Periphery: Clear [EP]

Ever since Periphery stirred up the metal community with their ground-breaking debut album, Periphery, it has been hard to not talk about this band because of what they’ve done and all of the other projects that they are involved in. For example, the bands Juggernaut, The Mothership, and The Haunted Shores all contain some of the members of Periphery and have also worked extensively with bands like Sky Eats Airplane, Tesseract, Veil of Maya, Stray from the Path, and Animals as Leaders, further gaining a mutual respect amongst many of the modern progressive metal bands.

The band have gone through many lineup changes before the first album even came out and have never stopped refining their sound. Even some of the EP’s that have come out in between records have allowed for some experimentation for the next record (I talk as if there were more than one example, but I’m really just referring to the Icarus EP and now this I guess). I think the Clear EP, is a healthy way of allowing every one in the band to express themselves creatively, while still putting it under the Periphery banner, as opposed to taking time off and making solo records. With the exception of the “Overture,” the entire EP contains just one song in which one member of Periphery was the main songwriter. This allows for some interesting interpretations and re-imaginings of Periphery‘s sound.

The first song on the EP is “The Summer Jam,” which was written by guitarist and programmer, Jake Bowen. Right off the bat, I thought this was a much brighter side to what this band are capable of and yet, still very heavy. “Feed the Ground” was written by drummer Matt Halpern and I think it is widely considered to be everyone’s favorite on this EP. It’s one of the heaviest songs that Periphery have put their names on and is much more direct and straightforward than some of their other songs that have more progressive song structure. “Zero” was written by Misha “Bulb” Mansoor, who writes most of the music in general, which is probably why I didn’t particularly care for this track. It’s an instrumental, which I don’t mind, but I felt like I had already heard the song and wasn’t really going anywhere for me. Still an absolutely heavy track with all the hallmarks of a Periphery song. “The Parade of Ashes” was written by vocalist Spencer Sotelo and is the one that I think really goes out in left-field as far as what this band have done in the past. It’s much more electronically driven, which is a little new for Periphery and has a pop-like, almost “dancy” chorus to it. The next track is “Extraneous,” which was written by Adam “Nolly” Getgood, who usually plays bass, but played guitar on this track. This is an instrumental as well and to me, also sounded like a Periphery-by-numbers kind of song and didn’t really excite me like some of the other tracks. The final song on the EP was written by other guitarist Mark Holcomb and is called “Pale Aura.” This song also plays with different song structures, Spencer does some new vocal tricks, and is a fitting end to a very interesting and well-rounded EP.

I think an EP is the only way one can get away with doing something like this and I think many fans will be very receptive to this. This is a very healthy way of allowing everyone’s creative voice to be heard, while still keeping it in the Periphery catalog, and I think this will help to further influence the song-writing on the next record.

Luke Helker

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