Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan review


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Band: Periphery
Album: Periphery IV: Hail Stan
Release date: April 2019

01. Reptile
02. Blood Eagle
04. Garden In The Bones
05. It's Only Smiles
06. Follow Your Ghost
07. Crush
08. Sentient Glow
09. Satellites

Periphery is a name that, more than most prog bands, has the capacity to really split opinions. If you haven't previously been a fan, you can probably save your time and stop reading, as everything that may have put you off in the past is still here. As for the converted, how much you enjoy Hail Stan will very much depend on what parts of Periphery you like, as it's rather a 'kitchen sink' type of album.

Periphery are arguably the poster boys for the 'djent' scene, really defining the progressive metalcore sound that many bands placed under that umbrella-term employ. Over the previous decade, however, they've demonstrated a number of approaches to songwriting, all of which are on display on this album. Looking for the ripping aggression of their heavier songs? Early cuts such as "Blood Eagle" and "CHVRCH BURNER" are as violent as anything they've done since the self-titled debut. Prefer their more grandiose and melodic songs? "Garden In The Bones" and "Satellites" (something of a spiritual successor to "Lune") have got you covered. Like their poppier parts? "It's Only Smiles" is probably the most pop-sounding I can remember them sounding, including "Catch Fire". Enjoy the long prog epics? At nearly 17 minutes, "Reptile" is their longest effort to date. Add in wildcards like the electronic-driven "Crush", and it's really a 'something for everyone' album.

The instrumentation and production are naturally on point, and the divisive Spencer Sotelo puts in arguably his best performance yet on this record. As such, the success of this album boils down to whether this eclectic mix of tracks comes together as a consistently high-quality and cohesive whole. Personally, for the most part I found Hail Stan to be impressive and engaging; however, there are a few moments when it loses me.

To start with the positives, "Reptile" is a phenomenal modern prog track that more than lives up to previous lengthy efforts such as "Racecar", and may well be the band's crowning achievement to date. Next out of the block, "Blood Eagle" is an eclectic juggernaut, and this near 25-minute opening one-two makes for a jaw-dropping opening. Other personal highlights include "Garden In The Bones", an effective vehicle to display Sotelo's range, the robotic and symphonic "Crush", and the ramping intensity of the latter half of "Satellites".

Unfortunately, in contrast to PII and PIII, which I personally find to be fully enjoyable throughout, there are a few tracks here that don't quite match up to the aforementioned songs. "CHVRCH BURNER" is too in-your-face for its own good, lacking the necessary hooks to elevate it above just an exercise in anger. Additionally, I find that the double-header of "It's Only Smiles" and "Follow Your Ghost" tends to drag, with the former being an overlong and somewhat cheesy pop-oriented track, and the latter a slower and slightly monotonous effort. Add in one or two other minor blips, and Hail Stan fails to match the consistency of its predecessors, despite its various peaks.

There's a lot to take in on this record, and I can imagine my opinion changing substantially in either direction with further exposure over time, hence the lack of a score. Ultimately, if you've previously enjoyed Periphery, there should be at least some songs here that satisfy you, but whether Periphery IV works as a whole for you may not be quite such a sure deal.


Written on 07.04.2019 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 4   Visited by: 162 users
07.04.2019 - 12:02
Jesus Christ you're on a fucking roll
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
07.04.2019 - 13:36
Written by RaduP on 07.04.2019 at 12:02

Jesus Christ you're on a fucking roll

P4 and Mara came out on Friday and I have nothing to do this weekend (apart from seeing Dark Buddha Rising tonight), so had the time to pump these two out
27.04.2019 - 00:33
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
Has your opinion changed substantially in either direction with further exposure over time, as you said in your review? Also, are you willing to give it a score now?
The sun shines over The Fool...
27.04.2019 - 00:42
Written by Ace Frawley on 27.04.2019 at 00:33

Has your opinion changed substantially in either direction with further exposure over time, as you said in your review? Also, are you willing to give it a score now?

I've definitely warmed to it; the songs I picked out as the weak tracks are still my least favourite, but they don't bother me much when playing it through, and I've grown more fond of Satellites and particularly Garden in the Bones. I'd probably score it in the 7.8-8.2 range I guess. It's solid and I love Reptile, but it's not as good as Periphery 2

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