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LIVE REVIEW: Periphery @ The Ritz, Manchester

PERIPHERY have risen to the top of progressive metal tree in their 12 year career. With consistently superb studio material and a solid live reputation, thanks to their complicated and vast soundscape, the American sextet have grown to become the driving force in the modern progressive metal scene. On the back of last year’s successful Periphery III: Select Difficulty, the band have embarked to continue this solid live reputation through a extensive European tour. We witnessed the band’s performance in Manchester, one of two UK shows, to see how they got on.

Destrage live @ The Ritz, Manchester. Photo Credit: Evangeline Parkinson Photography
Destrage live @ The Ritz, Manchester. Photo Credit: Evangeline Parkinson Photography

Opening proceedings was Italian progressive metallers DESTRAGE had the monumental task of warming up the crowd to the main event. The five piece from Italy have been bubbling away under the surface of the progressive metal landscape for over a decade now and their opening performance showcased a band who have honed their craft and gave a truly professional and tight performance. Dizzying dual riffing from guitarists Matteo Di Gioia and Ralph Salati were the focus point here and the intricacies of DESTRAGE‘s sound came to life in the live environment whilst vocalist Paolo Colavolpe was commendable in his vocal deliveries throughout the band’s opening set. A fine start indeed for a band that will have surely gained some new fans.

Rating: 8/10

The Contortionist live @ The Ritz, Manchester. Photo Credit: Evangeline Parkinson Photography
The Contortionist live @ The Ritz, Manchester. Photo Credit: Evangeline Parkinson Photography

THE CONTORTIONIST have been in the thick of it within the progressive metal scene for years now. Sharing the stage with the movement’s giants such as TESSERACT, AFTER THE BURIAL, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and indeed PERIPHERY has certainly helped THE CONTORTIONIST stake a claim within the style.

Unfortunately however, the band’s performance as lead support to PERIPHERY lacked enough spark for the THE CONTORTIONIST to truly leave a lasting impression. Whilst the band did display aspects of quality of their vast soundscape in the live environment with Michael Lessard‘s clean vocal deliveries excelling thanks to the melodic framework from the band’s melodic dual guitarwork and Eric Guenther‘s keyboards, when THE CONTORTIONIST flowed into their heavier arsenal of sound, this is where the band faltered. Chugging riffs did pack pockets of momentum but were largely forgetful and lacked that killer punch to really leave a lasting impact. It was disappointing and whilst the band did display glimpses of potential, these moments were few and far between, resulting in THE CONTORTIONIST giving a performance that was largely forgetful.

Rating: 5/10

Periphery live @ The Ritz, Manchester. Photo Credit: Evangeline Parkinson Photography
Periphery live @ The Ritz, Manchester. Photo Credit: Evangeline Parkinson Photography

The last few years have been incredibly fruitful for PERIPHERY. 2016’s mammoth double album Juggernaut: Alpha & Omega and last year’s Periphery III: Select Difficulty has propelled the band to new heights and their headlining performance at The Ritz showcased a band at the top of their game. Consistently throughout their set, the band excelled at creating a vast, intricate and utterly satisfying soundscape. The trickery of the band’s three guitarists was wonderfully executed as the band’s thick djent tones resonated consistently across the crowd whilst Misha Mansoor‘s lead guitar licks on The Way The News Goes… was a delight upon the ears.

Whilst it may be disappointing that only one song from Periphery II made an appearance in the band’s setlist, the focus here was on PERIPHERY‘s recent studio output and here, the band seemed to only excel further as the band stepped up a gear. From the earth-shattering tones of Flatline inciting chaos to Spencer Sotelo‘s soaring vocal deliveries on Remain Indoors, each song the band unleashed only reinforced the band’s dedication to executing a precise and skillful live performance. Sotelo acted as the glue that held the band’s dazzling sound together as the frontman oozed enthusiasm and delivered a solid performance of his trademark growls and soothing cleans across the band’s headlining performance. Indeed, PERIPHERY more than showcased why they are considered such a special band within progressive metal and from the adrenaline-inducing opener of A Black Minute across to the emphatic and soaring closure of Lune, the band displayed a performance of sheer quality; one which truly cements PERIPHERY‘s place at the top of the tree of progressive metal.

Rating: 9/10

Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from Evangeline Parkinson Photography here:

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