Periphery conjure up a dark vision and set the bar high with their magnum opus – Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega
Even though they are often labeled as a Djent band, Periphery have always defied standard categorizations by constantly refining their sound over the course of the band’s history. While there are plenty of “djenty” moments scattered throughout the eighty minutes of music that comprise the two Juggernaut albums, there are also numerous examples where they break out of the confines of the djent label and explore the uncharted territories of an infinite progressive landscape. It should be noted that Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega are not one double album. They represent Periphery’s third and fourth albums, respectively. Released separately, yet simultaneously, the two albums represent a concept and are meant to be listened to consecutively.
The Juggernaut albums are a paradox in the sense that, on the one hand they are richly complex in their compositional style, while on the other hand they represent what is arguably Periphery‘s most accessible music despite the dense progressive material. The concept itself is a complex story and one that is yet to be fully revealed by the band. Overall the subject matter is dark in nature, dealing with subjects like the occult, alienation, torment, ritual sacrifice and spiritual damnation. However, there are moments in the protagonist’s journey where we find a struggle to balance the dark elements with light, in the form of love, freewill, hope for redemption, and rebirth…at least that is one interpretation of the storyline. Unfortunately, there is no “Juggernaut for Dummies” resource available. The band will most likely reveal more details surrounding the story as time progresses. Fans who purchase the physical CDs will enjoy having a multi-page insert on each album that features lyrics as well as illustrations by Tim Swim, helping shed some light on the imagery of the album’s story. The cover illustrations were done by Justin Randall. There is also a DVD included with the Juggernaut: Omega CD entitled JuggerDoc, featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the band in the studio during the recording process.
Among the many highlights on the Juggernaut albums are the vocals. Spencer Sotelo‘s vocal range extends from extreme vocals to soaring falsetto, and injects the right amount of emotion over the technical precision of the compositions spanning the Juggernaut narrative. The band makes use of a “theme and variations” approach to the music on the two albums, reiterating and reshaping ideas and motifs throughout, both lyrically and melodically. An example of this can be found in the opening track of Juggernaut: Alpha, “A Black Minute” which foreshadows events that occur later in the story. The lyrics and melody are reintroduced on the opening track of Juggernaut: Omega, “Reprise,” although this time around there are slight differences in the lyrics suggesting events that have past, as well as a much slower tempo and minimal instrumentation.