Periphery IV: Hail Stan (2019)

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I have been patiently awaiting Periphery IV: Hail Stan since first hearing lead single Blood Eagle. That track blew my mind when I first heard it, so to say I’ve been eager for the album is an understatement! 

Opening with the 16 minute epic Reptile, is a bold move, but it pays off dividends.  Reptile is nothing short of amazing, covering a wide range of styles, and really setting the mood for what is to come.  

Blood Eagle is a slab of modern metal brilliance.  It’s crushingly heavy, intense, and simply awe inspiring.  It’s a masterclass in progressive metal music, and at least in my opinion is the highlight of this record. 

Chvrch Burner plays with timing and song structure like only the most talented musicians can do making for a frantic piece of music, while Garden in the Bones scales back the heavyness in favour of vocals that bring Mike Patton to mind in the verses.  It’s a very accessible song, sure to be a hit for Periphery. 

It’s Only Smiles puts me in mind of pop punk bands like Simple Plan and Yellowcard as far as the vocal melodies are concerned.  Musically it has a lot more going for it, it has to be said.  While not a ballad as such, this might be the closest thing to it on this album.  

Follow Your Ghost has a darkness about it, which makes it the second most interesting track for mine, falling only behind Reptile.  There’s something infectious about Crush’s pulsating intro that hooks you straight away. The vocals are haunting and catchy, and there is something so familiar about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.  

Sentient Glow is not a bad song, but by no means is it the strongest song here, and probably takes its place at the tail end of the album with good reason.  Satellites is another epic song, clocking in at just under ten minutes.  It’s a slow burner, which eventually builds to a frenetic climax.  A perfect way to close the album. 

The closest contemporary for Periphery is probably Devin Townsend, and releasing just a week after his most ambitious album to date is a fairly tall order, but they live up to the challenge.  Hail Stan is a modern progressive metal mastetpiece, and arguably the best album of their career.  

9/10

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