Released: 2014, Baker Team Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
If album beginnings are anything to go by, there are ordinarily two schools of thought: you open quietly, seducing the listener in before landing a sucker punch as the guard has been dropped; or you simply dispense with the quiet opening and crack on. Both have equal merits, yet it seems that the former is a more common option. It may be that the immediate jump into a sonic battering of the ears is just too jarring, but it is nevertheless the lesser-preferred option.
As it happens, STIGMHATE's fourth album “Zodacare Od Zodameranu” opts for the former but the quiet, opening interlude is anything but quiet or seducing. “Aetherion” is a terrifying opener – a woman barks and snarls in an unknown tongue, supplemented by a swirling atonal synthesiser and a soft, clean guitar. If you've listened to Karl Sanders of NILE's solo album “Saurian Exorcisms” and recall the track “A Most Effective Excorcism Against Azagthoth & Emissaries”, then that is the sort of thing we are considering. From there on in, the album erupts into cold life, blazing along with all the hallmarks of everyone's favourite Nordic extreme metal genre.
Fierce, black riffs meet brooding melancholic arpeggiated chords, anchored by a powerhouse performance from drummer Ahrin. Tracks like “The Templethoth” meld this with such a dark ferocity, it demonstrates perfectly that these Italians are slowing down for nothing. Even the inclusion of harmonised leads does nothing to lighten the mood, whilst the blind rage in “The Third Obsidian” and Mistress Of Bone's Mounds” offer gentle nods to the genre's forefathers.
Rather than the often directionless rage that can be found on many extreme metal records, STIGMHATE craft these songs and anchor them down. Each is measured and calculated; the manic sections married with the brooding ones without overstaying their welcome. There is enough variety to prevent the songs just blasting past, however their calculated and concerted effort does leave a slightly flattened feel to proceedings. Even Gambicchia's vocals can fall victim to falling into a grey standard.
Nevertheless, it is a solid fourth album and an indication from STIGMHATE that they plan to continue with their sonic assault. “Zodacare Od Zodameranu” will please any fan of cold black metal and would be a great introduction to both the genre and the band for new listeners. It does blur in places, but for the most part it is an enjoyable and dependable listen.
Review by: Lee Carter