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Periphery - Clear CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.05 | 22 ratings

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3 stars Transparently the Same

Ah, Periphery, my favourite band that I hate for the reason their fans love them, and love them for the reason their fans hate them. For those who don't know, I hate Periphery's instrumentals, but I love Spencer Sotelo's vocals.

Well, his clean ones at least, I'm still not really a fan of his screams, but I never really have warmed to harsh vocals, despite all the metal I listen to. I'll never understand why anyone holds the opposite opinion, Periphery's instrumentals are just so messy and ugly, and Spencer's clean vocals are just so catchy and melodious, but I know for a fact that I'm in the minority.

So I guess I've come to decide that my opinion on a Periphery release is directly proportional to the number of songs that Spencer gets a decent belt going on the vocals, and inversely proportional to the number of seconds in which we can hear the instruments, so I guess I'm pretty divided on this new Clear EP. And yes, Periphery, this is an EP, not a bloody 'experiment', because let's face it, there's absolutely nothing experimental in this. Yeah sure, the way they composed it is kinda cool, with one member getting the helm on a track each, but this is basically the same sound as This Time It's Personal, only less good, because there's less of Spencer being catchy.

I've got to admit though, I do like the Overture on this, at least for the parts when it's being melodic and cool and not djenty and repetitive. I feel it's honestly a bit short, however, and they oversold it by saying there are elements of every song in it, because I can't hear either of the great melodies in "Feed The Ground" and "The Parade of Ashes", but I admire their use of piano here in the intro, and it actually had me a bit more excited for this EP when I first heard it. The overture, although it contains some moments of Periphery's usual djentiness, is probably the first time I've actually enjoyed a Periphery instrumental part, but I'm almost definitely biased because piano is my favourite instrument.

Amongst the six main tracks of this EP, we have two instrumentals, one penned by lead man and founder Misha Mansoor, and the other by Nolly Getgood. Nolly's track, "Extraneous" is pretty inoffensive, I can't really complain or praise it, but Misha's track, which for some retarded reason is the longest here, is pretty much Periphery at their worst. The only thing that would make this worse is if Spencer was doing his metalcore scream all over this like they did on the debut. The guitar tone here is the djentiest on the EP, the riffs are the sloppiest, and the solos are awkwardly placed and strange sounding as usual.

But the other tracks, like on This Time It's Personal, are completely saved by Spencer and his fantastic clean vocals. Spencer's own track, "The Parade of Ashes", is naturally the least djenty, opting more for electronics and catchy pop-punk melodies, and it really just feels like the chugs are just there to fit the overall sound. The chorus is infectiously catchy, although the edgy lyrics and screams near the end nearly kill it. It's not quite as catchy, however, as the chorus from Matt's track "Feed The Ground", which is probably the catchiest thing the band has ever done. Unfortunately, the rest of "Feed The Ground" is possibly the heaviest this record gets, dissolving regularly into straight metalcore, and although the regular inclusion of the chorus saves it, I can't really feel most of the track.

The other two tracks, "The Summer Jam" by Jake Bowen and "Pale Aura" by Mark Holcolm both feature large clean segments from Spencer, but neither of them have the hooks that the other tracks have, making them fall into mediocrity a bit. "The Summer Jam" has a nice vocal part for the verse, but there's a little background riff that really gets on my nerves, probably because of the striking similarity with Kanye West's "Gorgeous".

Clear is a nice little EP from Periphery that more or less continues what This Time It's Personal began, although as usual, I find Periphery's music less that enjoyable unless Spencer is singing at the top of his lungs. I'm sure the fanboys will find something to rave about here, but this isn't a significant release for these guys, I'm hoping their next full length is a bit more.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Gallifrey | 3/5 |


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