Maryland based progressive metal band Periphery recently released their sophomore album, ‘Periphery II: This Time It's Personal,' and it showcases their knack for balancing atmospheric sounds with some heavy riffs.

Periphery let loose right out of the gate with the first track ‘Muramasa,’ which starts off with electronic elements and auto-tune-y vocals but amps up with impressive vocals and riffs not to mention booming bass lines.

‘Have a Blast’ starts off with an interesting violin melody and then goes into a bubbly electronic sound which sounds like an '80s video game. This all leads into incredible guitar work by Guthrie Govan, giving the song an experimental jazzy vibe to it.

The harmonious vocals of Spencer Sotelo add to the dreamy elements of the song as he sings the chorus, “And it's the thrill of life that enables us to flow / Locked in the spirit's line / Souls entwine to journey on as one / I guess it's the fear of all that keeps us on the road / Locked in the spirit's line / Souls entwine to journey on as one.”

Hard-hitting tracks such as ‘Facepalm Mute’ and ‘Ji’ will definitely get fans bouncing during Periphery’s live show as they're complete with blistering riffs, crashing cymbals and clean choruses mixed with lethal growls.

Meanwhile, tunes such as ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’ and ‘Scarlet’ display Periphery’s versatility, showing off some soulfulness as Sotelo hits some seriously high notes.

‘Erised’ features a guest solo by Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and the tune is also one of the softest songs on the record, providing a nice balance after aggressive tracks such as ‘Ragnarok’ and the album's first single, ‘Make Total Destroy.’

‘Froggin Bullfish’ has many layers and plays with pace and tempo, taking your eardrums on a rollercoaster ride. The originality and sheer experimental guitar work of Misha Mansoor and Mark Holcomb not only on this track but as a whole on this record is nothing short of refreshing.

Songs such as ‘Mile Zero’ which features guitarist Wes Hauch and ‘Luck as a Constant’ start off with rhythmic riffs and the songs as a whole could best be described as melodic pandemonium. Once again in Sotelo’s screams are enough to start some bloody mosh but when he sings the verse in ‘Luck as a Constant,’ as follows,“If you love the guilt then let it die / A life kept so clean / Will measure the price of misery / If you love the guilt then let it die / In silence we will remain,” it’s soft enough to warm the hearts of even the toughest metal heads.

The album ends with ‘Masamune.' which combines atmospheric sounds, compelling riffs and intricate drum patterns. Not enough can be said about Sotelo’s towering vocals as he belts out “Cast away / I feel the heavens slowly turning gray / Colors seem to fade / As the morning star surrounds the angels sing.”

All in all, Periphery deliver a very solid sophomore effort with ‘Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal.'