Album Review: Periphery – Periphery IV: Hail Stan

Periphery 2019

Periphery, one of the frontrunners on the modern progressive metal scene, return this April 5th with the release of their new album titled Periphery IV: Hail Stan, released on 3DOT Recordings — a label that was founded by the members of the band. Before, Periphery were on Sumerian Records since their 2010 debut album.

The band has launched two singles from the new album so far “Blood Eagle” and “Garden in the Bones,” both of them being at different sides of the specter, what certainly tells how much stylistically diverse Hail Stan is.

One of the biggest surprises of the album actually lies right at the beginning — the opening song “Reptile” is the group’s third song ever clocking over 10 minutes — this one goes just a bit over 17 minutes. Previous two include “Racecar” from Periphery I and “Omega” from the 2015 album Juggernaut: Omega. And right off the bat, Periphery hint that we are about to experience their most progressive and most versatile release yet, and combining symphonic passages with quite a few electronic moments goes very well with my previous statement.

Periphery IV - Hail Stan

The already mentioned “Blood Eagle” is as ferocious as the terrifying torturing method it takes its name from. You can certainly feel some sort of resentment coming from Spencer Sotelo’s screams, Matt Halpern’s heavy hits and the guitar trio’s burst fire. Speaking of which, Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen and Mark Holcomb are back with their 7-string axes throughout the album, and this fact surely works in the album’s favor being on a heavier side. I’m saying “they are back with 7-string guitars,” as the band’s previous album Periphery III: Select Difficulty featured “only” two 7-string songs.

“CHVRCH BVRNER” is a Dillinger Escape Plan moment on the album, and it could take an epithet of being the most twisted track here. “Garden in the Bones” is a risk-free, typical Periphery number, whereas the following “It’s Only Smiles” is possibly the most “straightforward” track on Hail Stan.

The band is back to the djent mode on “Follow Your Ghost,” with an absolute killer of a guitar solo at the end of the track. For “Crush” it could be said that is a school example of what cyber-electronic-progressive-metal(core) would sound like if there was such a thing. In my opinion it’s the most bizarre track here that works very well with the rest of the material — kind of a Periphery’s Devin Townsend moment on the album.

Hardcore punk element is present in the way of “Sentient Glow,” although the song constantly switches between different styles and moods. Closing “Satellites” starts right where “Sentient Glow” left, with lush ambient guitar and Sotelo’s voice leading the game until the middle of the track. Sotelo screams at the top of his lungs with the guitar trio punishing earholes with the staccato riffs Periphery is known for.

What has been announced with Select Difficulty is fully realized on Hail Stan — the band has taken the time to create an album that is by far their most mature and well-thought release. How well it will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but the nine songs found here show how far Periphery have come in a span of only six albums.

Pre-order “Periphery IV: Hail Stan” from 3DOT Recordings.

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