In the music of Periphery, we use a lot of what I like to refer to as “spider crawl” riffs—twisted single-note phrases that are generally used as transitions between song sections. Many of the typical phrases we come up with are rather acrobatic and involve a lot of finger slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, along with a lot of shifting up and down the neck in order to articulate the riffs properly.
In writing riffs and song parts for the music of Periphery, it’s important to me to evoke a sense of movement and fluidity. One of my favorite ways to achieve a sense of movement is to perform single-note riffs that incorporate dramatic position shifts up and down the fretboard, necessitating very specific movement that is often articulated with extended finger slides.
In last month’s column, I discussed some of the ways I will often expand on single-note riff ideas by substituting full-voiced chords for individual notes. This month, I’d like to continue with that topic and talk about my approach to using dissonant intervals in chords and as double-stops (two-note chords).
Hello, and welcome to my new Guitar World column! For this first entry, I’d like to discuss the way in which I approach using chords in conjunction with single notes in the formation of many of the riffs and guitar parts I write for Periphery and Haunted Shores.
Periphery have become a force to be reckoned with in the progressive metal scene with their unique “djent” sound, poly-rhythmic patterns and soaring melodies. Guitarist Mark Holcomb helps achieve this full, lethal sound with PRS guitars loaded with Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Signature Pickups dubbed “Alpha” and “Omega.”
Pro Tone Pedals has launched its new Mark Holcomb Limited Edition Signature Delay Pedal. The Periphery guitarist's signature pedal, the Haunted Delay, was designed to be an ambient-style delay like your favorite vintage tape echo, with gig-ready durability to last you decades without a $1,000 price tag.
"[This is] a gear demo I did last week for Positive Grid (makers of Bias and JamUp for iOS). I'm jamming through a couple of riffs using a custom amp in Bias and running through several features in JamUp. I also play through some new Periphery material."