Periphery has been my favorite progressive band since the release of their first album back in 2010, and now, two years later, they have managed to remain in that spot (although Volumes did give them a run for their money). With Periphery II: This Time it's Personal, the band has managed to not only shift their sound slightly, but also retain what made their first album great.
The first thing that I noticed about this album was that the vocals, both clean and harsh, have improved immensely. The clean singing explores a lot more range than on their debut and the screams sound a lot more crisp and heavy. To be honest, the vocals were one of the highlights to me throughout this album. They're just that good and have improved that much.
This album has also shifted Periphery's overall sound quite a bit. It's a lot more polished and is much better written than their debut, and while that may seem hard to believe, it's the truth. Everything is put together better and sounds perfect. The music shift also seems to match the clean singing a lot better than their other releases, but that may also be due to just how much those have improved as well. There's also a lot more ambient parts throughout the album than Periphery's older stuff, and the transitions to them are as good as ever. Guitars still shred throughout the album and a lot of the solos are really spectacular. And, as to be expected, the drumming is also very good.
If there's one gripe I have with this, it would be the length. Clocking in at just over an hour, some people may get bored with it by the end. However, if you're a Periphery fan, the long length is nothing surprising and probably won't turn you away. As I've said numerous times, this is a great album and has improved on everything that Periphery already did well before. They really stepped up on this album and showed what they were all about.