Stigma

Concerto For The Undead

Written by: PP on 30/05/2010 15:53:19

Stigma debut album "When Midnight Strikes!" received an average mark from this magazine due to the band's unfortunate desire to label themselves as extreme metal, and hence the record was distributed to our extreme metal correspondent AB, who pretty much despises anything -core oriented. Because no matter what the promotional blurb says, you can't get around the fact that the sophomore album "Concerto For The Undead", as well as their debut, is technically proficient, ferocious 'core' music. Whether you'll label it deathcore, metalcore, 'corecore' or all of the above doesn't really matter, but somethingcore it sure is, given the staccato riffs and breakdowns found across this album and the one before.

The good news, however, is that "Concerto For The Undead" is very good at what it does. The band's sole guitarist comes up with fuckin' sweet melodic leads left and right, up and down, filling the entire album with memorable riffs that clearly distinguish the songs from one another. Whether it's the melodic tremolo in "Prove Your Man" that borrows from black metal, or the At The Gates inspired melodeath riffing in "...And They Died Happily Ever After!", Andrea Bailo excels at his job. Vocalist Stefano "Vlad" Ghersi's arsenal is mostly made up of screamed shrieks, but occasionally doubly recorded backing growls and even gang shouts are used to add a good deal of variety to the record. It's all sufficiently extreme, but what really elevates "Concerto For The Undead" above so many contemporaries is that it hasn't forgotten the merit in sublime melody lines, instead of using meaningless breakdowns to ruin the songs. Mind you, these are still used, but usually in connection with something interesting, such as a piercing solo contrasting the bass breakdown on the background. Much like The Black Dahlia Murder, actually.

The production/mixing job by Jona Weinhofen (Bring Me The Horizon) and Scott Atkins (Behemoth, Cradle Of Filth, Sylosis) deserves lots of praise, because it'd be difficult to make "Concerto For The Undead" to sound more perfect sonically. The guitars are sharp and clear, the shrieks aren't drowned underneath the instrumentation, but yet the breakdowns are still punishing when they are used. You can hear how some of the guitars touch on Darkest Hour, but mostly the band references The Black Dahlia Murder and other technically-oriented deathcore / metalcore hybrids at the forefront of that scene these days. The horror/zombie themed lyrics I'm not a fan of, but with all the instrumental prowess on the album, that doesn't really matter. The fact of the matter is that "Concerto For The Undead" may be one of the best albums from Italy I've heard in as long as I can remember; and one to check out for any -core fan for sure.

8

Download: Prove You Are A Man!, What About A Terror Ride?, The Undertaker
For the fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Darkest Hour, At The Gates
Listen: MySpace

Release date 30.04.2010
Pivotal Rockordings

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