PERIPHERY, nowadays, is one of the most prominent progressive metal acts out there. The band is releasing their upcoming "Periphery IV: Hail Stan" on 5 April 2019, marking the first release on their own label 3DOT Recordings. I think it was the somewhat uplifting "Alpha" that introduced me to PERIPHERY in 2015 and I have not regret listening to their music since. Having their own label now, "Periphery IV: Hail Stan" has a lot more freedom, and a lot of surprises, and will definitely be that classic PERIPHERY album that you need to have on your shelf.
This freedom led into opening the album with "Reptile". I can't think of any other band who would put a 16 minute track to open up the album, what was a ballsy move, turned out to be a good decision. With "Reptile" PERIPHERY show from the first second what they have in store for us. This may just be the most epic track the band has ever written up to history, and it sure is the most impressive one on the album. "Reptile" goes by before you know it and twists and turns through moments of beautiful orchestrations, thoughts of "fuck yeah it djents", melody, and a lot of explosions and immediately we get introduced to what the new PERIPHERY sound sounds like: aggressive, saturated, and all-in-all a lot darker. Any other band could have turned a song like this into a complete mess, but PERIPHERY are excellent in finding balance with their clinical technical riffs, and interesting melodies.
This is also clear in a song like "Blood Eagle". Honestly, the first time I heard "Blood Eagle" I thought to myself, damn, I'll have whatever they were having when they wrote this song. It already starts with the opening of the songs, damn guys is this tuned in Drop Z or what, continuing in a persistent holy shit, Spencer's vocal range seems to have no limits in this songs. In general PERIPHERY always have compelling and refreshing ideas in their music, take the chord progressions in a song as "Marigold", or then those crazy drum parts in "Lune". "Blood Eagle", however takes PERIPHERY up to a whole new level, where the band takes advantage of their guitars, because obviously they have three of them. When you start wondering what the hell is going on, there can only be one answer to that question... This is what happens when a vocalist binge watches the entire series of VIKINGS on Netflix. I think we all know that dark period we go through when our favourite series ends and there's no more episodes to go... I'm guessing that's how this song got to its existence.
Since "Blood Eagle" is not kvlt enough, PERIPHERY dive into "CHVRCH BVRNER", probably the most kvlt song on the album, yet another example of their well-established sound, showcasing blazing speed. If the Antichrist would have been a talented musician, this probably would have been his song. Luckily there is also room for radio-friendly tracks like "Garden in the bones", a song blessed to have a perfect combination of heavy and melodic elements. "It Only Smiles" continues in the same way, a bit more mellow, but still beautifully crafted and easily accessible to a broader audience, almost on the verge of being a pop rock song, it definitely is one of the most intriguing songs of the album. "Crush" is another song that stands out, it's quirky, it's different, and surprisingly has this poppy electro vibe to it again, reminding me a little bit of late LINKIN PARK. This is definitely a song that will attract people who don't necessarily like progressive metal.
When you start an album with a 16-minute track, why not use the other longest track of the album to end it in style? "Satellites", a 9-minute epic begin both quietly and melodically with both clean vocals and guitars, halfway through the songs gets heavy, the combination with the orchestrations and choirs lifts the last song to the next level.
With "Periphery IV: Hail Stan", PERIPHERY show a new version of themselves, the band shows a more mature side to their music, without letting go of what sets the boundaries nowadays in the genre and going far beyond them. PERIPHERY keep on reinventing the genre, and explore what other elements fit within the frameworks of the progressive metal genre. This often results in creative, exhilarating music, that draws you in from the first second to last. The surprising elements they put into the mix such as classic prog, synth work, jazz melodies, and the orchestrations and choirs, feel new and exciting. On top of that the album has a great production value, and feels very well-balanced.
With "Periphery IV: Hail Stan", PERIPHERY have proved themselves to be the pioneers of thinking outside the box and reinventing the progressive metal genre altogether. As a result, new horizons have been discovered, territories have been marked. But it wouldn't be PERIPHERY if they didn't go beyond those horizons and even further.
1. Reptile (16:43)
2. Blood Eagle (05:58)
3. CHVRCH BVRNER (3:40)
4. Garden in the Bones (5:56)
5. It's Only Smiles (5:33)
6. Follow Your Ghost (5:24)
7. Crush (6:49)
8. Sentient Glow (4:27)
9. Satellites (9:25)
Spencer Sotelo - Vocals
Misha Mansoor - Guitars
Matt Halpern - Drums
Jake Bowen - Guitars
Mark Holcomb - Guitars