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Review: Stygma IV - Phobia
Stygma IV

Label: Rising Sun
Year released: 2001
Duration: 58:42
Tracks: 10
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: March 15, 2006
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
Readers Rating

Rated 3.83/5 (76.67%) (6 Votes)

Fourth long-player for this now defunct Austrian monster. Stygma IV play evil and dark power metal and usually tend to write concept type albums that are somehow always about death. As heard on their most recent output – "Hell Within" – the band's emphasis on lyrics about death, suicide, torture and horror runs strong throughout. The title itself refers to the phobia man has of departing from this world.

"Phobia" presents us with music that is very dismal and bleak; getting to the point of sheer depression or horror sometimes so this is not something you will be partying to, or going on your hunt to slay dragons. This is not that kind of power metal. This is the good stuff ;) Vocalist Ritchie Krenmaier is just a master of his art. He has a deep voice but with that he sings in the higher ranges, so it sounds quite unique and highly enjoyable. Melodic as well as rhythmic riffs are on the menu in a manner that bands like Nevermore should try doing in order to sound half decent. It has been said that Stygma IV hail from the Nevermore school of metal, but I must add that that claim can be very deceiving. It is hard to categorize this band, perhaps like Nevermore, but Stygma IV are miles above in a league that Warrel Dane and co. seem incapable of touching.

This album however is not quite as brawny and in your face as "Hell Within" and does contain a track or two that manage to lose your attention instantly. "Phobia" is not so beefy on the hooks or speed; every single track on the record maintains about the same tempo and some variation might have helped it to sound better. That little criticism aside, this album still has plenty of nuts and power in it to be worth your attention. Unfortunately the band has called it quits due to the drummer's injury and we may not hear from them again. But the six albums that they leave us with should definitely give the fans of dark power metal quite a bit to enjoy.

Other related information on the site
Review: Hell Within (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
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