extended play Icarus EP. The EP featured earlier hits by the band including “Jetpack Was Yes!” and “Icarus Lives!” New releases featured on Icarus EP include “New Groove,” “Frak the Gods,” “Captain On,” and “Eureka.” Unfortunately, Icarus EP never made it to the mainstream charts. The band would later return in 2012 with its sophomore studio album Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal.
Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal instantly made it to the mainstream charts rising to position forty-four on the Billboard 200. The album also graced the UK Albums Chart peaking at number one hundred and fifteen. John Petrucci of Dream Theater, Wes Hauch (former member of The Faceless), and Guthrie Govan (worked with Asia, The Young Punx, The Aristocrats, and GPS) are some of the additional musicians featured on this album. Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal is home to top musical gems including “Make Total Destroy,” “Scarlet,” “Mile Zero,” “Luck as a Constant,” and “Erised.”
Clear, issued in 2014, marked the band’s second extended play. As revealed by guitarist Jake Bowen, Clear was an experimental work by Periphery, exploring diverse writing styles by the band members. “Pale Aura,” “Feed the Ground,” “The Parade of Ashes,” and “The Summer Jam” are some of the popular tracks by Periphery from the extended play. Clear made it to the Billboard 200 peaking at number sixty-two.
Periphery returned in 2015 with their third studio album Juggernaut: Alpha. Juggernaut: Alpha was a mainstream success peaking at position twenty-two on the Billboard 200 Chart. The album also made it to the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number forty-three. “Alpha,” “Psychosphere,” “The Scourge,” and “Heavy Heart” are the best Periphery songs from the album. Additional engineering of the songs on this record was handled by Taylor Larson, best known for his prodigious work with Asking Alexandria, Veil of Maya, From First to Last, and Within Temptation.
Later in 2015, the band issued its fourth studio album Periphery: Omega. The album is home to seven tracks with the most popular ones including “Stranger Things,” “The Bad Thing,” and “Omega.” Periphery: Omega made it to number twenty-five on the Billboard 200 Chart. The album also graced the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number forty-five.
Periphery III: Select Difficulty, issued in 2016, marked the band’s fifth studio album. The album was the final record by Periphery issued through Sumerian Records. “Marigold,” “Flatline,” “Absolomb,” and “The Price Is Wrong” are the best Periphery songs from the album. Periphery III: Select Difficulty made it to number twenty-two on the Billboard 200. The album also graced the ARIA Albums Chart and UK Albums Chart, peaking at number eight and fifty-seven respectively.
In 2019, the band returned with its sixth studio album Periphery IV: Hail Stan. The album was issued through 3DOT Recordings, the band’s label. Periphery IV: Hail Stan features live orchestrations and a choir from Randy Slaugh. Randy is best known for his fruitful work with multiple artists/bands including Skillet, Devin Townsend, Four Year Strong, Sleeping with Sirens, and Architects.
Periphery IV: Hail Stan topped the Billboard Independent Albums Chart, rising to position sixty-three on the Billboard 200. The album is home to top songs by Periphery including “Satellites,” “Reptile,” “It’s Only Smiles,” and “Blood Eagle.” Currently, the band is working on its third studio album Periphery V: Djent is Not a Genre. “Wildfire” and “Zagreus” have been issued as promotional singles towards the album release.
The progressive metal genre emerged in the late ‘80s with bands like Tool, Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater achieving success in the genre in the ‘90s. Over two decades later, Periphery is still pushing the limits of progressive metal and so far, its releases have been a success in the mainstream. Together with Textures, Animals as Leaders, and Tesseract, Periphery have been credited with djent, a guitar playing style related to progressive metal. Here we present the all-time best Periphery songs of all time.
#10- The Bad Thing
Opening our ten best Periphery songs list is the stunning hit “The Bad Thing.” The song is the brightest song off the band’s fourth studio album Periphery: Omega. As revealed by drummer Matt Halpern, “The Bad Thing” alludes to the infuriating realizations about one’s life which results to taking proactive measures to solve the underlying problems/issues. “The Bad Things” has impressive guitar riffs and epic chorus sections that make it an instant masterpiece.
After issuing five studio albums and two extended plays through Sumerian Records, Periphery made a fierce but enterprise move—Forming their independent record label 3DOT Recordings. The band went ahead to issue its sixth studio album Periphery IV: Hail Stan through the label. Periphery IV: Hail Stan still made it big in the mainstream showcasing Periphery’s consistency in the music scene.
“Reptile,” the album’s opening track, is proof of the band’s continued solid musicianship on Periphery IV: Hail Stan. The over sixteen-minute-long album opener is structured perfectly that someone barely takes into consideration (or even notices) its length! This audacious track features some of the most outstanding percussive riffs by any Periphery track. Earning a guest spot on this fascinating pick is vocalist Mikee Goodman of the English progressive metal band SikTh.
#8- The Price is Wrong
Coming in at number eight on our ten best Periphery songs list is the hard-hitting track “The Track is Wrong.” The song is featured on the band’s fifth studio album Periphery III: Select Difficulty where it serves as the album’s opening track. “The Price is Wrong” is quite an intense and aggressive pick compared to more melodic tracks on the album like “The Way the News Goes…”
The hard-hitting metal influences on “The Price is Wrong” guided the song to a nomination for Best Metal Performance in the 2017 Grammy Awards ceremony. However, the song lost the award to “Dystopia” by Megadeth. Other metal songs that had been nominated for the same award include “Shock Me” by Baroness, “Rotting in Vain” by Korn, and “Silvera” by Gojira.
#7- Blood Eagle
Following up the multifaceted opening track “Reptile” on the album track listing is the brutal hit “Blood Eagle.” Issuing songs through its own label rewarded the band with the ability to deliver super heavy (and less accessible tracks) with less or no regard for mainstream viability! “Blood Eagle” finds the band going full throttle into its Meshuggah-inspired heaviness yielding unadulterated brutality!
Spencer’s vocals in this song are illustrative of the singer’s ability to deliver a blasting metal assault! “Blood Eagle” is more than just raw heaviness—The song features a complex yet unique song structure that adds to its metal appeal. Its pounding basslines and hard-hitting percussive riffs are just mind-blowing!
Number six on our ten best Periphery songs list is the alluring hit “Racecar.” The song introduces us to the band’s musicianship on its eponymous debut studio album issued in 2010. Spanning over fifteen minutes, “Racecar” is one of the longest (second longest) tracks ever released by Periphery—The song reminds us of the impressive lengthy pick “Reptile” from Periphery IV: Hail Stan.
This progressive metal anthem features a guitar solo from former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis (currently a member of Arch Enemy). “Racecar” also features the vocals of singer Elliot Coleman. Elliot has also been featured in different lineups of Tesseract and Sky Eats Airplane.
Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal, the band’s sophomore studio album, is home to the fifth pick of our top ten Periphery songs list “Scarlet.” Guitarist Misha Mansoor went ahead to reveal that “Scarlet” had its first few riffs written by guitarist Mark Holcomb. Mansoor goes on to cite “Scarlet” to be one of the band’s catchiest and poppiest releases off Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal. “Scarlet” was covered by Mike Dawes in 2017 with his cover version featured on his album Era.
Like Periphery: Omega, Periphery: Alpha is a concept album centered around the themes of anger and deliverance. Songs on these two albums were quite philosophical having them explore different phenomena of human lives. Introducing us to the band’s musicianship on Periphery: Alpha is the remarkable hit “Alpha.” The song is Periphery’s admission that evil prevails sometimes out of our actions.
However, self-loathing/self-pity won’t help much in a situation where we feel bogged down by the guilt of our actions. “Alpha” calls upon the moments of reason in one’s life addressing the need to heal our soul (or rather, the soul of the main character in the song’s parent concept album). The antidote to all the negative feelings as revealed by the song is moving on! “Alpha” had its music video directed by Wes Richardson who has also worked with Skream and Between the Buried and Me.
#3- Make Total Destroy
The third pick on our ten best Periphery songs list is the ravishing hit “Make Total Destroy.” “Make Total Destroy” is the epitome of Periphery’s musicianship on the band’s sophomore studio album, Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal. The song oozes immense energy thanks to its rhythmic nature and fast tempo! “Make Total Destroy” has its lyrics alluding to how the world breathes down the human race’s necks.
“Marigold” is by far one of the best songs ever released by Periphery. The song is a fan-favorite track from the band’s fifth studio album Periphery III: Select Difficulty. “Marigold” combines masterful instrumentation and epic vocal delivery by Spencer Sotelo. An orchestral intro brings us to the melodic side of the band—Even after bringing in a blistering guitar attack, “Marigold” still feels more like a melodic metalcore song.
Let’s shift focus to Spencer’s vocal delivery on this song! Spencer’s vocal dexterity in this song explains why he has outlasted any lead vocalist who ever joined Periphery. In this song, Spencer blends the melodic croons of his clean and falsetto vocals with effective screams and growls. The melodic progressive metalcore influences of “Marigold” reminds us of “Flatline,” another impressive hit off the album that didn’t feature on our ten best Periphery songs.
#1- Icarus Lives!
Number one on our ten best Periphery songs list is the electrifying hit “Icarus Lives!” The song is the band’s signature track off its eponymous debut studio album. “Icarus Lives!” is a genre-defining musical gem that pushes the limits of progressive metal with its djent influences. The distortion of the guitar riffs in this audacious song is nothing less than amazing!
“Icarus Lives!” also features an awe-inspiring intro riff that showcases the band’s ability to craft catchy masterpieces. The lyrics of this song were penned by Casey Sabol, who was Periphery’s original lead vocalist. Three remixes of “Icarus Lives!” were featured on the band’s extended play Icarus EP.
Top 10 Periphery Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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