Prog rock will probably never be “cool,” but right now it’s about as close as it has ever been, thanks in no small part to Periphery. The Maryland-based sextet are one of the leaders of a young generation of noodly virtuosos with a love of unconventional – and very lengthy – song structures (see Animals as Leaders, the Contortionist, TesseracT, Thank You Scientist, Volumes and many more). Once solely the province of shred nerds and gear heads, the band has rapidly expanded its audience in recent years and, as founder and guitarist Misha Mansoor recently told Rolling Stone with a laugh, “lately, we’ve even seen some females there who aren’t completely miserable.”
That trend should continue with the January 27th release of Periphery’s new double concept record, Juggernaut, which is being issued across two albums, Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega. The group’s most ambitious project yet, it features some of the band’s most accessible music; there’s plenty of the heavily syncopated Meshuggah-worshipping tech metal with which Periphery first made their name, but there’s also pulsing electronica, emo-inflected hard rock, spacey jazz-fusion and hooky acoustic pop – sometimes in the same song.
Appearing on Juggernaut: Alpha, “22 Faces” isn’t quite that free-wheeling and all-encompassing, but it is, says Periphery singer Spencer Sotelo, “a very schizophrenic track in nature as far as the structure and instrumentation goes. One minute it is ambient and pretty, and the next minute it is assaulting you from every which way.
“This track also goes right to the heart of the Juggernaut story and gives a good look at some of the conflicts that the main character has to endure,” he adds. “From all of us at the Periphery camp, we hope you guys enjoy this song!”
Hear it below. Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega are both available for pre-order on iTunes.