Periphery
Periphery IV: Hail Stan


4.5
superb

Review

by SitarHero CONTRIBUTOR (55 Reviews)
April 5th, 2019 | 2027 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: CAUTION: This meme may contain good music

The naysayers will undoubtedly flock together to howl that it isn’t true, but Periphery have been subtly evolving and maturing as musicians and music producers over their decade-long career. Periphery III would have been the first album to show troubling signs of stagnation except for one thing: the album’s closer “Lune” was the first song that the band had ever written as a completely collaborative effort. As such, “Lune” was the most organic-sounding song the band had ever made and seems to have been a watershed moment in Periphery’s history. In many ways, the band’s 2014 EP, Clear, has been totemic of the band’s writing process in general. On that EP, each individual bandmember was responsible for writing and producing one song. This served to showcase individual members’ writing styles as well as inadvertently providing a key to identifying who wrote which songs, or which song sections, on all their other albums. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does illustrate the compartmentalised nature of Periphery’s songwriting and explain why their songs can sometimes be so...cluttered; with so many distinct voices contributing music they simply have more riffs lying around than they know what do to with.

However, for Periphery IV: Hail Stan the band made a concerted effort to take time off touring in order to focus on collaborative songwriting,[1] and the effort has paid off immensely. Hail Stan is Periphery’s most organic and cohesive offering to date, despite paradoxically also being their most tonally and stylistically diverse. Even though it veers from some of Periphery's most brutal moments to some of their most saccharine, Hail Stan sounds like the work of a talented, mature, and self-assured band rather than just a group of talented individuals, making it, dare I say it, Periphery’s best album.

It’s hard to deny just how energised and swaggeringly confident Periphery sound on Hail Stan. It’s the kind of confidence that makes them think that bookending the album with a pair of epics totalling 27 minutes in length (“Reptile” and “Satellites”) is a good idea, and then knocking it out of the park by constructing two magnificent monuments that don’t waste a single note or lose focus, or the listener’s attention, for a single moment. It’s the kind of confidence that pushed them to release one of the heaviest and least accessible songs on the album (“Blood Eagle”) as its lead single while giving zero f*cks about mainstream viability despite this album being the flagship venture of their fledgling record label. It’s the kind of confidence that finds them largely stepping away from the djent sound that they helped popularise in favour of a more raw and organic-sounding (there’s that word again) approach to guitar tones and production—compare, for example, the thrashy rendition of "Sentient Glow" with its original djentier Haunted Shores avatar [2]—and absolutely owning it. It’s the kind of confidence that finds them putting down their guitars to write an industrial/synthwave track (“Crush”) driven by distorted synthbass riffs, propulsive drumming, and dramatic strings, and absolutely crushing that too.

Frankly, it’s easier to talk about the album’s weaknesses than enumerate its strengths. “Follow Your Ghost” comes off as a more ferocious but less interesting reprise of Juggernaut’s “The Bad Thing”. Spencer Sotelo’s “Sentient Glow” vocal performance isn’t as memorable as Chris Barretto’s was on the original version, although I have a feeling that it will grow on me in time. The album’s title is one of the dumbest titles that the band has ever come up with, which is saying something. And, for some reason they cap the rousing instrumental and vocal performance of “Satellites” with a recording of someone saying “suck my balls” in a bad Cartman impersonation.

That’s pretty much it. Periphery IV: Hail Stan is two songs and two dumb jokes short of being a flat-out flawless album. In a year that has already been marked by several notable progressive metal releases, Hail Stan finds Periphery effectively making the case that they are still the genre’s standard bearers and, a decade and six albums into their career, aren’t ready to give up that mantle just yet.


[1] The band’s “Making of P4” documentary is a worthwhile watch to gain insight into the band’s writing and production process...and their Pokémon Go obsession: https://youtu.be/xOraQdSTWbU

[2] Haunted Shores version of "Sentient Glow":
https://youtu.be/Cb7hoawnY30



Recent reviews by this author
Devin Townsend EmpathHarrison Lipton Loveliness
Hey Charlie Young and LonesomeFour Seconds Ago The Vacancy
Jason Becker Triumphant Hearts24-7 Spyz The Soundtrack To The Innermost Galaxy
user ratings (344)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2019


8889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Let the shitstorm begin!

Toondude10
April 5th 2019


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol Fripp gave this a 0.5

Digging: Devin Townsend - Empath

tyman128
April 5th 2019


1291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review, downloading this now and gonna spin it a few times today. Hope it lives up to the hype

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2019


8889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"lol Fripp gave this a 0.5"



Lol! I was wondering who had. Alternative heading for the review was: "Haters gonna hate, Periphery gonna riff..ery,"

Toondude10
April 5th 2019


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was thinking of bumping this up but there are a few things that still bother me about this. Still though it's easily their best album to date.

SgtShock
April 5th 2019


807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Review was solid after the first third of it. Previous albums aren't important enough to warrant that much of a history lesson.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2019


8889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Previous albums aren't important enough to warrant that much of a history lesson."



Agree to disagree. I felt it was warranted in light of the "Periphery is just duhjenting again exactly like they always do and did before" criticism that seems to be the prevailing opinion of the band on sputnik.

RyanW
April 5th 2019


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Easily the best Periphery album, agreed. I think that Crush is a weak point in the songwriting department, but Reptile being an 11/10 makes up for it.

Toondude10
April 5th 2019


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Crush is actually one of my favorite songs on here, maybe even my favorite.

AgentDeathbat
April 5th 2019


9773 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i'm so obsessed with this album right now, even the dumb jokes and slightly less-than-flawless heavier cuts can't shake this 5

tyman128
April 5th 2019


1291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

first impressions, Reptile is amazing and such a bold move. The chord progressions are just so clean with those vocals. Looking very promising

Lucman
April 5th 2019


2307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm obsessed with never hearing this again.

Digging: Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2019


8889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"first impressions, Reptile is amazing and such a bold move. The chord progressions are just so clean with those vocals."



Yeah I went back and listened to Racecar (especially since it's one of Periphery's signature songs) to compare it and Periphery's growth and maturity is super apparent. Racecar can be a bit of a slog because it's so damn busy all the time but Reptile flows pretty sublimely.

AgentDeathbat
April 5th 2019


9773 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

@Luc: Well, fuck. Guess Periphery just isn't the band for you then, lol.

@Sitar: Yeah Racecar is a bit sluggish, and the production on that entire album leaves a bit to be desired.

keza
April 5th 2019


256 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is so so easily their best album. Every track on here is just killer.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2019


8889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Yeah Racecar is a bit sluggish, and the production on that entire album leaves a bit to be desired."



I wouldn't call it sluggish. I think they just hadn't figured out the art of dynamics and subtlety in their songwriting. Plus, Spencer was just super raw on that album. But I have no qualms with the production. It was pretty state of the art at the time, even though it may sound a little dated now.

Lucman
April 5th 2019


2307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Lol I'm sorry Agent but yeah, this ain't for me at all. I've written my fun troll comment so I'll let ya'll have fun with it.

Drpibb
April 5th 2019


159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Saw them the other night and picked up the album. Blood eagle is heavy as fuck live

ExhaleTheLight
April 5th 2019


968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This band is just like Harambe, a dead meme.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2019


8889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Saw them the other night and picked up the album. Blood eagle is heavy as fuck live"



I wanted to go see them on this tour, but Dream Theater is playing that same day and performing Metropolis 2 in its entirety. Couldn't pass that up. :/



Meanwhile, Plini and Mestis are ALSO performing that same day. What are the odds of all that happening on one day?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy