Periphery – Periphery IV: HAIL STAN

[3DOT Recordings, 2019]

Intro: Giannis Voulgaris
Translation: Lefteris Statharas
10 / 06 / 2019

Founded by guitarist Misha Mansoor in 2005, Periphery saw their first self-titled album being released in 2010. Since then they drew a lot of attention in the other side of the Atlantic. Their music resonated so much that in their second album they had John Petrucci and Gurthrie Govan as guest musicians. Since then they were established as leaders of the djent movement in America and one of the hottest names of the genre that was flourishing at the time, that lead them to a grammy nomination for the best metal band, commercial success and global recognition. Now with their six full length album, the first away from Sumerian Records, they are called to prove if they can offer something new to their audience, but at the same time if they can save a musical genre that is rapidly declining.


 

Ok… But does it djent?

It is a fact that the last few years the djent musical genre is in a rut, which is natural because of the numerous albums that have been released the last decade.  However, Periphery have always managed to stand out and make their audience talk about their albums either because of the songs, or because of the production as well as the enrichment of their sound with elements like a chorus or an orchestra.

In their sixth album, however, the band seems to not have the mood to experiment with their sound and it seems like they have found a nice sound and they just offer new albums. But that’s not something that the audience expects from Periphery. Yes indeed, Hail Stan has the main characteristics of the band like the voluminous production, the great guitar work both in rhythmic and the solo sections, as well as the mix of the guitars with the extreme vocals. However this time I think that the guitars are too much in front, the cymbals of the drums are buried and the base is less up front which could be because the bassist Adam Getgood left the band.

Some songs in my opinion are also not in the genre that the band is moving, like It’s Only Smiles and Sentient Glow that are reminiscent of indifferent metalcore songs from the 2000s with the switching of heavy rhythms and the pop refrains, or Crush that is mostly based on the synthisizers and the clean vocals. Maybe they’re there for commercial reasons but they definitely don’t create cohesion in the album. Additionally, some songs are not up to great standards, or better to Periphery standards like Chvrch Bvrner, Follow your Ghost and Blood Eagle that are songs that seem like I’ve heard them before from Periphery. On the other hand there is Satellites with the great melody, the low tempo, the ambient parts, the clean vocals, the slightly djent guitars and the overall prog atmosphere, that leaves a nice taste for the end of the album. At the same time, the epic Reptile is the other great song of Hail Stan, since in 16 minutes it combines harmonically the orchestral parts with the technical prog riffs, the different expressions of Spencer Sotelo’s voice with the choir but also the melody with the djent character of the band, showing that when the band wants to experiment they have no equal.

Periphery unfortunately in their sixth work, they give us an album that in my opinion is uneven, but mostly an album that offers almost nothing in the genre. Hail Stan could go commercially better than any other release, but musically it didn’t make the audience “wiser”.

5 / 10

Giannis Voulgaris

 

2nd opinion

 

Misha Mansoor and his band of groovy rejects are back with their 6th album in 9 years which is the first in their own founded label 3DOT Recordings. In a move that shows attitude, the album starts with 16:43 epic Reptile which pretty much is what you would expect from the band at this point. Groovy rhythms, djent sounds, melodic pop passages and emotionally charged vocals. The rest of the songs go through the signature Periphery sound while they have tried to experiment even further adding choirs, strings and generally sound more mature than their previous releases. A good example of the small change in their sound is the song It’s Only Smiles which has a more melodic sound and the choir. While most of the songs move in the same frequency there is not a lot of variety or something synthetically groundbreaking that would make this album stand out.

7 / 10

Lefteris Statharas