Periphery – Clear
Reviewed by Mark Nagy
So who likes djent prog? I find myself enjoying it more and more these days after major breakthroughs from TesseracT and Intronaut, and I know I wasn’t alone last year, especially with how popular the latest TesseracT was. Periphery, or more specifically the band’s founder Misha Mansoor, was pivotal in the development of this rapidly emergent subgenre. However, on the latest EP/brief album, Mansoor only has one songwriting credit.
In fact, what makes Clear so interesting is that there are 6 songs plus an overture, with each of those 6 songs being written by a different member of the band. More remarkable still is the consistent quality of the music throughout. Every song is memorable, and offers a full showcase of the band’s talents. The ability to write songs that, in a balanced fashion, display so much vocal, drumming, and guitar talent that is both rhythmically and melodically interesting is what has helped bring djent into popularity in the progressive metal world. Additionally, the input of other band members pushes them into fusion territory that is not typical of the band.
Periphery appealed to me at first for many of the same reasons TesseracT did: I’m a fan of how the rhythm guitars sound, and contrasting that against upper register clean vocals is a great sound. The occasional polyrhythms support a lot of the band’s unique melodies, and the fact that the movement was started by guys that doubled as guitarists and producers means that there is a lot of focus on unique and distinct guitar tones. Periphery has all of that, and actually surpasses TesseracT’s latest album, if for no other reason than for having created a more musically diverse record.
Periphery excels at throwing a lot of different sounds at the listener in a package that is still remarkably tight, and fairly easy to listen to and enjoy. At only 30 minutes, this is a very quick but impactful ride of a record. Even though it technically qualifies as something of a beefy EP, it’s the superior kind, that contains completely original and exclusive content. With a full length coming, hopefully, by the end of the year, I absolutely endorse getting your hands on Clear, and if you’ll excuse me now, I’m going to go get Periphery’s back catalog to see what I’ve been missing out on.
This is a great entrance point for Periphery, presenting listeners with a compact and diverse record that has exceptional melodic and rhythmic grasp. A short release of this caliber is rare, but for 30 minutes, it packs a lot of punch.
4.25 // 5