Periphery -- Periphery IV: Hail Stan
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PeripheryPeriphery IV: Hail Stan

★★★☆ One of Periphery’s best albums to date. Of course, as is by now mandatory for this band, I need to give you my first impressions, song by song:

"Reptile": absolutely masterful; a new high water mark for the band; Periphery’s Catch 33
"Blood Eagle": a fun slice of Periphery when they’re feeling their most metal; all over the radio, though, so I’m probably gonna get over it real quick.

Periphery -- Periphery III- Select Difficulty
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PeripheryPeriphery III: Select Difficulty

★★★☆ The first two tracks? Super strong shred. Exactly what I want from Periphery. And then the band revert to their personal blend of emo cleans and GIT-type noodling. The emo stuff sounds pretty, but lacks the emotional resonance of a similar move from TesseracT. The ship gets righted in the back half of the album, though; there’s more heaviness, and the band’s melodic side comes back in a more tempered form.

Haunted Shores -- Viscera
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Haunted ShoresViscera

Not only is the best Periphery release of 2015 (which is saying something, considering this is technically only half of the band, working under a different name), but this is the best djentish instrumental EP since Chimp Spanner’s 2012 release All Roads Lead Here. With some editing and more of a story to tell, this could have been a four-star album.

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Metal?

I was listening to the new Haunted Shores EP today, and fact-checking myself on whether it was the side project of two members of Periphery. So I took a side trip to the excellent Encyclopaedia Metallum… and suddenly found myself reading a thread about the age-old question: are they metal?

Periphery - Clear
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PeripheryClear

★★★☆ This little album rocks. While you can still here the sampler quality of this quiltwork EP in places, it’s still generally successful as a document of the band’s ambitions and directions, and manages to be cohesive enough to not be a total dysfunctional mess. It’s also both poppier and more metal at times that Periphery II (with standout tracks “directed” by the band’s rhythm section).