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Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan Award winner

Periphery IV: Hail Stan
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 10 April 2019, 3:01 AM

PERIPHERY represents the vanguard of addictive, chaotic, challenging and cathartically inviting heavy music for the modern era. The triple-guitar attack and rhythmic dexterity of Periphery has won them devoted adherents across underground subcultures, regardless of whether those fans were weaned on the passion-fueled sounds of the Vans Warped Tour or the progressive rock of RUSH. “Periphery IV: Hail Stan” is the band’s fourth album, and contains nine tracks.

“Reptile” opens lightly, with simulates strings and ominous overtones. It’s a sixteen minute beast. When the main riff drops, it drops hard, with Djent accents and a free-flowing cadence. The melody in the chorus is wonderful, but the intensity of the harsh vocals are absolutely crushing. It takes several brief pauses of ambient moments as the guitars continue to lightly chug underneath. The musicianship and their sense of timing is impeccable, and they absolutely master the Progressive elements, but they bring the melody in huge doses as well. It ends in an ambient passage that’s beauty is hard to put into words. This might be the best song that I have heard this year so far.

“Blood Eagle” features ravishing and shredding elements, combined with raging vocals. Dark ambient moments are underneath along with some melody. A skillful guitar solo shows off one of the things this band does best. “CRVRCH BVRNER” is a shorter piece, with some dissonance in the main riff and a cadence to the vocals. Don’t look to this barn-burner for melody because there isn’t much. It’s a pulverizing exercise in how to crush someone to death. “Garden in the Bones” opens with some atmospheric melodies and clean vocals. The melodies come pouring out in the chorus like a raging thunderstorm along with harsh vocals, and the combination just works effortlessly.

“It’s Only Smiles” opens with a jovial melody and they just let it hang out there for you to enjoy. The technical elements are dialed back in favor of a beautiful song that breathes. The vocal harmonies add a nice touch to a really charming song overall. It’s at the opposite of some of the madness in the earlier tracks, showing a really sophisticated sense of songwriting. “Follow your Ghost” opens with slow, weighted thuds from the guitars, with some dissonance as the vocals rage with intensity. Again, not much melody here…it’s all about over the top aggression, save for a snippet towards the end, with piano and simulated strings.

“Crush” opens with some electronica and you feel like you are in a Rave, raising your first up and up with the beats. But then the layers peel back and let some melody flow over you. The chorus is equal parts maddening and charming, as they keep both locked together as one. The keys are done wonderfully, leaving you wanting more. The odd sort of electric passage at the end seems out of place but it works. “Sentient Glow” opens with some light-hearted melodies but the aggression seeps in like poison to your water supply. It pauses to highlight some very well done harmonies and melodies before returning to technical madness again. The bridge is absolutely beautiful as they shout from the rooftops. How they flirt with this line is what makes the album as special as it is.

“Satellites” is another lengthy song…at over nine minutes. It opens as the mist begins to lift from the fields in the forest in a spring day. The vocals and poignant and the message is well received. The guitars are gentle and alluring and oh so mellow. It has such a pretty sound that it lifts the worries off of your shoulders as you become immersed in its charms. But at the half way mark things take a turn to the aggression and Spencer hits some notes that would make the best soprano shudder.

Equally as good as pushing unabashed melodies as they are at heavy, aggressive, and absolutely crushing moments with a flair for musicianship that seems unmatched today, this is a landmark album in the genre that every other band must measure themselves up to. Good luck, because it’s technical wizardry at level 100 combined with absolutely flawless melodies and moments of grandeur that will be nearly impossible to match.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Reptile
2. Blood Eagle
4. Garden in the Bones
5. It’s only Smiles
6. Follow your Ghost
7. Crush
8. Sentient Glow
9. Satellites 
Spencer Sotelo – Vocals
Misha Mansoor – Guitars
Matt Halpern – Drums
Jake Bowen – Guitars
Mark Holcomb – Guitars
Adam "Nolly" Getgood – Bass
Record Label: Century Media Records


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Edited 03 December 2022

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