.@planetmosh reviews the new release by .@PeripheryBand.
They’re not ones for keeping things simple, Periphery. This new release, Clear, which should not be considered an EP but not considered a full album either, is released on Monday via Sumerian Records. Produced by Top Secret Audio and Taylor Larsen, the half-hour record is an experimental affair, comprising of six main songs (each composed by one of the band members) and then all linked in together by the opening track, Overture, which holds elements of everything else present on the release. So they’re all related but different and we don’t know whether it should be called an EP or an LP. Confused yet?
What’s not confusing is the genius behind it. Guitarist Jake Bowen is right when he states that it’s rare for a band comprised entirely of people who are all capable of writing and producing music, and in some ways it holds an advantage over other solo releases – why spend time away from the band working on ten songs of your own and bringing out something that could very easily be more filler than killer, when you can give listeners a taste of your own writing style and put all of the best bits into one song? With regards to the one group track, Overture is rather schizophrenic – pianos set the tone before an explosion of guitars and drums leads back into mellow keys and then another explosion and THEN it settles down again. But don’t let this put you off; it makes sense once you’ve listened to it all.
The Summer Jam, written by the aforementioned Bowen, is a real technical anthem – bouncy and with a huge chorus, but with enough grit behind it to cause more than a few heads to bang along in time. Vocalist Spencer Soleto has rarely sounded better, his singing of the lyrics ‘Coldest nights sometimes give way to brighter skies of blue’ is nothing short of exceptional. Up next is Feed the Ground, a track written by drummer Matt Halpern which was originally intended for a side project he and Soleto set up called The Mothership. Understandably, therefore, the drums take a lot of precedence, but it’s ridiculously heavy with chugging guitar riffs that surge the track along quite beautifully. Furthermore, the chorus could quite easily be drawn from a current Bring Me the Horizon number which is not a bad thing at all given the quality of Sempiternal. The track segues very nicely into Zero, an instrumental by guitarist Misha Mansoor. Heavy again but also very melodic in places, this is technical wizardry at it’s finest; the little blips and buzzes are layered over a number of guitars that whilst distorted are so clear you can actually picture the band playing every single note. There’s even twin harmonies in places, something most bands find very hard to pull off unless their name happens to be Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. Not Periphery though.
The brainchild of Spencer is next, The Parade of Ashes. A rather interesting start to this one, with programming, smaller guitar sections and drums bringing in the vocals, both screamed and cleaned. It’s another metal stomper and gives the creator full reign to show off his range and talents. Once again, the chorus is incredibly catchy and lyrically it’s dynamite; ‘Fuck your theories, we are the way we are/The violence is out of control/If we paint the walls red, murder the innocent/we’re digging us a deeper hole’ sings Spencer with gusto and force. The penultimate track sees bassist Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood showcase his talents – he also provides guitars on Extraneous which at just under three-and-a-half minutes is the shortest song on the record besides Overture but is no less impressive; it’s another instrumental affair which dips and soars quite superbly yet holds your full attention. And then, bringing everything to a close is Pale Aura by guitarist Mark Holcomb. There’s more screamed vocals present than on any other song which, as you’d expect, fit in perfectly with the double-bass pedals and the crushing guitars going on around it. Still plenty of room for sing-a-longs and quieter moments though, the latter bringing Clear to a very satisfying close.
In closing, there was never a doubt that Periphery were exceptionally gifted when it came to creating music but in Clear they have shown off that, on some occasions, the whole is not always greater than the sum of its parts.
And what to call it? The band say that it is a ‘stopgap’ whilst they continue to write album number three.
Spencer Soleto – lead vocals, guitar
Misha Mansoor – guitar, programming, production
Jake Bowen – guitar, programming
Mark Holcomb – guitar
Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood – bass, guitar on Extraneous, programming, production
Matt Halpern – drums, percussion
- The Summer Jam
- Feed the Ground
- The Parade of Ashes
- Pale Aura