Maryland-based prog-metal upstarts Periphery erupted onto the music scene last year with their self-titled record, fusing jagged, Meshuggah-esque riffs with Devin Townsend-like theatrics and guitar wizardry. On the Icarus EP, little has changed, and this core formula is still compelling, but not all fans will appreciate the package being offered here.
With only three truly new tracks, two slightly altered versions of previously released songs, a few short videos, and three remixes of the single "Icarus Lives," the amount of actual fresh material could be considered scant. More importantly, only some of it is good. "New Groove" and "Frak the Gods" revel in the fast-paced rhythms that mark Periphery at their best, and the dubstep-inspired "Icarus Lives" remix by Pete Graves of fellow prog-metal outfit Red Seas Fire expands admirably on the original track. But most of the other material, particularly the two other remixes, stray too far from Periphery’s strengths, and comes off as flat rather than diverse.
Periphery stand out in a sea of Meshuggah clones for a reason: their superior chops. Unfortunately, these are not in great supply here. Devout adherents to the band may embrace the experimentation and alternate versions contained on this latest release, but acolyte listeners should be directed toward last year’s still great full-length before checking out this EP. CLARKE READ