The Polish metal outfit, MORD’A’STIGMATA, have released their fourth full-length record, entitled Hope, via Pagan Records. This is the first full release from the group since their 2013 album, Ansia, which received extraordinary praise from the metal scene. Nearly four years down the line, we listened to MORT’A’STIGMATA‘s latest offering and checked how it fares.
Right from the start, you can tell this is a strong record. The near four-year gap in creating music has seemed to lead frontman and composer for MORD’A’STIGMATA into a burst of creative energy, with the feeling of true emotion behind it. The track itself is dark, gritty, and slow, yet beautifully orchestrated and explores several different styles which all work together excellently. The slow break in the middle of the song, with a single riff repeated over a guitar solo and slow-moving drum pattern works brilliantly to build up the tension for the final outburst of the track. Almost immediately picking up the pace, Hope brings beautiful guitar work, reminiscent of that offered by AUSTERE yet simultaneously unique, possibly due to the drums being at the forefront of the track. A little addition of synth notes adds to the track well, and is incredibly immersive.
Moving on to The Tomb of Fear and Doubt, the album takes an even more slow-going approach towards the start. This track has a significantly more malevolent feel to it, with more focus on damning vocals from bassist and vocalist Ion. Exiting this track is almost hypnotic, with the same progression repeated, however it falls short of becoming so as it feels a little too repetitive.
The album draws to a close with In Less than No Time, a behemoth of a track that is well worthy of being regarded the record’s highlight. While it’s incredibly slow to begin with, the build-up is so, so worth it as it hypes the listener up perfectly. The transition from a gentle, single guitar, to a burst of energy and vocals accompanied by a melancholic guitar, bringing forth pure emotion and really reflects the band’s ability to express themselves through music. The track is almost painful and cold, while allowing you to completely immerse into its ferocity.
What MORD’A’STIGMATA manage to do with this record is delve into true expression through music. Music this full of expression is seldom heard, yet Hope conveys such a strong mix of emotions it’s almost overwhelming. Everything, from the guitar to the incredible vocals, is filled with melancholic bliss. This may seem somewhat paradoxical, but the record, whilst melancholic in its nature, has moments where it seems to give a more positive feel. It’s a record that you can submerge yourself into, reflect on yourself, and find some release. For fans of the harsh vocals of BEHEMOTH and the atmospheric beauty of AGALLOCH combined, Hope is a beautiful mix of styles like these bands, while keeping their own and standing out from other projects in this genre. You will find yourself being immersed entirely in this record.
Hope is out now via Pagan Records.
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