Periphery Hail Stan Album Review

Hail Stan Album Cover.jpg

This is the 6th studio album from the band and their follow up to 2016 “Select Difficulty”

Periphery are back with the amazingly titled “Hail Stan”

The band are:
Spencer Sotelo - Vocals
Misha Mansoor - Guitar
Mark Holcomb - Guitar
Jake Bowen - Guitar
Matt Helpern - Drums
Adam “Nolly” Getgood - Bass/Mixing (Album only)

This is the first of their albums to be released on their own recently formed label 3DOT Recordings
The band spent a year writing and recording the album. But has that extra time in the studio be well spent? Lets find out.

Without further afudge, the review.

Starts out with a string section before Spencer guides us trough this progressive tour de force.

“In here a tale of a boy who reached the masses
His name was Billy and he liked to get high
A normal guy until the green-skin apocalypse
A do or die”

The song kicks off at the 1.30 mark and there is a real swing and swagger. At over 16 minutes in length the song runs through many peaks and valleys which is always something that I enjoy in music of any genre. It ranges from reflective, ambient pieces to full on blast beats, low strung djent riffage and amazing solos.
Spencer sounds incredible throughout and the musicianship is on point. We get a narrated piece by Mikee Goodman of Sikth.

"Do you think you know who you are?
Did you think you had it all worked out well?
And who could believe... those dead-eyed soldiers
Red sky rainfall
The winter beams no beauty
Just cold-eyed monsters and bare branches
You can wail to the moon, but that'll just make things worse
They see you
They see me
They see all”

There is some great lead playing thrown in, more strings and ambient sections and the outro has a heavy 80s electronica vibe to it that recurs throughout the album.
This is a truly bold and confident start to an album and it is a real indicator of just how talented this band is. Phenomenal song.

Blood Eagle
A heavy as fudge song that continues to get better with every listen despite its foul subject matter. A song about Vikings raiding my fair isle of Englandhamshire.
I have already done a review for this song and will say no more.

I found that this one had a real Dillinger Escape Plan mixed with Faith No More feel to it. A frenetic, pummelling instrumentation that continues unrelated throughout the song.
It was the chorus that had the biggest Faith No More influence for me

"Soaked in red toe to head
Deathbed desire

I think it is fair to point out the production at this point. It sounds fantastic to my ears with every frequency fully realised. With so much going on in the lower registers it would be easy for everything to get lost but it all sits perfectly and packs a powerful punch.

Garden In The Bones
The intro riff to this reminds me very much of a beefed up version of "Owner of a lonely heart” by YES.

I assume that this song is about the taking of America from its indigenous people due to multiple references such as Buffalos, headresses and firewater. There is also, what sounds like some Native American singing in the bridge section.

There was a real groove to this song that was most pleasing and Spencer once again sounds fantastic. I’ll say right now that as amazing as the instrumentation is throughout this album it is Spencer who steals the show for sure.

"The claim we stake
A land within our wake
A Garden in the bones
A headdress down in the soil we own
We build it on the bullshit or build it upon the burial
A Garden in the bones
A headdress down in the soil we own”

We get some more great lead playing and a heavy finish.
A powerful and emotive song!

It’s Only Smiles
Starts out with some electronica before going into an incredibly catchy riff that has a hint of early 2000’s style pop punk (with more intricate playing admittedly) and an especially infectious chorus.

"I've been trying to work it out
Gotta get away from the sights and sounds
Keep it on the ground
I don't wanna be, but just carry on and smile on through it
Death is true and I'll be missing you”

It was difficult not to be completely taken in by this one.

Follow Your Ghost
More straight up djent in this one with very aggressive vocals and a nod to Devin Townsend in some of the gang vocal sections.
There were some great heavy riffs in this tune i loved the way the tune introduced a brief refrain toward the back half of the song that builds up again in intensity with Spencer delivering a truly impassioned performance.

Chemicals will rise so I can ease the guilt from the escape
So cut low
Draining all the blood
Your hero falls"

Starts out with an electronic keyboard and drum line that i found very reminiscent of Algorithm from Muse's "Simulation Theory"
And the opening vocal phrasing reminded me a lot of P.O.D's "Youth of the Nation

"We are the earth
We are the sky
We are the body and the mind
The ancient tribe"

We get another string section that is used to great effect and really adds to the song. It feels triumphant and cinematic.
Ends with an orchestral score that could have easily been in an Alfred Hitchcock movie (or a Bustah Rhymes song)

Sentient Glow
We return to the heavy on this track but it is by no means lacking melody. This one bought to mind Killswitch Engage and i particularly enjoyed the riffs which were fact paced and precise.

I think it was the choruses that reminded me the most of Killswitch

"Watch the horizon fade within your eyes
Within you
I have to trust I will pull through
This is the end of the suffering"

Another very enjoyable tune

And finally we get "Satellites" which perfectly ends the album and bookends it with the opener "Reptile"

A lot more ambient instrumentation with this one and a great use of some echoed vocals ("What do we know?")

There is a touch of jazz (courtesy of Matt Helpern superb drumming) and the back half of the song builds into something truly special with Spencer giving a highlight performance (in an album of highlight performances)

"The mountain cracks from all the kicks
The love we take and the grave mistakes
The land we rape that's within our wake
And all we strive for is blood and satellites"

There is another refrain and the song once again builds to an impassioned close

"Battered skin under the road
Life begins as I corrode
We're going under"

The album ends with a truly haunting message that once heard cannot be unheard.
An Absolutely stunning end to an absolutely stunning album.

Without a question this is a contender for album of the year. I enjoyed it from the first listen and it has just gotten better with each subsequent listen. An incredible album that the band should be very proud of.

You can check out my video review of the album here -