Pioneering and co-founding the much talked about ‘djent’ movement that has long since become over-populated and saturated with copycats, Periphery have swiftly proven to outgrow and cast aside the shackles of any so-called scene. Whilst double disc opus Juggernaut and 2016’s Periphery III: Select Difficulty showcased the band’s widescreen sonic vision to breath-taking effect, the emergence of the Washington sextet’s fifth full-length shows no signs of their creative fertility fizzling out.
As one can rightly predict from such a shrewdly inventive bunch, Hail Stan is a dynamic whirlwind. Hulking, gloriously shape-shifting opener ‘Reptile’ throws up so many sublime highs in its sixteen-minute prog metal melee that between the chin-stroking complexities, giant vocal hooks and succinct, groove-driven pummel, it’s easy to get lost in all the sensational peaks being hit, and indeed, given the sometimes lavish duration and formidable density of these tracks, the record is anything but long-winded; its pristine intricacies delivering so many eye-popping highs that there’s simply no time to get bored.
However, it is also fair to say that Periphery sound infinitely more muscular than they ever have, the likes of album highlight ‘Blood Eagle’ defined by a polyrhythmic punch and thudding syncopation which, given its cataclysmic eight-string grooves, could even slot into a latter day Morbid Angel record with little concern. There is, of course, more than enough fidgeting, dork-friendly tech displayed throughout Hail Stan (see ‘Sentient Glow’), yet Periphery seem more content with going straight for the jugular this time out, perhaps embracing a leaner, more tunnel-vision brutality than we have seen yet from the band.
By turns elaborate, delicate, unashamedly accessible and thunderously heavy, this is state-of-the-art ingenuity at its very apex, and, as if we needed any more clarification, etches Periphery‘s name that bit clearer into the pantheon of modern metallic greats.
Periphery IV: Hail Stan is out now on Century Media Records. Purchase here.
Words: Tony Bliss