Periphery are one of those bands, that come along and gets lumped into a fake sub genre with a bunch of other similar sounding bands by lazy journalists trying to create something to fill column inches. The difference between Periphery and all those other bands is the band’s ability to think outside the box and actually create something that makes them stand out from their peers. That was evident on both of their full length albums and continues to be evident on their new EP release “Clear”.
When I heard the band was releasing a new EP I was intrigued because I thought things had gone quiet on the Periphery front, but I was excited to see what they would come back with. Then I started hearing mutterings that this was going to be a more experimental type of thing than their previous stuff and for some reason I started thinking it was going to be really ambient and trippy, a bit more stripped back and out there. How wrong I was! In fact, this may be the heaviest thing they have ever put out, as well as being the most melodic and direct as well.
With that said, the experimental part comes into play when you understand the writing process behind the EP itself. The band took it upon themselves to write a song each on the EP to showcase the 6 different sides of the band but giving each track its own distinctive personality reflective of the person who composed it. ‘Overture’ the two minute instrumental is the only track composed by the whole band here. However, elements of that track can be found in the other 6 tracks, creating a link between all of them, despite every single track here sounding very very different than the one before it.
The great thing about Periphery is the fact that they somehow manage to cram so many different ideas and styles into a single song than most bands do in a lifetime. Take a track like ‘Summer Jam’ for example, this could be a top 40 metal track, it’s got a phenomenal hook, bone crunching guitars and is under four minutes long. ‘Feed the Ground’ is just brutal, a straight up pounder that just beats you over the head. ‘Parade of Ashes’ is the by product of an Anchorman style gang fight between Nine Inch Nails, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Dream Theater all topped off with Muse style vocals, it is disgustingly heavy, yet has an incredible disco synth beat and some quality pop vocals and yes it is as brilliant as it sounds.
You have token instrumentals in the form of ‘Zero’ and ‘Extraneous’ which do their own thing, but unless you are really into instrumentals they will be the moments when you find yourself reaching for the skip button. Thankfully, these tracks don’t bring the overall quality down, with that said the real meat of the EP is in the tracks mentioned earlier in this review. They show not only how much Periphery have come on as a band after their full length albums, but also hint at what greatness lies ahead for them on album number three. If it is half as good as these tracks suggest it could be, it may well end up being the album that takes Periphery onto that next level. Until that time comes, what we have here is a brilliant mind bending stop gap release from one of modern metals most exciting breakthrough bands.