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Periphery - "Clear" (CD)

Periphery - "Clear" CD cover image

"Clear" track listing:

1. Overture
2. The Summer Jam
3. Feed The Ground
4. Zero
5. The Parade of Ashes
6. Extraneous
7. Pale Aura

Reviewed by on February 19, 2014

"While the band states this is a side interlude in sound and not a proper full-length in its discography, 'Clear' stands on its own as a knockout release that successfully blends extreme and mainstream in a way that will be pleasing to both sides."

It hasn’t been that long since Periphery broke onto the scene – just around the time the term “djent” was entering the collective metal consciousness – but the band has already risen incredibly high, even getting on the Summer Slaughter tour. Now with several releases under its belt, the band has decided to take a musical detour in a different direction, letting each member of the band write a separate song to make up “Clear.”

Despite the varied lineup of song writers, “Clear” flows together incredibly well from opening track “Overture” (which is exactly the grandiose instrumental track the name would imply) to ending song “Pale Aura.” The release as a whole strikes a strong balance between metal and a popular rock sound that will work for fans of Chapter 14. “Clear” is also an excellent length for a foray into this style. At somewhere between and EP and a full album, it offers enough to satisfy but not so much as to get old or repetitive.

Most of the vocals are on the radio-friendly side, more in the vein of pop-punk or melodic hardcore, but if you are willing to not automatically hate something just because it’s not extreme, you’ll find these vocals fit the music and provide a well-rounded sound. Unlike some other forays into less heavy music in recent memory – Thomas Giles from Between the Buried and Me, the latest album from Cynic, and so on – this is still clearly metal the whole way through, regardless of how mainstream the vocals get. A higher level of technicality in the guitars and bass is always present, creating an overall math-metal vibe, even on tracks like the instrumental “Extraneous” or the catchy “Parade of Ashes.”

While the band states this is a side interlude in sound and not a proper full-length in its discography, “Clear” stands on its own as a knockout release that successfully blends extreme and mainstream in a way that will be pleasing to both sides.

Highs: Technical metal meets clean vocals and a catchy vibe.

Lows: The mainstream vocals and slightly different approach on each song many not work for everyone.

Bottom line: Periphery hits a fantastic balance between melodic and extreme in this latest outing.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)