Clear review by Periphery

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jan 28, 2014
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.3 (92 votes)
Periphery: Clear

Sound — 8
Misha Mansoor formed Periphery in 2005 after garnering a lot of attention online with the music he was uploading on SoundCloud, forums and message boards. Since that time they have become well known for their strong djent and modern progressive sound, as well as each member's high level of skill on their instrument. The band created "Clear" while taking a break from working on their next full length release, though they have publicly stated they do not consider "Clear" as either an EP or a full length release, but believe it is instead something else. "Clear" was created by the band working together on an "overture" and then each member wrote a song with that "overture" as the common theme in all the songs. The EP contains 7 tracks with a runtime of just under thirty minutes. 

The EP opens up with the track "Overture," which is the only track on the EP that was written by the entire band and contains the musical theme that is the common element in each track. Next is "The Summer Jam" which was written by Jake Bowen, and has an almost standardized modern progressive feel to it. "Feed the Ground" is next up and was written by Matt Halpern. Of course, as Matt is the percussionist, this might explain why the song is really carried by the drums and bass on this track. This is also my favorite track from a vocal point of view, as well. "Zero" was written by Misha Mansoor, and so therefore sounds a lot like I'm used to Periphery sounding - I'm guessing because he has been, if not the sole then still the primary creative force since Periphery formed. "The Parade of Ashes" is next up, which was written by vocalist Spencer Sotelo, and what I learned from this track is that Spencer is a fan of NIN. I enjoyed this track quite a lot. "Extraneous" was written by bassist, "Nolly" Getgood, who actually plays guitar on this track. This track definitely had the most unique vibe to it from the entire EP. "Pale Aura" was written by Mark Holcomb, and has an almost -core feel to it. It is still a good track. Overall, the mixing is freakin' awesome and the songs are well crafted and engaging.

Lyrics — 8
Spencer Sotelo has really shown that he isn't a one trick pony - I guess as there are multiple points of view being represented on this EP, he has to stretch to each person's vision. I don't have anything negative to say about this section, and was really shown that Spencer was a better vocalist than I had previously given him credit for. As an example of the lyrics, I'm going to give some lines from the track "Feed the Ground": "Cold embrace, like these old wings set ablaze/ Old wings set ablaze/ Summon the violence to end our pain, call out/ Two future brethren will erase the stains/ Tonight we'll eradicate the beacon/ We'll put the lights out and bend to their knees/ Ignite the flames and burn with rage/ Shots fired and I've got a f--king reason/ To suffocate when the breath leads to treason/ Cut the ties/ Collect what's mine/ Burn everything and feed the f--king ground/ Bound by fate, all lives stain/ Last chance to medal with the agony/ Now choose your side/ Summon the violence to end our pain, call out/ Two future brethren will erase the stains."

Overall Impression — 9
I really like the idea of what Periphery did with "Clear," by giving each member their own song to utilize a common theme it kind of gives you a peek into each of their heads to see where they're coming from musically as individuals. My favorite tracks from the EP are "Feed the Ground," "Zero" and "Extraneous." This is a nice appetizer as we wait for the next main course, "Juggernaut."

70 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Great EP. The unrelated tracks flow together so well. I don't particularly like the instrumental tracks but listening to the whole album it somehow flows so well and sounds so right. Being singular writers you can also hear the influences from each guy a lot better, and I think that's really cool. You go "oh that's like Slipknot/NIN/etcetc" but not in a shitty way because it's very temperamental - pushing the "experimental release" thing makes this a really fun record to listen to
    I thought this was quite the piece of greatness. When I first listened to the EP, I wasn't too sure what to make of it (being a big Periphery fan), but after a good few listens over again, it really hit me. Fantastic piece of work!
    Spencer's track is my favorite, probably because it's the most varied stylistically from the rest of the album. It was really refreshing to hear a track like that and, as someone who also loves NIN, I really really enjoyed Parade of Ashes. Mark's track was excellent too and the whole Haunted Shores feel really shines through. I adore Mark's riffing and his utilization of big chords within riffs in Pale Aura are awesome. You can immediately tell what Mark's contributions are to Periphery (Scarlet is one of those examples) and most of the change from Periphery I to Periphery II's sound is due to his contributions if you ask me.
    I wish people would remember that Nolly was the guitarist in Red Seas Fire before joining Periphery.
    This band gives me something to believe in when it comes to great music. As well as the creativity aspect of this release.
    I like the instrumentals as stand-alone tracks, but do wish there were vocals on them for this project. Especially Extraneous. So much potential in that track. Reminds me of the original Scarlet. Not in sound, really, but just something about it. Great song. Good solid batch of songs in general, and I can't wait to hear the next full-length. The vocals are maturing and the band is getting tighter. Good stuff.
    I really enjoy this for what it is: An experiment. Periphery have proven to me once again that they're more than capable of writing incredible music.
    Another interesting fact is that the physical copies had a clear cover. Clever.
    Another interesting fact is that they ripped that idea off Kanye West and if you're ripping off Kanye then you really must be running out of ideas
    SOAD did it with "Steal This Album" when Kanye was still living in his parent's mansion.
    Oh, that's right! I wouldn't be surprised if a handful of bands and artists have done it even earlier, but I think Periphery is the only to have a reference to the title of the EP.
    Exactly, I remember reading somewhere that SOAD did no cover for the album to make it appear more like a ripped bootleg cd. So yeh it kinda does refer to the album title..
    Absolute Rock-O
    Obvious troll here.
    Not trolling at all. People just get all upset that someone decided to say the truth instead of being ignorant and believing that Periphery are geniuses. I don't like Yeezus at all but it's questionable when a band comes out with the exact same idea half a year later.
    Loved this EP. However I must say Spencer and Matt's songs both really stand out. They stray from the Periphery formula, but I find the production way smoother (thanks to Taylor Larson) and they are both catchy as hell. That being said, Zero and Extraneous are both the embodiment of what I expect from Periphery: well thought-out, progressive, original, and heavier than a cement truck.
    m4ss3 m/
    Good EP. Pale Aura is probably the best song they've ever written.. Well, Mark has written. He definitely needs to get more writing space on the future releases.
    My pre-order just shipped! Today. Three days after the actual release. Thanks, Sumerian.
    I seem to be the only one that strongly dislikes this album, the only song i can actually stand to listen to is Pale Aura, that's more so because it reminds me of Breeze (my favourite song) and Scarlet. I absolutely loved This Time It's Personal (one of my all time favourites) but tracks 2-6 all have seriously annoying aspects to the songs that make it unlistenable at times. Sometimes Spencer's vocals are incredible, other times i want to slam my head on my desk, guitar tones are horrific (Zero especially), all of the softer parts are to drastic of a change and dull the overall feel of the songs. Really disappointed with this, i love Periphery but this is a step in the wrong direction imo.
    it's not really a step in any direction, it's pretty "clear" that it's an experiment.
    Touche salesman, i forgot they said that this was more experimental than a reflection of their next album, i'm just scared it actually is.
    It sucks that you're gonna get downvoted for this. It's your opinion, and people should respect that. You weren't even that rude.
    I try to be as blunt and honest as possible on forum boards and comment sections and i find people either overlook my comments or respond rationally as the three of you that have did lol. I was actually so stoked for this EP as i've just recently discovered Periphery/Bulb back in December and have been learning their stuff ever since.
    It is his opinion, just as it is MINE that he is dead wrong. Guitar tone is the typical patches used from their AXE FX settings, besides, he has been listening to Periphery since December, so about 2 months, hardly enough time to process the full scale of the music that this band has but forth. This was literally just a project to feed the fans some music, and to call any of it "unlistenable," is ignorant at best, if you are in fact a fan of Periphery.
    Anything you didn't like about the guitar tones in particular? Just curious. I thought they came across great lol
    High-mids, i found the guitar tones to be over powered in the mix at times.
    Yeah, I totally see where you're comin from with that. I don't know, for me there's somethin about this 2-3kHz bump in Misha's tone that really sticks out in a way I've always enjoyed since around when people only knew of him from his soundclick tunes.. maybe I'm a little biased hehe.
    How about just calling it an IP (Isolated Project) instead of EP?
    That acronym would be confusing, because people already use IP (internet protocol) a lot when talking about their internet connection.
    It means a lot of things (see also: intellectual property), what's your point?
    Just because it already means a lot of things it doesn't have to mean even more things, what's your point?
    Pale Aura is my favorite track. I enjoy all the harmonies on this record, especially the ones that aren't provided by Spencer
    I enjoy this significantly more than their other releases. It seems more focused on songwriting than showing off, and that's the best thing that can happen to an incredibly technically talented band.
    Pretty cool experiment! The solo on Parade of Ashes is so awesome.But well that's a given, Nick Johnston is one of my favourite guitar players around; if anybody hasn't heard his solo work check him out, you'll be pleasantly surprised!
    "Progressive Metalcore" Could someone explain to me the hardcore influence in Periphery? That said, I love this new album. Their first album was meh, their 2nd was great, and this one is excellent.
    I agree that the term "progressive metalcore" is just wrong. However, I think you need to listen to their first album a little more. True, Spencer's growls were a bit laughable at times, but Misha is a really fantastic composer of progressive music and he poured years of beautiful work into that album.
    Great idea, would be better if the band members actually had a wildly divergent sound. Only Spencer's really sounded different. Instead of Ummagumma we got Periphery 2 1/2. I mean it's good music and all (though I am failing to find too many themes from the Overture turning up) but as an experiment, it failed.
    The themes were presented in many different ways whether it was re-harmonised, transposed across instruments or even incorporated into the vocal melody. The 3/4 intro shows up in Zero, the crazy mid-section is harmonically and rhythmically modified in Extraneous and the outro piano motif is really noticeable in The Summer Jam and Pale Aura.
    This is so bad. Could they please stop. Nothing they have done has even made me a little interested.
    Wow, you don't like something. Congratulations.
    I'm allowed to voice my opinion...not my fault UG is full of fanboys
    Suggesting that a band should stop because they don't interest you in particular is not voicing an opinion, and noticing how incredible stupid that is does not make other people 'fanboys.'
    I guarantee you that there would be millions of people who would ask you to stop if they heard your music. Luckily, you don't make music for the sake of pleasing everyone. Neither do Periphery.
    I like this Ep much, but it feels like periphery are mixing up things too much, I mean the sound stops to seem original enough and more edited. Vocals were better in the older one. Never the less, still a lovely album.
    It's funny that you said that because, on this album Spencer's vocals were "raw" not edited at all, nothing
    "Clear" was a VERY daring experiment, and the fact that they did it earns my respect even more than the music itself. I love every single track, but like most people I was initially jarred by their juxtaposition. However, being a diverse listener, it only took about 3 listens for me to get over it. I hope they do more "crazy" projects like this in the future!
    Bought it, tried to get myself to like Spencer's vocals. It didn't happen, so I gave to my sister who loves Periphery !
    That awkward moment when you realise your sister as better taste than you.....
    This is the first thing Periphery have done for me, which actually lives up to the hype around them. This is outstanding, focussed, and very well written and produced.
    It's really a great listen. I just bought the CD about a week ago and even though there are only 7 songs I'm not sick of it yet. I'm anxious to hear their next full-album release!
    Sounds kind of like the idea behind the album "Fragile" by Yes, way back in the day. Except fragile had more than one full-band composition sprinkled in with the individual member projects. Sweet idea. Gonna have to give it a listen.