Periphery: Clear album review

Celeste Welshhons

Progressive metal band Periphery released their latest work, “Clear,” on January 28th. This is the band’s second EP and first release since their 2012 studio album “Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal.”

This EP is unique in a couple of different ways. First off, the band does not actually consider it an EP. The work lasts almost 30 minutes which is longer than the average EP, but much shorter than an album. Second, the songs were each created by a different member of the band aside from the opening “Overture” which ties everything together.

The “Overture” itself is unexpected to say the least. The first 30 seconds consist of a piano solo that only hints of something darker soon to come. The piano continues as drums are brought in, only to be faded out again in another 30 seconds.

The next thing you hear is the solo piano again, but this time it sounds like something you would hear in a western saloon before changing to a much softer tone. It makes two more transitions ending on a hopeful note.

Jake Bowen’s “The Summer Jam” is the first individual track, and the change between piano and metal is a bit of a head spinner. There is nothing too attention grabbing about this track, but it is a very enjoyable listen nevertheless. No kind of dirty vocals are brought into the picture until around the 90 second mark, and even then, they are not the predominant choice for the song.

The gentle ending of “The Summer Jam” is carried into the beginning of “Feed the Ground,” Matt Halpern’s contribution. This song really stuck out to me mainly because of the magnificent, heavy beat and impressive guitar work. The vocal range of Spencer Sotelo is phenomenal, and paired with all of the other components of the song, you will want to push the repeat button.

Misha Mansoor wrote the first instrumental entitled “Zero.” It is much easier to hear ties to the “Overture” in this track, most likely because there are no vocals getting in the way. The progression really shows the movement between main ideas, and again, this track just adds even more value to the EP as a whole. This break was well placed, especially since it led right into my favorite song, Spencer Sotelo’s “The Parade of Ashes.”

The intro took me by surprise for sure, and I thought it was going to be the flop of the album. It started out very different than anything else on the album thus far, but once I got to the chorus, it was love at first listen. Lyrics aside, the chorus is upbeat, and if you do not start dancing around in your seat, there might be something wrong with you.

“Extraneous” is the second instrumental, and Adam Getgood did a stellar job on the writing. Once again, it did not necessarily stand out, but it did really accentuate the bass which is not surprising. Overall it was a good addition. The heavy sound was a great counterpoint to the previous almost poppy “Parade of Ashes.”

The only track to actually noticeably bring a piano back in, “Pale Aura,” is a close second to “The Parade of Ashes” in terms of favorability. It starts in a pretty traditional metal manor, but ends up being quite mellow. At the beginning of the first chorus, the tone changes, and never goes back. The last 40 seconds serve as a wrap up of the EP as a whole, a great placement decision by the band.