|Review: Mord'A'Stigmata - Antimatter|
Label: Sun & Moon Records
Year released: 2011
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: October 30, 2011
Reviewed by: Memnarch
Rated 3.6/5 (72%) (5 Votes)
Mord'a'Stigmata are a band from Poland who have recently unleashed their latest offering on Sun & Moon Records. Antimatter is fifty minutes of dissonant, avant-garde black metal containing various esoteric and spiritual themes which follow the same detached blueprints of the much lauded Norwegians Ved Buens Ende and French underground darlings Deathspell Omega. This form of black metal certainly isn't the easiest to replicate, and can be difficult to pull it off and avoid coming across a bunch of self indulgent pricks.
It's a good thing then for Mord'a'Stigmata that Antimatter is actually a very solid effort but is extremely hard to digest on first go; stick at it and you will be rewarded. Much like any prog album, it's better to sit down with it, with headphones and paying full attention. It's an extremely varied and technical album, which while being one of its strengths, is also its main downfall. It tends to lose focus after a while and any sort of structure collapses out beneath everything and it descends into a bit of an almighty free-for-all of guitar and drumming. The good points do outweigh the negatives though, if only slightly.
Performance-wise, Antimatter can't be faulted, the drum work is fast, intricate and varied and the blasting is used tastefully throughout, something many black metal bands could do with a bit of help on, while the guitar tone is thick and disharmonic, ‘orthodox' in sound, ranging from some huge riffs to off kilter leads. The guitar work on Antimatter does get notably heavy at times, and sometimes is more reminiscent of something off Altars of Madness or Cause of Death and this is also very noticeable in the harsh vocals of Ion which are lower than your typical black metal shriek, a low guttural which occasionally ranges to clean vocals which are pretty weak. Not bad enough to spoil the album, but certainly nothing to write home about. One listen to "Serpent Salvation" and the death metal influence will be clear.
Antimatter musically is nigh flawless, the technicality and precision of the musicianship is superb, but its main problem as is the case with so much ‘avant-garde' stuff is that much of it just isn't very memorable. Towards the end of the album my attention began to wane, but there are a few inspired moments to be found here, most notably on the tracks "Kinetic Dogma" and "...It Writes the Names of Ghosts" which contain some astounding guitar and drum work. It lacks a certain cohesion and impact that may very well one day put them on the same pedestal as Deathspell Omega and Dødheimsgard. The ability is there, they just have to build on this.
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