Generally with three track albums there isn’t a whole lot to go off of, there isn’t a lot of material. With Mord’A’Stigmata and their new release through Pagan Records titled Our Hearts Slow Down three songs is plenty enough. The entirety of this album is runs around the thirty minute mark. There is plenty to venture into here, and these black metal masterminds make sure that you have plenty to sink your rotten teeth into. Through one listen it is quite impossible to pick up on everything that this release has to offer, and through each listen you find new things that you did not hear before. On Our Hearts Slow Down you get everything and the kitchen sink. You get black metal which is the main staple, you get experimentation, emotion, atmosphere and ambiance among other things.
There are not a lot of bands out there that are quite like Mord’A’Stigmata. You can try to pin some other names to them, but not a lot stick. The unique way in which they play is unmistakable, and with this release it is no different. A lot of albums with minimal songs but long run times can be exhausting and some may not keep everyone’s attention for the allotted time, but Mord’A’Stigmata do neither of those things. They are not exhausting and they do a good job of keeping you interested.
The music flows so well that even during the slower parts of each song, you wait in anticipation for the next thing to happen whether it be a furious blackened riff or a dissonant scream of the vocalist. Whichever it may be, Our Hearts Slow Down is captivating and mysterious. Not every single moment is pure black metal which is where the experimental side comes in. Instead of always being a cold bitterness, Mord’A’Stigmata lighten up the songs and give more ambiance and atmosphere to them by slowing songs down and giving the listener more to soak in.
And soaking in really is the correct approach to something as vast as this. Casually listening probably isn’t your best bet if you are truly wanting to get to know this release. Immersing yourself in the music is the best option, and if you do you understand the full gravity of the album. Our Hearts Slow Down isn’t an album that is meant to be listened to once, and taken at face value, instead it is of the variety that needs to be listened to more and looked at from all sides.
As mentioned above, these Polish black metallers are captivating and mysterious as well as harsh and abrasive when needed. You never want to be fooled by their mystique for too long, because as the more inviting atmospheric melodies fade out, the harsher soul darkening music takes over. The opener The Mantra of Anguish begins with a steady drum beat which soon becomes accompanied by dissonant guitars and harsh vocals. The guitars always stay there and are more on the lighter more melodic side of the spectrum. Where as the second song Those Above opens with a sonic assault of black metal in its rawest form. Each song including the last song which is the title track does a great job of balancing out the raw black metal with a softer approach to the music, making it more approachable on one side and just as jagged and raw on the other.
Through each song as I keep mentioning you get a mixture of a lot of different elements that play a part into making this album into what it is. The riffs are cold and poisonous at times, only to break down into a slower paced riff that lures you in further to the music, only to be blasted once more by sharp and hyper riffs. Drums pound away as harsh as ever but are no more tumultuous than needed. Behind the guitars and drums is a bass that hums and rumbles making itself very noticeable and present. With the musicianship being as on point as it is, it is easy for Mord’A’Stigmata to transition from the harsher side of the music to the lighter.
Other than the spot on musicianship that is portrayed throughout these three songs, there is the emotion that goes with it. Now don’t be afraid of emotion, especially when an album such as this can make you feel different things all at one time. At certain points you get a hint of a more melancholy style of play, and at others you experience an aggression that wasn’t there before. Other points within the album may make you feel isolated and cold, and others are more inviting.
The bottom line here is, Our Hearts Slow Down is a great release and it is one of intrigue, one of mystique, and one of power. Our Hearts Slow Down is relentless in its efforts to captivate your mind and make you listen to every word, and every note that is on this album and it is well worth the time.
This album will be released through Pagan Records on the 25th of this month.