Black Orchid Empire on Periphery: Why I Love

Black Orchid Empire create huge, memorable rock music that’s a combination of heavy-hitting aggression and intense melodic beauty, whilst packed with complex grooves and gigantic choruses . A ferociously tight live band, Black Orchid Empire has toured Europe and the UK extensively, supporting Skunk Anansie and Black Map, with a CV that boasts festival slots at Download, Standon Calling and Planet Rockstock.

The band has just released their new album Tempus Veritas via Season of Mist. The record is described as “a collection of stories that seeks to find compelling imaginary narratives hidden away in what we all think of as history.”

BOE singer/guitarist Paul Visser joins us At The Barrier to tell us why he admires American Prog Metallers (remember – Djent is not a genre…) Periphery

There are so many bands in the heavy music world, and so many micro-niches and sub genres, that to become a genuinely innovative trailblazer – an inspiration to those who create as well as those who consume music – is actually fairly rare.

Sure, the music of Periphery is built on the progressive metal styles of other incredible artists that I was already familiar with (hey Meshuggah) but for me, they were a vitally important breath of fresh air the second I heard them. I loved the complexity, the crushing heaviness, but more importantly, I was struck by the amazing attention to harmonic and rhythmic depth as well as melodic structure. Misha Mansoor is a guitar genius, but these were real songs, not just a hypnotic polyrhythmic riff salad or solo-fest. In a similar way to Textures and Gojira, the first time I heard a Periphery track I was absolutely hooked and listened to little else but their latest album.

As a producer and mix engineer as well as a musician and songwriter, I’m obsessed with sonic excellence and creative ways to make records sound huge. I can’t think of any band that has done this better in this genre – the work of Nolly (Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood, Producer, Mix Engineer and ex-Bassist) and Ermin Hamidovich (Mastering Engineer) on that side of the equation is unreal. P3 and P4 became instant yardsticks by which I would measure my own mixes – I’m still pushed forward by them today. The fact that these guys were self-recording and mixing was a massive inspiration. I love working with Ermin on the BOE records – his knowledge and never-ending supply of mix guidance has really helped me hone my skills.

Here’s Wildfire from the latest Periphery album, Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre…

In terms of musicianship, the skills of Matt Halpern (Drums), Misha Mansoor, Mark Holcomb and Jake Bowen (Guitars) are just ridiculous. But to top it off with a voice like the one owned by Spencer Sotelo is unreal. I struggle to think of a more complete group in terms of technical skill. The fact that they also manage to focus that talent into a cohesive and consistent end product that constantly pushes boundaries and seeks to break new musical ground is awe-inspiring.

Ok, so this article is basically an excuse to gush unceremoniously about one of my favourite bands, and one which I’m more than happy to take, but there is a wider thing to think about here. The music industry has changed a hell of a lot in a couple of decades, and it can be incredibly tough for bands to know how to make it work in the current idiom. If you’re looking for a business model that works in the 2020s, look no further than Periphery. They’re fiercely creatively independent, they make EVERY piece of content they need, they understand the market, the media and their own fanbase, they know what to delegate to a great manager and what things to handle themselves. They leverage their success into income streams in other areas, making popular products that solve problems real music-makers deal with. Yes, I’m massively inspired by Periphery’s brilliant catalogue of records and their insane live show, but in many ways, the thing I find most compelling is this – this is a band that knows with every fibre of its being exactly what it is, what it wants and more importantly, how to get it done. I love Periphery – the band that just knows how to… band.

Out grateful thanks to Paul for reminding us what a terrific band Periphery is.

Black Orchid Empire have selected dates this Spring and Summer (check them here) and don’t forget you can find Periphery headlining the RADAR Festival in Manchester at the end of July.

Here’s Glory To The King from the latest BOE release, Tempus Veritas:

Black Orchid Empire online: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Youtube

You can read more from our extensive archive of Why I Love pieces from a wide array of artists on an even wider array of subjects, here.

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