Stigmata

The Wounds That Never Heal

Written by: PP on 25/11/2009 14:57:28

You know that the holiday season is fast approaching when the amount of re-issues by record labels looking to make an easy buck or two is quickly approaching critical mass. I Scream Records and Massacre Records in particular have dived head first into the re-issue market on the second half of 2009, re-releasing what surely must be half of their back catalogue of average records anywhere from a decade to two and a half decades ago, dealing out a "legendary" tag liberally to every release regardless of actual quality. Stigmata used to be a hardcore/metal hybrid from upstate New York and made their mark during the 90s with "Hymns For An Unknown God" and 2000's "Do Unto Others", which are now being reissued together under the label "The Wounds That Never Heal".

Stigamata's brand of hardcore is characterized by exactly two things: the horribly average and monotonous bark of their vocalist, which has the effect of making every single song sound like "Save Us", the first track on the 21 song effort, and by the sublime drumming of Jason Bittner who has since then joined a much better band that most of you should know rather well: Shadows Fall. If it wasn't for Bittner's ability to play technical rolls and vary the tempo using his kit, Stigmata would inevitably fall into the lowest marks this site has to offer, simply because the one-dimensional, chord-based abrasive guitars offer absolutely nothing for the listener and the vocalist gets incredibly annoying just after a couple of songs. In fact, he shares many properties in common with the Entombed singer: both have a rumbling voice that resembles the roar of a bear rather than actual singing, although the Stigmata dude's lyrics are at least decipherable from amidst the mess.

The first album, "Hymns For An Unknown God" is beyond terrible and I'm having trouble understanding why it needed to be re-issued. Luckily 2000's "Do Unto Others" offers a faster and a slightly more modern take so not all hope is lost. But it's pretty close. Last.fm usually offers a good glimpse into how 'legendary' some bands actually are, and in Stigmata's case, their Russian colleagues sharing the same name seem to be at least 10 times more popular. In the last 6 months, "Murder Of Life" has been the most played Stigmata song, and it has been played a total of 318 times. That's less than two plays per day, so much for the 'legendary' tag that I Scream Records likes to use in connection with the band. That's why I'm comfortable stating that even when it comes to crossover bands and other hardcore/metal hybrids, there are simply too many far better bands on offer for Stigmata's release to matter in 2009. Don't waste your money.

Download: At What Price, No Compromise
For the fans of: Earth Crisis
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.06.2009
I Scream Records

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