Two years after reviewing Mord’A’Stigmata’s previous release, an EP called Our hearts Slow Down, I now have the pleasure of writing about their latest full-length album, Hope. The avant-garde metallers Mord’A’Stigmata are as Herculean as ever, as Hope presents some of their best work to date. I exuberantly praised the aforementioned EP, Our Hearts Slow Down, and the cerebral take on experimental post-black metal that the band has carefully drudged through dark waters for years has now gained enough traction to warrant publicity from major metal media outlets. It is well-deserved.
Still mightily true to the sound and conceptualization that has allowed them to persevere through years of obscurity, it is nice to know that some bands can evolve without watering down their music, as this latest release features plenty of mind-body imbalance made manifest by balanced songwriting chops. The arrangements are kept superbly diverse with tempo changes and rung notes that please metal purists of small or large numbers. Certainly not catchy in the way most mainstream metal tends to over-exercise with glutinous ambition, Mord-A’Stigmata allows instrumental virtuosity to exist in simpler forms, especially in the percussion and the manic-depressive guitar riffs, sometimes veering into territory heard very little of in today’s metal climate.
The band has a very organic sound, a modern production that suits the drumming and guitar play that is experimental in spite of being somewhat accessible. That said, it is easy to suggest that their music will be easy to get into. Hope doesn’t have a lot of dissonant sections that detract from one’s enjoyment of the music. The tempos often morph in precision with the arrangements, and the guitars often break down into simpler forms that sound familiar but aren’t quite that. The rung notes constantly anchor the guitar riffs in a great example of how post-black metal isn’t entirely disposed to using them largely for atmosphere. The band uses simple riffs to complement difficult transitions with deft ease.
While truly a modern genre-bending slab of post black metal, post rock, avant-garde expressionism, Mord’A’Stigmata’s music is not a carpet-bombing of ambient sections and orchestral arrangements. They merge the best of modern black metal, rock music and intellectual content into an utterly fascinating melee of elements. The band’s sound may not embody the spirit of 90s black metal circa second wave, but the grand departure from minimalist black metal has inconceivably resulted in the survival of the genre. Thank bands like Mord’A’Stigmata for that.
While it’s hard to describe the music in detail, it is easy to recommend Mord’A’Stigmata’s Hope to many intelligent metal fans who aren’t quite easy to convince otherwise. Intelligent metal like this is suitable for a deluge of listens, a careful examination of the concepts used on the record and is fitting for intent, attentive repeat listens. Underrated in spite of some modest success in promotional efforts, Mord’A’Stigmata comes across near flawlessly throughout the runtime of latest release Hope. Reward the Polish act by spreading the word. Whatever psychological malaise impairs your universe can find sufficient Balm of Gilead in Mord’A’Stigmata’s music. Cerebral, carefully plotted, executed precisely to please intelligent purists, Mord’A’Stigmata’s Hope is the embodiment of renewed hope in the metal genre. Sufficiently entertaining and vastly rewarding for the right fans, Hope sees Mord’A’Stigmata in top form.
2. The Tomb from Fear and Doubt
3. To Keep the Blood
4. In Less Than No Time
Ion – Bass, Vocals
Static – Guitars, Synthesizers
DQ – Drums
Golem XIV – Guitars