Stigma - Concerto For The Undead

Italian metalcore? Before you recoil in terror read on - these guys are far, far better than most...

With their second album this four piece have really come up trumps. First impressions count and the packaging is top notch, especially the 6pp inlay artwork which features zombie/horror cartoons to depict each of the ten tracks. Once you've pressed the play button the good vibes continue - the production is spot on and gives the band a crispness and assurance that many in this genre fail to match. Genuinely this is up there with the best that metalcore has to offer. Bold claim but there could well be a new contender on the block....

Eight of the ten tracks are faultless. If pushed for a highlight I'd single out penultimate track "Beat Me Maestro, Eight To The Dead!" which despite the somewhat bizarre title oozes quality, combining groove and intricacy perfectly. Reverting to general observations, the vocalist's extreme work is suitably vicious and thankfully he keeps the clean sections to a minimum, and they have a drummer who clearly thinks and knows how to keep things interesting. There are the trademark breakdowns and choppy, twiddly, guitar parts of course - but there's something different about these fellas. Many metalcore releases bore me senseless within a couple of tracks, whereas this most definitely didn't.

On the down side two tracks don't quite work for me. "What About A Terror Ride?" is slightly over-complicated and angular, and sounds clunky rather than flowing, and the same comments can be levelled at closing track "Doctor Skeleton" too.

 All things considered "Concerto For The Undead" shows there's still mileage in a much vilified genre. Time will tell, but with the right backing I can see Stigma making a name for themselves. Re-invigorating is perhaps pushing things too far, but they prove that there's life in the old dog yet!


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