Periphery are Prog-Metal masters, that there is no denying. With two great full-lengths under their belt (and an excellent E.P), Periphery have grown to be a band to look out for. With that in mind, there has been a lot of high expectations for their newest E.P. And it delivers on many levels. It's a difficult thing to describe when you listen to Periphery. Awesome? Amazing? Mindblowing? Well, they're all three of them. Mixing Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal together is a tough and daring thing to do and is something few bands before have ever attempted. For those who have, they never turn out all to good. However, Periphery have mastered the daring blend with expert perfection. This is a band who knows exactly what they are doing, how to do it and how to get it across to other people. It's inspiring and the band deserve the credit they get for what they do. Everything is done with expert precision and the talented musicianship is hard to ignore. Even if you don't like the band, you can not deny their talent.
Because this is Periphery, you know what to expect but not how it's going to sound. They're a band that is able to surprise with their growing musicianship and natural talent that is showcased upon every single release. 'Clear' starts off with a beautiful instrumental ('Overture') that is calm and melodic. It is soothing to hear and you wait for the kick-in. That arrives with 'The Summer Jam'. To describe this song you need to imagine catchy Punk Rock bands such as Bowling For Soup and The Offspring yet the riffing and drumming is heavier, more technical and a little on the verge of insane. It's odd to hear but yet it's catchy and downright terrific. It works to the very last millisecond. The talent is clear (no pun intended), showing how they can easily blend all styles of music into one and not make it seem forced, boring or repetitive, a marvel even by today's music standards.
The E.P delves deeper into downright mesmerizing with tracks 'Feed The Ground', 'Zero', 'The Parade Of Ashes' and 'Extraneous'. What makes every track so different yet still amazing is how different they all are from each other. Each track (with the exception of 'Overture') is written by a different member of the band, which adds more diversity and helps make sure that each track is unique. The different time signatures, riffs, song structures are something of a marvel, executed perfectly. The E.P ranges from upbeat Rock to heavy-as-hell Metalcore, and that is within one song. That is what makes this band so different from the rest. The diversity within each song is beyond anything any ordinary human mind could ever think of. And it works perfectly, forever keeping you engaged and constantly blowing your mind. It's sure to make your head spin and dazzle you as much as it may confuse you.
The feeling you get from such a band is hard to describe. It's something that you NEED to hear yourself. Only then can you understand how brilliant this E.P is. The instruments are utterly fantastic, with standard Rock beats and guitars being turned up to eleven and increasingly being spiced up to make sure it has your utmost attention. You get a terrific mix of progressive Rock beats to Djent-styled riffing and hard-hitting breakdowns. It's a marvellous treat that works well together. Another thing to mention is the terrific guitar solo in 'The Parade Of Ashes'. If there is one thing on this album that will make you feel the most emotion, it is that solo. Yes, there are other solos but none are as good and well executed as that one. It has to be one of the greatest solo's in a long while, with only few bands being able to craft solo's as good as that.
Another high point of this album is the vocals. They range from excellent Rock vocals to intense and jaw-dropping screams and growls. Spencer's range is downright incredible. This guy can reach high notes that are epic in measure and full of power. He doesn't sound like some little girl shouting down a microphone (ahem, Kellin Quinn) but instead charges his vocals to full power and gives the performance of a lifetime. Few vocalists can go from creating devastating growls and screams to suddenly singing with power and passion the way that Spencer can. In fact, I think it's been a long while since I've heard any vocals as incredible and sharp as his. This guy has a voice which only a master craftsman himself could have. It is... just monumental.
I genuinely have no idea how to sum this up. I've tried my hardest to explain the sound and the feelings conveyed throughout this album however I still can't give it justice enough. This is something you should, no NEED, to experience yourself. Even as a Periphery fan, you haven't heard anything like this before. This is a band that is consistent and only ever getting better as the time passes by. I'd love to say that this is their peak but at the same time, I hope it isn't because I know that these guys have probably only just begun to amaze us. This has been one heck of a difficult review to write but that may be just because this is one heck of an album. Before I finish up, I thought I should show you what I mean by the different styles incorporated by showing you who wrote each song. Seriously, there's no wonder why this is as great, as diversified and as addictive as this. So, here's the track-listing and who wrote what song on this album:
2. The Summer Jam (Written by guitarist Jake Bowen)
3. Feed The Ground (Written by drummer Matt Halpern)
4. Zero (Written by guitarist Misha Mansoor)
5. The Parade Of Ashes (Written by vocalist Spencer Sotelo)
6. Extraneous (Written by bassist Adam 'Nolly' Getgood, whom also produced the E.P)
7. Pale Aura (Written by guitarist Mark Holcomb)
Yep, each member wrote a song each. That's something downright incredible, no wonder this thing is so damn good. Oh wait, before I finish up (again), I want you look out for the hints of 'Overture' that appear throughout the rest of the E.P. You may not notice it at first but trust me, it's there. Again, something that is small yet amazing, making it feel like every song kind of continues or relates to the previous track. No THAT is musicianship ladies and gentleman. I bid you farewell and URGE you to listen to this. You shall not be disappointed.