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."