I had assumed that the release following Periphery’s second full-length title, the group would be working under a fair bit of pressure.
After all, everyone would be expecting them to match the quality of This Time It’s Personal – so they were always in for a challenge with the followup.
But Periphery have sidestepped the shadow of their old record with Clear by allowing each member of the band the space to experiment on their own track. The result is an EP with remarkable depth and breadth, as each member is keen to demonstrate their writing talents and explore wildly different songwriting avenues from one another.
Overture is not, unlike the other tracks, the work of a single member, but is a gentle introduction to ease you into Clear. Though Overture is a nicely crafted track, The Summer Jam is where things really get going. Racing guitars and great drum fills set your heartbeat high, and in signature Periphery style, the riffs are extremely catchy whilst also being fairly technical, exploring various time signatures and rhythm figures.
If The Summer Jam is catchy, then Feed The Ground is a hook, line and sinker (in terms of catchiness – it loses some of The Summer Jam’s weight). Furiously dark verse riffs give way to a chorus which has the memorability of a pop tune – but none of the sugar. Zero draws on more electronics and even heavier guitar lines, while the rhythm section churns the centre of the ‘0’ into which we’re inevitably drawn.
The Parade Of Ashes is very different though; the chorus wouldn’t be out of place in a pop-punk track – a massive departure from their usual sound, but don’t expect Green Day. The mandatory Periphery heaviness isn’t that far away, and is just waiting to burst back onto the scene with the Meshuggah style groove of Extraneous. And just beyond that, you’ll find the mind-boggling Pale Aura which encompasses as many heavy styles as it can, before tapering off into a gentle synth outro.
As usual, the production on this release is fantastic. Nothing to really complain about, as Periphery have proved from day one that they were more than capable of their DIY approach.
It’s clear as day that Clear is just as important a release as Periphery III (Juggernaut?) is going to be.