Periphery Members Explain What They Dislike About ’Djent’ Genre Name, Recall How Labels Didn’t See Potential in Them

Three guitar players of progressive metal band Periphery — Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen, and Mark Holcomb — reflected on the modern musical movement that’s known as “djent.” The label, which is used for certain modern prog metal bands, got some negative reputation over the years, even earning somewhat of a meme status in a way. That’s probably why the guys from Periphery decided to name their latest album “Periphery V: Djent Is Not a Genre.”

Speaking to in a recent interview, the three of them reflected on the genre’s reputation with Misha Mansoor jokingly saying:

Djent is not a genre – it’s a lifestyle! I just love the idea that it might say on some database somewhere: ‘‘Periphery V: Djent Is Not a Genre.‘ Genre: Djent.’ It’s the little things in life.”

“Karnivool are one of my favorites of all time, but that is a terrible name!”

Mark Holcom chimed in and shared another band name that he doesn’t really like:

“Can I give you the best example of that? Korn.”

Going back to the djent issue, Jake Bowen reflected on the album’s creative process, saying:

“I should add that it probably took us the length of writing the album, which was close to three years, to come up with ‘Djent Is Not a Genre.’ That was the only idea we had where we all just weren’t like, ‘Urgh!’

Periphery - Atropos (Official Music Video)

Mark then added:

“I feel like we have to preface our reasoning [for calling the album that] with the fact that we like to lovingly take the piss out of our fans. Lovingly!”

As far as the genre itself goes, Jake explained that he had some conflicting feelings about what we know as “djent.” He said:

“I’ve had various opinions on ‘djent’. We started out as a progressive metal band in our heads and then got put in this thing. To me, it sounded weird. It didn’t have the sort of aesthetic I was hoping for, if it ever happened where we got put into some new genre or criteria.”

Periphery - Wildfire (Official Music Video)

Nonetheless, Jake stopped taking the whole thing too seriously, comparing it to grunge. He continued:

“But, over the years, I’ve lightened up on it. Look at grunge. I think grunge is an incredibly stupid name for a genre but, when you hear ‘grunge’, you think of Nirvana and Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden: all these world-class, history-altering bands.”

As the article points out, djent wasn’t necessarily bound to a specific geographical location as was the case with most movements within rock and metal music. Instead, djent was spread through the wonders of the internet, namely the most important social media of all time — MySpace. Recalling the good old days, Misha Mansoor discussed what the older generations of musicians didn’t understand about them and why they never took them seriously, explaining:

“It was an interesting time because this was right when things were transitioning. I was one of the guys on that first wave where it was like, ‘Hey, studios aren’t necessary anymore. Budgets are going down, record sales aren’t a big factor: the entire nature and budget of a record deal is changing.’”

PERIPHERY - Marigold (Official Music Video)

“It was so weird because all the younger people at these labels were like, ‘You gotta sign Periphery,’ but all the higher-ups who were a bit older – and who saw the internet and MP3s as a fad, sort of hopefully – didn’t quite understand us.”

“They made as much clear both in what they said to us and the offers they gave us. We actually got a lot of offers but they were all terrible. For about three years, I was just turning down record deals.”

As Mark Holcomb also recalled during this interview, the band initially had different plans for the “Periphery V” album. He offered:

“We originally wanted to make ‘Periphery V’ a follow-up to ‘Juggernaut,’ but that was scrapped pretty quickly. Then the discussion came: ‘Do we keep some of these references?’ One of the things I’ve always appreciated about the sort of bands I look up to – like Devin Townsend, my favorite musician ever – is that for no rhyme or reason, he’ll reference a song he put out 18 years ago.”

Periphery - Zagreus (Official Audio)

“That to me always dripped with this sort of freedom he had with his extensive back-catalog. It seemed like this unattainable place that I wanted to get to one day as a musician.”

Elaborating further why the idea to do a sequel to “Juggernaut” was abandoned, Mark said:

“Writing a concept record is challenging, as we remember from doing ‘Juggernaut.’ You have to adhere to so many different criteria: not only are you writing songs on a record that should flow organically, but you have to make them fit into a narrative. You have to have the lyrics match up and tell a story as the music exists underneath it and does a similar thing. It’s a long, torturous process.”

Everything Is Fine: The Making of Periphery V (Trailer)

The writing process for the new album “Periphery V: Djent Is Not a Genre” started during the pandemic and lockdowns. Misha Mansoor recalled how challenging the whole thing was:

“We had all these ‘almost ideas’, but we needed to see if Spencer liked them and if we could actually arrange them into a song. We had all these sections of songs that [by themselves] didn’t mean anything.”

Mark also reflected on some of the big challenges that the band faced by saying:

“It was a double-edged sword because we knew we were taking a long time on this record and our fans were getting antsy. It drove us to the edge of sanity taking so long. But I think this was the only way to do it, considering the point in time at which we started the record. If we had to rush a record out to meet some kind of deadline, that would’ve been difficult.”

Periphery - "Wildfire" (Partial Guitar Playthrough) | Mark Holcomb | PRS Guitars

Misha also added:

“Ultimately, if we’re not happy with it, the album doesn’t come out. We were being very hard on ourselves but that’s how we end up with an album we can be genuinely proud of. That was the only acceptable end goal. Commercially, we’ll take whatever we get, man. I don’t wanna speak for the others, but…”

Photo: Ekaterina Gorbacheva


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.