As high octane as a live progressive act gets.
Photographs taken by Heaviest of Art at The Wiltern on January 31st, 2020.
Following the success of last year's initial tour run with VEIL OF MAYA and COVET, prog-metal giants PERIPHERY brought their renowned new record Periphery IV: Hail Stan (2019) to new venues for a second string of shows. After splitting with previous label Sumerian Records, Hail Stan marked the first recording under the band's own label 3DOT Recordings, presenting something completely unbound by any creative restrictions. The radiant energy emitting from this latest full-length made its way to The Wiltern in Los Angeles, giving Heaviest of Art the ability to engage in the energy head on. Electric acts PLINI and ARCH ECHO were scheduled to open the show, making it one stacked evening of musical excellence.
Kicking off the festivities was ARCH ECHO, who's instrumental prog caught attention early on in the evening. It may have been relatively early, but a steady crowd gathered closer to the stage to engage with the quintet's pristine musicianship.
Though relatively young (formed in 2016), ARCH ECHO performed like well seasoned veterans as each musician fired away with clear cut precision. Smiles lit up in the crowd with every soaring guitar melody that stemmed from the axe of guitarists Adam Rafowitz and Adam Bentley. With an explosive Richie Martinez commanding the kit and Joe Calderone on the bass, no words were needed for a band who's hymns speak a great deal of wonder. Joey Izzo had no choice but to smile behind the soothing keys as ARCH ECHO set the stage for bands to follow. Enjoy a slideshow of live shots below:
Australian virtuoso PLINI followed ARCH ECHO's set in wondrous fashion, further cementing himself as the modern Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. Having enlisted fellow guitarist Jake Lowe, bassist Simon Grove, and drummer Chris Allison for this tour's live set, PLINI built a unit of musical prowess worth the price of admission.
Like ARCH ECHO, PLINI needed only the music to speak to the soul. The guitarist came together with Grove and Lowe on multiple occasions, playing side by side to complete joy. Melodies soared and so did their fingers, letting loose riff after riff. Audiences along the barricade closed their eyes and nodded their head along with the talent before them, enjoying every second of the Australian's god-like fretwork.
As PLINI walked off the stage to a roaring cheer, lights became dim and the night's hosts became ready to take the stage. Darkness filled the venue and the orchestral ending to Crush played from a tape, drawing excitement from the thousands in attendance. Frontman Spencer Sotelo walked front and center as Reptile's suspenseful intro rose to the occasion. Axemen Misha Mansoor and Jake Bowen came forward shortly after and Sotelo let out a spine chilling scream as Matt Halpern's double bass work erupted, turning the light beams into a frenzy. Reptile proved to be as worthy of a set opener as it was an album opener for Hail Stan.
In performing the near 17-minute Reptile, PERIPHERY demonstrated that Hail Stan is the culmination of a band doing what they love to do under their own rules, restricted by no one but themselves. The cohesion amongst the group was strong as the energy of each bounced off one another, fulfilling every fan's expectations from the get go. Sotelo's vocals soared above the illustrious Wiltern ceiling as Mansoor and Bowen shredded underneath, supported by a heartbeat that Halpern establishes with a cataclysmic drum display.
PLINI and bassist Simon Lowe, who was now on the guitar, returned to the stage to join Mansoor and Bowen for Reptile's solos. Seeing all 4 masterminds on stage at the same time was a sight to behold, each holding their weight with electrifying solos that flowed into one another seamlessly.
New tracks Blood Eagle, CHVRCH BVRNER, and the grandiose It's Only Smiles were met by classics like Marigold and Scarlet on this career spanning set. Each track was tight-knit, performed with the utmost precision one has come to expect from the likes of Mansoor and Bowen. The team behind the soundboard ensured a crisp and quite pleasing sound, letting each instrument shine as it should.
Hearts were torn as the D.C. quartet closed the performance with an encore consisting of the beautiful Lune, instilling tears upon a select few in the crowd. PERIPHERY's impact was felt as the electrifying crowd belted cheers with hands raised high, thanking the unit for their compositions. The performance may have been over, but the energy throughout The Wiltern was still reigning high. Let it be known that Stan was hailed that night.
Periphery IV: Hail Stan is available now and you can get yours HERE.