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Periphery IV: HAIL STAN

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I can't think of a band that embraces the term "djent" more than Periphery. I also can't think of a band that simultaneously rejects it more than them. While they have the hallmark downtuned guitars and odd rhythms, they also lean into pop and electronic while infusing symphonic and jazz elements into their music. And HAIL STAN is no exception to that practice. In fact it doesn't just lean into the non-djent items; it dials them up to 11 while not losing any of the heaviness.


In their continuing quest to reject convention (whatever that means in progressive metal music), Periphery took the longest most epic track on the album--"Reptile"--and stuck that first instead of saving it for last as is typical of prog-metal albums. And by god it is a burner. It ebbs and flows between fiery blazes and smoldering ash. Like, when it softens in parts you can still feel the hot pulse underneath. It really showcases Spencer's vocal ability and how he goes "up like an angel and down like a wounded ox." I know it's a lot to ask some people to listen to a 17 minute song so if you don't want to hear the whole thing just check out some 30 second highlights here, here, and here. But really you should listen to the whole thing.


Ever wonder what Periphery would sound like if they were put in a blender with an intro to an anime show and early 2000s pop-punk? Yeah me too. Thankfully they wrote "It's Only Smiles" to answer that question for us. What if they wrote a 100% synth/darkwave song featuring Spencer's vocals? Okay here's "Crush".


In many ways HAIL STAN feels like a culmination of everything that came before it. Take the track "Sentient Glow". It feels like it would fit in nicely on Periphery II: This Time It's Personal with hints of the poppier elements of tracks from that album like "Ragnarok", "Scarlet", and "Mile Zero". Other tracks like "CHVRCH BVRNER" and "Follow Your Ghost" feel like they would be at home on the front half of Periphery III: Select Difficulty or next to tracks like "MK Ultra" on Juggernaut


The last track "Satellites", which is also quite lengthy at nine and a half minutes, eases you off the high of the previous tracks with some relaxing and soothing melodies. And just when you think "okay this is enough softness for one song" BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE into a blistering lengthy loud outro.


... And I still can't get enough of this fucking riff from the first single they released.


Fucking 10 out of fucking 10.

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