It was a big year for Periphery. In April, the progressive metal band revealed that they had split with longtime label Sumerian Records and would be releasing their next album via their own 3DOT Recordings. As of October, the group was wrapping up the studio sessions for the LP, which is due sometime in 2019. While working on new music with his band, guitarist Mark Holcomb (pictured above, second from left) has also spent 2018 absorbing a ton of music by a diverse range of other artists, some of whose influence may play out on Periphery's upcoming offering, even if only subconsciously. We asked Holcomb to share some of his favorite albums of the last 11 months and counting. Here is what he offered up.
This band is the biggest breath of fresh air, and one of the ballsiest examples of melding vastly different musical styles: slavery-era field music and extreme metal. I love it, but even if it isn't your cup of tea you've gotta applaud its originality.
Just another in a long line of genius releases by Ihsahn. I've been a die-hard fan of his since the early days of Emperor, and all of his solo records have been varying degrees of brilliant. He's so damn consistent.
HOOKS. This record is full of big hooks and no one does it better in electronic pop music.
A couple of my bandmates introduced me to the Midnight and I've been obsessed ever since. It's just really tasteful, catchy synthwave, and my No. 1 go-to driving music.
This band blew me away. My friend Liam [ex-Dillinger Escape Plan] plays bass in Azusa, and he sent me a link to this record and it totally caught me off guard. It features a couple members of Extol, so it has this original riffing style and tonality, and they have a female singer who screams and sings so it's all over the place. One of the coolest metal records I've heard in years.
This is the solo project of Emil Werstler, one of the top two or three guitarists I have ever heard. To call him a virtuoso would be unfair to him. But it's NOT a shred record. It's an avant-garde, part rock, part jazz, flat-out experimental trip. I don't fully know how to explain, but it requires a listen from anyone who appreciates musicians who attempt to push the boundaries.
A U.K.-based band who knows how to write big arena-rock hooks. Amazing production and mix on this, and the songs are concise and tightly written.
I'm a fanboy of Ghost, straight up. It puzzles me that some edgelord metalheads get so bent out of shape about this band. This band is all about clever melody and chord changes. Awesome production, to boot.
Jon Hopkins has such a fantastic sense of melody, sound design and programming that you almost come to expect genius from him. He's one of the very best at building a song patiently.
I JUST bought this album a couple days ago so it's still fairly new to me, but from what I've heard it sounds like more of the same 1975 that I love dearly, mixed in with some new elements. Their previous two records floored me so I've been anxiously awaiting this one.
I have some inner-Periphery bias here, but my other guitarists Misha and Jake made an electronic record that I love so much. I like to think of it as subdued electronic music with a sense of melody not too dissimilar from what you'd hear on a Periphery record.