Periphery - Periphery IV: HAIL STAN
E1 Music
Modern Prog Metal, Djent
9 songs (1:03:55)
Release year: 2019
E1 Music
Reviewed by Goat

Not being a massive fan of djent has limited my exposure to the genre, which suffers more than others from a surfeit of identikit bands. And that might be why, despite more than a couple of eye-rolls at that album title, I found quite a lot to like about Periphery's... sixth? full-length, not least for the fact that they're one of the better bands out there playing post-Meshuggah metal, having enough of an identity of their own to stand out as well as both songwriting and technical skills. Rather than usual touchstone Meshuggah there's actually as much if not more closeness to SikTh as has been commented in past reviews, and more than a pinch of alt-rock-esque poppy melody and Dillinger Escape Plan-style chaos here. The band are at their best when indulging their heavier side (my favourite moments on the album definitely not including the likes of nine-minute alt-rock anthem Satellites complete with Evanescence-referencing chorus, although it does fill the time well and is an effective ending to the album) and as the mathcore-y Blood Eagle and the punishing groove of Follow Your Ghost show they can still throw a breakdown with the best of them.

Fortunately, the breakdowns aren't too dominant. The album starts with the impressively cohesive sixteen-minute epic Reptile, their longest song to date; an orchestral intro soon leading to groovy rocking before a breakdown and further heaviness. Sure, the lyrics are a little goofy ("his name was Billy, and he liked to get high" is an early gem) but the song keeps your attention as it moves through heavier and lighter sections, sections closer to prog metal with plenty of electronic overlay as well as the more straightforward Meshuggah-esque chugging. And the variety keeps things moving, the Dillinger Escape Plan influences to the fore on CHVRCH BVRNER and Garden in the Bones, containing some of the catchiest choruses on the album as well as more experiments with electronica on the former and much guitar-led proggier meandering on the latter.

At times the dip towards pop can seem a little too much, as on It's Only Smiles which shows off Spencer Sotelo's voice off well but, especially in the song's first half, verges on emo territory. And as for the downright synthwave-infused Crush, you're either going to love it or hate it; honestly, I was impressed at how well the band pulled it off, and its place late in the tracklisting helps ensure that the album stays interesting. But that, the lyrics, that title, and the fact that the album ends with someone saying "suck my balls" have all made me feel like a grumpy old man for probably not the last time when faced with modern metal. Maybe it's just not my brand of humour, but it doesn't spoil the fact that HAIL STAN is undoubtedly a good album, probably the best I've heard from Periphery and a reminder that you shouldn't write any genre off altogether.

Killing Songs :
Reptile, CHVRCH BVRNER, Garden in the Bones
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Periphery that we have reviewed:
Periphery - Juggernaut Alpha and Omega reviewed by Joel and quoted 86 / 100
Periphery - Periphery II: This Time It's Personal reviewed by Leah and quoted 70 / 100
Periphery - Periphery reviewed by Crash and quoted 71 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue May 07, 2019 7:35 am
View and Post comments