Periphery - Hail Stan Tour 2019 - St. Louis, MO
A devout following for bands is a key component to their success. It may even be said that ‘worship’ is what allows some acts to achieve next level popularity. Standing in the photo pit between the stage and crowd minutes before headliner Periphery took the stage, I was caught off guard by a sudden, repetitive chanting. In an almost ritualistic manor, fans were reciting “Hail Stan! Hail Stan! Hail Stan!” in anticipation of their performance.
Releasing their sixth studio album Periphery IV: Hail Stan this year, the djent-infused progressive metal act have continued to establish themselves as a staple act in the modern era of the genre. The album was independently released on the band's own label, 3DOT Recordings. Though this was the band’s first release not on a label, Stan peaked at number one on the US Billboard Independent Album charts.
Continuing with their theme of uncharted territory, Periphery opened the night with “Reptile,” a 16 minute progressive metal epic, making it the band’s longest song to date. The track introduced fluctuating styles from symphonic strings and soaring vocals to black metal style blast beats and syncopated, pounding breakdowns. Guitarists Mark Holcomb, Jake Bowen, and Misha Mansoor each fully contribute to the band’s sound, adding thick, layered, and complex yet catchy riffs.
Following the operatic opener was “CVRCH BVRNER,” a wildly aggressive track giving the crowd an excuse to thrash around in a frenzy. The song showcased singer Spencer Soteo’s guttural screams which paired well with drummer Matt Halpern’s frantic, percussive foundation.
Only a few songs in and the stage presence of Periphery was not to be unnoticed. All six members took turns commanding attention, moving throughout the stage and allowing one another to show off their talent. In accompaniment to their placement on stage was a light show to be marveled. Intertwined with strobes and colorful glows, each member took their seemingly calculated positions at the perfect times.
By this point, fans were more than invested in what was happening in front of them. During the song “It’s Only Smiles,” feelings of warmth and happiness took over the room accompanied by the bright lights beaming from the stage. As devout fans sang along to every word, the song climaxed into a dramatic contrast of soaring synths over double bass drumming.
“Lune” from the band’s previous effort, Periphery III: Select Difficulty, closed the evening with an atmospheric, feel-good symphony of sound. As the stage began to clear for the night, fans once again began to sporadically chant “HAIL STAN” likely in hope they would continue.
Periphery’s ability to intertwine musical styles into a cohesive soundscape was astounding to witness. The cult-like chanting proceeding the show had me caught off guard, wondering, ‘what could a band possibly do on a stage that could warrant this behavior?’ Their performance spoke for itself. Engaging song structure and grand visuals made for a unique experience that curated an abundance of feelings for the fans. All hail Stan.
The group with continue their tour with a short run in Europe this November.
- Curtis Ebl
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