Periphery – Clear


Artist

Album

Clear

Label

Roadrunner Records

Year

2014

For Fans Of

TesseracT - Meshuggah - Linkin Park

Summary

An interesting experiment from Periphery that certainly paid off

Rating

81 / 100

Clear’ is an interesting concept. It’s not often that a band like Periphery chooses to stray completely from their standard songwriting process in order to see what happens, but here we are. On this seven track EP, we see each band member contribute one track that they’ve written, and the result is a mix of different sounds that show what Periphery as a group are really capable of producing.

Intro track ‘Overture’ dances between solo classical piano parts and the type of full band audacity we expect from Periphery, and while it seems like just a cool little intro, it’s actually much more than that. Every song on this EP contains a melodic theme that is established in this track, and the band describe it as ‘the common thread that links all of the songs together.’ ‘The Summer Jam’ doesn’t do much to kick things off well for the EP. It’s not a bad song. In fact, the group show a great deal of skill as musicians on this track, it’s just incredibly forgettable. Whereas every other track on the EP offers something very significant, this offering will fall between the cracks, and isn’t likely to really stand on its own.

Fear not, the trend doesn’t follow throughout the rest of the EP. ‘Feed The Ground’ is an incredibly strong moment The rhythm section is the driving force behind this track (which isn’t particularly shocking, given that it was written by drummer Matt Halpern). The chorus is catchy and will stick with you for some time afterwards, and some cool lead guitar effects create a ‘synth-like’ sound in the background that really helps to thicken the texture of the track.

Zero’ is the first of two instrumental songs on the album, and is probably the most ‘Periphery-like’ track on this EP. It starts off with an intro, which sees layer upon layer of individual sounds almost fighting to be the center of attention, yet strangely, remaining entirely cohesive throughout. Once again, we see key songwriter of the track Misha Mansoor taking the spotlight, showing off what is probably the best guitar work you will hear on the whole EP.

Vocalist Spencer Sotelo contributes to the EP in the form of ‘The Parade of Ashes,’ which is frankly, a little bit left of field for the band. With a heavy electronic influence, the instrumentation places a strong emphasis on vocal delivery, and it honestly sounds like it could have been on either of Linkin Park’s first two albums. It bears that much of an influence from them. It doesn’t sound bad, in fact, quite the opposite, it sounds fantastic, although some Periphery fans might need to take some time to warm up to this one.

Extraneous’ sounds like Periphery hits Meshuggah, and it’s incredible. Again, we see a very strong nod towards the rhythm section, which is again, not particularly shocking given that this track was written by bass guitarist Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood. Nolly really takes the chance to shine on this track like nowhere else, experimenting with some less conventional methods of bass playing to achieve a really unique sound from his instrument that we don’t hear anywhere else.

Closing track ‘Pale Aura’ is another point that sounds a lot like previous Periphery material, which, again, is not a bad thing. We see some blisteringly heavy verses, and some strong vocal contrast from Spencer’s powerful screams compared to his perfectly executed cleans, and for most of the second half of this track, you’ll get to hear drummer Matt Halpern hitting the double kick at a speed that defies belief. It has to be heard to be believed, and the only way that it can really be described is superhuman.

Conclusion

Despite a rocky start, ‘Clear’ picks up to become an incredibly strong EP. Each member of the band shows themselves off, letting us know just how capable they are both when they take control as the centre of attention, and in more of a supporting role. All in all, a very strong release.

Tracklisting

  1. Overture
  2. The Summer Jam
  3. Feed The Ground
  4. Zero
  5. The Parade of Ashes
  6. Extraneous
  7. Pale Aura

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