INTERVIEW: Periphery’s Misha Mansoor

A lot has happened since I Heart Guitar last interviewed Misha Mansoor. In the space of a mere year, the djent movement – of which Mansoor’s band Periphery is a central focus – has gone from metal curiosity to fully-fledged phenomenon. The Icarus Lives! Ep has further solidified Mansoor’s reputation as one of the most technically gifted metal guitarists of his generation, yet he maintains an open dialog with fans, continuing to post video and audio of random jammage – new gear, Nyan cat, the list goes on. Periphery are heading to Australia in July for the League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen tour with Tesseract, and I Heart Guitar caught up with Misha to talk about what’s happened in the past year.

Hey Misha.

Hi! We’ve talked before, haven’t we?

Yes we have, about a year ago.

Yeah! I Heart Guitar! I remember that.

Yeah, cool! So the Melbourne stop of your Aussie tour has recently been upgraded to a bigger venue because ticket sales were so good.

Yeah! That was very unexpected. I don’t know how that happened. I don’t know who we paid off to make that happen! But that is more than a pleasant surprise. Australia was one of the most fun tours – it was like a vacation to us. I don’t know what it is, but everyone was so nice and welcoming. And I’m not just saying that. Australians are like some of the nicest people we’ve ever met. It was a treat, and having some of the love come right back to us was really awesome. So seeing that the shows sold out so fast was like icing on the cake for us.

Everyone seems to know who you are and about the whole djent movement now. How are you coping with that? Does it mess with your head? Do you try not to think about it?

I try not to think about it. This whole djent movement thing is very funny and silly to me because it’s appearing out of nowhere, almost parallel to what we’re doing. I think people don’t realise that we’ve just been doing what we’ve been doing. It wasn’t cool to be playing this style of music for the majority of the time that we’ve been writing and playing the music that we do, and we write and play the music that we do because it’s the only thing that we know how to do. It’s just going for it. It’s not like we sat down one day and said “I’m gonna start a new fad or something.” It wasn’t like that at all, it was just doing what we were doing. So it’s just interesting to see how that all happens. It is very surreal. And we focus on it a bit, like we named our tour the League Of Extraordinary Djentlemen. We don’t take it all too seriously, and it’s not all that relevant to me in day to day life or anything. It just is what it is, y’know?

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CD REVIEW: Queensryche’s Dedicated To Chaos

After the pervasive darkness of Operation: Mindcrime II and American Soldier, it’s understandable that Queensryche would feel like exploring a lighter vibe on Dedicated To Chaos. Whereas the previous two releases were particularly guitar-driven, Chaos is built around riffs turned in by drummer Scott Rockenfield and bass player Eddie Jackson, and adorned with layers of sound that only seem to reveal themselves on repeated listens.

“Get Started” is a suitably uptempo opener which recalls some of the vibe of 2000’s Q2K, with bright overdriven rhythm guitars and up-front drums, and the quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic is not entirely removed from the structures of Empire. But before long the album moves more into groove-heavy territory. At times sounding like a heavier version of singer Geoff Tate’s 2002 solo album

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NEWS: Ozzy, KISS, Rex quits Down, top 50 American rock bands

Epiphone ‘70s Inspired Les Paul Custom Blackback – click the pic for more info

Here are my latest news stories on Gibson.com:

Ozzy’s Health Advice Coming to Book Stores

KISS’ Paul Stanley on Blowing Stuff Up

Rex Brown Leaves Down

Also, this week Gibson is counting down the top 50 American rock bands, and you’ll find some of my contributions scattered throughout the week. Check it out! There are some very cool and sometimes overlooked choices.

Gibson.com’s Top 50 American Rock Bands of All Time – #50-41

Gibson.com’s Top 50 American Rock Bands of All Time – #40-31

My AmpliTube 3 EVH Soldano preset

Hey! Stumbled across Eddie Van Halen’s Soldano settings online (a Soldano SLO100 played a big role in the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album in 1991) and decided to see how it would sound if I used those settings on the Soldano SLO100 model in IK Multimedia’s excellent AmpliTube 3 (the amp model is available as an extra through the AmpliTube Custom Shop). I also added some pitch shifting and delay like Eddie used on the album. If you have AmpliTube 3 you can download the patch here. Hope you dig it!

Lame hoax draws attention to awesomeness of James LaBrie solo work

A hoax video has been doing the rounds claiming to be a track from the new Dream Theater album, A Dramatic Turn Of Events, only …it’s not. The first part is Venice Burning from James LaBrie’s excellent Mullmuzzler 2 solo album (featuring Mike Mangini on drums and Bryan Beller on bass, by the way). The later bit is from one of Jordan Rudess’s solo albums.

Nice try, fakey fakerton. You can see the fake fake fake video here but I won’t do it the honour of embedding it.

You can buy James LaBrie’s Mullmuzzler 2 from Amazon.com.