The latest iteration from Periphery’s numerical albums offers up nine new tracks for it’s forth chapter, Hail Stan. This sixth studio album by the quintet offers an eclectic range of emotions, energy and styles, truly pushing the boundaries of progressive alternative metal.
Opening with the nearly seventeen minute roller coaster that is ‘Reptile’, we find a mix of aggressive djent chugging from Misha Mansoor and Jake Bowen, which is switched up to cleans and violins throughout the song. This is more of a symphony of music, one to certainly grab your attention the second you hit that play button.
‘Blood Eagle’ follows, for which there is a music video for, it literally reaches out, grabs you by the ears and tosses you around your vicinity. It’s an onslaught of aggression, a song certain to replace any caffeine addiction. Spencer utilises a beautiful mix of clean all the way to balls-to-the-wall screams on this track. He’s a man ready to lash out, most notably with the repeated lyric “we come for war”. Someone has really pissed off Periphery and I for one, am very happy that they did.
The official music video for ‘Blood Eagle’ can be watched below:
‘CHVRCH BVRNER’ starts off no differently to the two prior, however in the ending moments of the song, as the guitars ring out, we are presented with a techno riff, the beginning rumblings of the progressive side of the album emerging.
‘Garden in the Bones’ opens much softer and cleaner than any of the previous tracks. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some chugging guitars but as the chorus ramps up, we find a very different band. So far this track is very different to anything else, dare I say sounding more like a Bury Tomorrow song. This is not a criticism but it took me by surprise. It’s a beautiful song, concentrating more on an anthem feel, something you could play to a wider audience comfortably.
This change ramps up significantly into ‘It’s Only Smiles’, which you could easily swear that it could be an All American Rejects song, or at least, something of that era. It has an infectious upbeat structure with elements of pop-emo which at least made this listener question if I’d somehow accidentally pressed ‘play’ on my Spotify account instead of the Century Media link. I wouldn’t classify the style of this song as innovative, but perhaps within the album and the world of metal it is.
The sixth track, ‘Follow Your Ghost’, brings us crashing back into the metal realm with a heavy drop. The pace has accelerated, the screams are faster and deeper, and that is until roughly half way through this five and a half minute song when it becomes more ethereal, with keys and choirs making a prominent feature until the end of the track.
Again, ‘Crush’ throws us off kilter once again, with a pop-electro rock track from the get-go. Periphery really does take this notion of being progressively alternative to heart and clearly have no fear about plunging us into that ethos. At one point of ‘Crush’ when you believe the song to have ended, another musical interlude starts with violins and electro drums fire up which absolutely works but is very, very unexpected.
‘Sentient Glow’ once again reminds me initially of those pop-emo bands we all listened two back in the early-mid 00’s fairly consistently throughout the four and a half minutes, bringing that fry screaming back, peppering it periodically.
‘Satellites’ concludes IV Hail Stan. A much more relaxed song, something that made me feel like I was floating in a gentle breeze on a summers day. It’s a beautifully written and composed song, which once again reminds me so, so much of All American Rejects. Around the half way point, however, as if you sipped that double espresso at the beginning of the song and it’s only now that the caffeine has kicked in, ‘Satellites’ rockets into a heavier, accelerated pace. This kick to the backside dramatically changes the listeners’ experience, waking you up before settling down as you enter the ‘third act’ before entering it’s death throws as the track comes to an end.
I genuinely enjoyed this album, even with its very experimental sharp turns, it kept me interesting and entertained and eagerly awaiting to hear what was around the next corner. I highly recommend this album.