Periphery – Icarus Lives! (EP)


Artist

Album

Icarus Lives! (EP)

Label

Roadrunner Records (AUS)

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

Meshuggah - TesseracT - Animals As Leaders

Summary

Merely an appetiser for future offerings

Rating

72 / 100

Draw a line through this and forget about analysing ‘Icarus Lives!‘ as a new album. This EP is merely an adjunct. A supplement, if you will. An impressive one yes, but one not intended to invite new fans in. Rather just entertain current listeners. This isn’t a bad thing at all. It just feels fitting that some sort of musical disclaimer come attached. If you are unfamiliar with these Maryland upstarts don’t start here. Pick up, listen to and absorb last year’s important debut album.

Although the band itself had been floating around for some years, Periphery‘s aforementioned, self-titled studio album was arguably 2010’s best find, with the sextet establishing themselves as breakthrough. A support slot with popular math metallers The Dillinger Escape Plan certainly endeared and a penchant for Meshuggah like polyrhythmic song construction certainly didn’t hurt either. While last year a game of word association with Periphery would’ve drawn a vague response, 2011’s equivalent seemingly draws sustained, justified and favourable interest.

Yes, there is strong, obvious similarities with Swedish pioneers Meshuggah but rest assured this isn’t a carbon copy. If you want to listen to heavy, technical stuff, good listen to Meshuggah. They are peerless and do that sound so effectively and without sounding pandering, quite brilliantly. But it’s worth noting, Periphery present something unique too. A musical quality sadly lacking in today’s climate of derivative junk. Asking Alexandria, we’re looking at you.

On ‘Icarus Lives! EP‘, ‘Frak the Gods‘, along with a few others, is essentially the only ‘new’ offering. But once again this term is used loosely. The instrumental version has existed for a few years now. Spencer Sotelo‘s soft, lighter crooning has drawn ire previously but this has always been a silly point of contention. On ‘Frak the Gods‘, the contrastive vocal range makes the track, particularly in the chorus. While opener, ‘New Groove‘ is just that. A brief, instrumental, djent-heavy groove to begin proceedings with. ‘Eureka‘ is a little hit and miss but still performed with skill and precision.

Remixes are always going to divide listeners. These particular remixes are all about experimentation and share more in common with rave and house themes than anything else. It pretty much comes down to whether this is your cup of tea or not?

As a side note, if Youtube comments are to be believed, Matt Halpern may look like an extra from Jersey Shore when fashioning a wife-beater and backwards baseball cap but his drumming is of the highest order. It’s open to debate, but Halpern and BTBAM‘s Blake Richardson are fast becoming this generation’s version of Haake and Portnoy.

Icarus Lives!‘ is adequate but casting an eye forward, a sophomore album is where the interest lies. The talent is there, the potential evident, let’s see this expanded in full-length form.

Conclusion

Icarus Lives! (EP)’ is a contrasting, nine-track, intermediate offering that contains plenty of the band’s djent-inspired grooves juxtaposed with differing remixes. It’s not intended to have the same impact as a studio album. The band’s trademark sounds are still strong, let us just wait for a new full-length now.

Tracklisting

1. New Groove
2. Frak The Gods
3. Jetpacks Was Yes! (v2.0)
4. Icarus Lives!(v2.0)
5. Icarus Lives! (Bulbous Remix)
6. Icarus Lives! (Zedd Remix)
7. Icarus Lives! (PeteyG Remix)
8. Captain On
9. Eureka!

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