Periphery – Periphery IV: Hail Stan

For the last few years, in the tech-metal scene, there have been two titans on either side of The Pond: Tesseract and Periphery. Now when your transatlantic cousins take the ‘Black Album’ school of thought and trim everything down, tighten it all up and produce the shortened album of less expansive works that was Sonder, what do you do? Well, apparently, you mark your first release away from Sumerian records by throwing seemingly everything you can think of, and the kitchen sink, at your new record. And for Periphery, it is a resounding success.

The fourth ‘self-titled’ Periphery album, laughably sub-titled Hail Stan (don’t worry, this is an album that is far better than its title), sets out its stall immediately with Reptile. A 16 minute epic that moves from a mini orchestral overture, thumbing beats with a creeping vocal, to a ferocious metallic onslaught, it takes in ear worm melodies and black metal-esque blasts before closing with sombre electronics. It’s very much the tech-metal equivalent of a Muse song but, frankly, navigated with far more grace than Muse have ever managed on their lengthier more epic output.

From here the record takes in many different flavours throughout its journey, from the electronic stylings of Crush that sound very much influenced by the recent synthwave explosion, to the metalcore riffing of Sentient Glow and the frankly exquisite pop hooks of It’s Only Smiles. This has melodies in both the chorus and verses that could easily become saccharine in other hands, but with Misha Mansoor, Jake Owen and Mark Holcomb’s guitar tones behind and Spencer Sotelo’s vocal approach lending an invaluable sense of personality over the top, it never topples into twee territory.

Thanks to its variations and the dexterity with which they navigate each facet of this album, it never loses its flare even over a lengthy hour and three minutes running time. It takes some guts for a band to leave their parent label after 5 albums but it has clearly paid off. This album is a towering success and will surely stand up as one of the classics from this modern scene.

Tom Butterworth

May 16, 2019

Hi, I'm Tom Butterworth. Born and raised in Northampton, resident in Liverpool for six years now. I've been obsessive about music for over ten years. My favourite bands include Nightwish, Death, Letlive, Slipknot,, The Menzingers, Gojira, Opeth and Pink Floyd among others. \m/


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