Stigmata

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Band Name Arch Enemy
Album Name Stigmata
Type Album
Released date 05 May 1998
Labels Century Media
Produced by Nordström Fredrik
Music StyleMelodic Death
Members owning this album433

Tracklist

1. Beast of Man 03:37
2. Stigmata 02:11
3. Sinister Mephisto 05:46
4. Dark of the Sun 07:00
5. Let the Killing Begin 05:19
6. Black Earth 06:40
7. Tears of the Dead 05:55
8. Vox Stellarum 02:09
9. Bridge of Destiny 07:46
Bonustracks
10. Hydra 00:57
11. Diva Satanica 03:44
12. Damnation's Way 03:50
13. Diva Satanica (Live) 04:05
14. Beast of Man (Live) 03:38
15. Bass Intro / Tears of The Dead (Live) 06:05
16. Bridge of Destiny (Live) 05:42
Total playing time 74:24

Review @ InfinityZero

17 March 2010
Since Johan Liiva's departure in 2000 and Angela Gossow's introduction to the band as the new vocalist in 2001, Arch Enemy fans have been split in half. As the years went on, most of the old fans dropped away from Arch Enemy and new ones came in to hear what they thought to be the only metal band with a female growler/screamer. They started calling the old music garbage, too.

But I think differently. While I don't completely hate the Gossow period, the Johan Liiva period was what made the band tight and original, and not only because of Johan's barking vocals that were neither growl or scream. The quitars were also very, very technical. The riffs were intense, and didn't sound forcibly "talented". The solos were incredible, not only Demonstrating the talent and teamwork behind the Amott brothers, but they wanted to make you stand on your roof and raise your fist in triumph. They made you feel like breaking through brick walls. If you don't believe me, listen to the album Stigmata.

The album starts with "Beast of Man", which to me is there to show you that your listening to Arch Enemy. It's a song similar to the ones you'd hear off their debut album Black Earth. What I notice is that it's a lot more flowy than most of the stuff off of the previous album, but it keeps that brutality that only Arch Enemy can have. By Arch Enemy's standards though, it's a good song, but not great. It wouldn't have made too much of a difference to me if it had been left off, or put into another track number. It doesn't work too well as an intro song, and that's because of what comes next.

The title song is a 2 minute instrumental that kicks too much ass to decribe. Like I said above, It makes you feel like you could break through brick walls. It's incredible. THIS should be the intro song. It serves perfectly to show you what Arch Enemy is made of. I've always thought that the Amott brothers were the best part of Arch Enemy, and this song proves it. It also works perfectly as an intro to Sinister Mephisto. Instantly you see that the band has dramatically improved and grown. The song does take a mid pace for most of the time, at least compared to previous songs like Bury Me an Angel or Transmigration Macabre. The solo of Sinister Mephisto almost matches Stigmata, while sounding completely different. Every time I hear the solo, I need to rewind and hear it again. No other Arch Enemy song has ever done that much for me. It kicks the crap out of any solo on the Gossow albums, that's for sure. Johan Liiva's voice is as coarse and harsh as ever, and it definitely delivers through the entire album. His vocal performance has also noticeably improved since the last release. The drums, although not done by the well-known Arch Enemy drummer Daniel Erlandsson, are really well done. I think this guy competes with Erlansson, but apparently he didn't fit what the band was "trying to acheive". Funny, that's the same reason Johan got kicked off.

The album continues in a way that almost every song brings something new to the table for Arch Enemy, without damaging their infusion of melody and brutality. Dark of the Sun is an overall slower song, but I still love it, especially the guitar section that comes in between verses. In Let the Killing Begin, Johan's vocals seem a little bit tired, for some reason. They don't seem to really put an impression on the song. The chorus riff sounds a bit like the chorus riff from Bury Me an Angel, but otherwise it's a good song, and it has another really good solo. Black Earth (yeah, that's a sng from this album) is something that Arch Enemy has never tried again. It's quite a different song, but it's a serious headbanger, and I love that intro. The vocals are particularly stong in this song, and it's good that it comes right after Let the Killing Begin. It gets you right back into Liiva's voice. I think it would be nice if a verse or two were left out, because the song seems to go on a bit too long. Vox Stellarum is the only other instrumental on the album, and it consists of a slow piano melody that's accompanied by a double guitar solo, and the two instruments go so well together. Again, nothing like this has every been done by Arch Enemy again. Moving on to the final song, which serves as a good ending song and it's also the longest Arch Enemy song every recorded, clocking at 9 minutes. It has a really nice power ballad outro that always resonates with me when the album ends.

The songs on Stigmata average at 5 or 6 minutes, making them a lot longer than most other Arch Enemy songs, and the overall album comes off a little slower than any other Arch Enemy album by a little bit, but they all have their fast and agressive parts, so you should be satysfied either way, and just about everything makes up for it if you aren't. Every instrument perfectly compliments each other, the down tuned guitars work really well with Johan's bass-driven voice. I always feel great listening to this album. Not only is it the best Arch Enemy album by a long shot, it's my favorite melodic death metal album too. My favorite songs here are Stigmata, Sinister Mephisto, and Dark of the sun. I love this album, and I'm kind of glad that there are so many things here that weren't done in the Gossow period. They're something that should stay solely reserved for this album. Rating: 19/20

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Crinn - 27 June 2012: I like this review a lot. Because I'm from a younger generation, Doomsday Machine was my first Arch Enemy album. So I'm much more familiar with the newer Arch Enemy material than the older stuff. Personally, I'm more of a fan of the newer albums than the older stuff. But I will admit that this album in particular is my favorite "older" Arch Enemy record (if I had to pick just one). One thing that I've noticed (now that I'm much more knowledgeable about metal and music in general) is that although it may not seem like it, but many of the Gossow-era records (especially the first few) use the older albums as a blueprint to build off of. Once again great review man..
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