Periphery – Periphery IV Hail Stan review

Heavy and unpredictable, Hail Stan! 8.5/10Periphery

Following on from their Grammy Award nomination for 2017’s The Price Is Wrong (from the album Periphery III: Select Difficulty ) Periphery devoted an entire year to crafting Periphery IV – Hail Stan.

 “We finally spent a year on a record,” says guitar player/programmer Jake Bowen. “We’ve never been able to do that. The quality and pacing of the work show we really took our time with this one. That’s an important note about this. We really got to do everything we wanted to do in the space we had to do it.”

Mark Holcomb adds,

“We’ve been learning how to do this as we go along. We cleared our schedules and made this one happen. We removed restrictions, boundaries, and deadlines. We chased freedom. We went to the extreme and took off a whole calendar year—15 months between shows. It pushed us to create the record we wanted to.” I think you can hear the adventurous intent behind much of this material as a result. We’re all the happiest we’ve ever been with a release, and it’s no coincidence. Can’t wait for you all to hear it.”

This is the first Periphery release on their own label 3DOT Recordings, affording the band even greater freedom and autonomy for their fifth album.

Reptile opens with strings, orchestral strings before incorporating a variety of styles ranging classic rock to progressive rock via funk and technical metal wizardry in a bombastic behemoth. Despite it’s surprising length (at almost seventeen minutes) it retains interest and surprises and features SikTh’s Mikee Goodman in a spoken word interlude. It is an exceptional track alternating quite dramatically between heaviness and airiness. Melodic and accessible, but with plenty of tricks to captivate musos and music lovers alike.

Blood Eagle was the first released track and it is punishingly heavy. Guttural vocals, pummeled drums and chugging strings with inspired progressive bridges.

“It’s the most unrelenting, uncompromising, heavy, and pissed-off song on this thing.  A ‘Blood Eagle’ was a style of Viking torture. It fits the vibe!” Mark Holcomb (guitars). Death: by separating the ribs from the spine and then pulling them through the back, along with the lungs, to mimic a bird, for Odin. I suppose Norse gods had a limited choice in music, I’m sure this would meet the gallows’ god’s approval. Groovier, but no less intense CHVRCH BVRNER is a discordant, dark and technically accomplished. Things take an abrupt turn for the grungey, nu-metal metalcore Garden In The Bones. This was the second album release and is certainly accessible and potentially radio friendly!  A luscious guitar bridge consolidates an emotive track where Spencer Sotelo’s vocals seethe with raw emotion. It’s Only Smiles is quite the curveball. Electronic leanings, with dare I say a ‘poppier’  feel and a choir? That was most unexpected, well done Periphery! Now for something a bit doomier, Follow Your Ghost with some deathcore inclination ,choral ambience and disconcerting audio panning. Crush favours an uplifting  industrial leaning with an incredibly catchy chorus. The track ends with an orchestral section, by Bernard Herrmann (Hitchcock’s Psycho) but with a modern update

‘Sentient Glow began as an idea Spencer (Sotelo) actually sang on during his audition for the band, making for a special full circle moment. This track is a reworking of a Haunted Shores instrumental  number, a studio project that featured  Periphery guitarists Misha Mansoor and Mark Holcomb. What was a delightful ambience has become a polished song in its own right.

Satellites saw the musicians return to a technique utilised in the creation of Lune (Periphery III: Select Difficulty) where the band sat together with practice amps and performed face to face. A more delicate touch opens Satellites, clean vocals, harmonies and tasteful, understated instruments and percussion. Being Periphery, get ready for a change in track halfway through. Melodic, euphoric, but heavy and skilful this ten minute closer, draws the curtain well. But hang on, was that a South Park quip at the end?! The humour extends beyond the awesome album title. This album is more than proficient, it’s certain to keep you on your toes especially if you were expecting a djent-fest. I feel an apt synopsis was given by guitarist Mark Holcomb :

 “When people hear certain songs, they’re not going to expect them. It would be amazing if we become known for that sort of unpredictability. All of our favorite artists embrace freedom and follow their own muses. It’s tangible when a band embodies that quality. I hope we do too.”

Periphery IV Hail Stan

PERIPHERY – “PERIPHERY IV: HAIL STAN”

Tracklist:

  1. Reptile
  2. Blood Eagle
  3. CHVRCH BVRNER
  4. Garden In The Bones
  5. It’s Only Smiles
  6. Follow Your Ghost
  7. Crush
  8. Sentient Glow
  9. Satellites

Periphery IV: Hail Stan will be released April 6th and can be pre-ordered  here

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