What a thing of beauty it is, melting genres together, bringing into existence a fusion of ideas that seem to be different from each other, but work in harmony. What a lovely way to create fractals between separate things that weren’t even touching to begin with. Periphery’s latest offering to the great altar of metal Periphery IV: HAIL STAN has rubbed me quite right; there is just something so absolutely pleasing about the use of multiple instruments, electric or not, and the excellent extending of proverbial tentacles into unexpected areas, that is so attractive about this album. I now pronounce metalcore and progressive metal, a married couple.
There are about a fuck ton of instances throughout the album that catch you by surprise. Be it string sections that melt into pop breakdowns or whole straight up electro-pop tracks, and that’s aside from the tastiest progressive metalcore that’s included. I can confidently say that “Reptile” sitting at the top of the tracklist is quite a masterpiece in modern composition, all sixteen minutes of it. It is an honourable addition to progressive metal as a standalone genre; shifting gently from symphonic buildups, to catchy melodies, to ultra djenty guitar riffs, to haunting vocals, to spacey psychedelia. The goosebumps are present, and needless to say, the delivery of these musicians (Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen, Matt Halpern, Spencer Sotelo, Mark Holcomb, and Adam Getgood) is absolutely flawless in between every nook and cranny of this record.
The remainder of the album is so sweetly put together and it is strongly believed on my part that there’s a little something-something for everyone. If you had told sixteen-year-old me that you can actually like electro sections in a metal album and that they would go perfectly well with the rest of the album without sounding lame to any metalhead (unreal, I know), I probably would’ve snorted right at your face. But I love being proven wrong! I’m a scientist at heart.
So, we mustn’t forget to acknowledge the highly powerful force of ripples created by Periphery, with this addition as a humble and great example of a band that knows well what they are doing. Going from an extremely high point with violent and rhythmically technical metalcore, to evolving into a gentle settling down over the span of an hour, this musical movie in your head is a definite success.
Written by Talia Plante
*edited by Danielle Kenedy