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Mord'A'Stigmata - Like Ants And Snakes review

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Band: Mord'A'Stigmata
Album: Like Ants And Snakes
Release date: November 2022

01. Blood Of The Angels
02. We Dance
03. Like Ants And Snakes
04. I Am The Arm
05. Constant Sway
06. Voluntarily Gone

A final shedding of black metal skin.

Mord'A'Stigmata were never a conventional black metal band. Even as far back as their debut, 2008's Überrealistic, their black metal was permeated by avant-garde and progressive elements. And yet, in my mind, I always lumped them together with their black metal countrymen like Mgła or Kriegsmaschine or Furia, bands who are also not exactly standard, but you'd still call them black metal bands first and foremost. Up until the last time I encountered the band, that might've been true as well, but Dreams Of Quiet Places amped the atmospheric post and electronic elements to a pretty large degree already, so it is the logical step to go even beyond.

Black metal elements are nearly completely absent from Like Ants and Snakes, leaving a dark jazzy avant-garde post-metal album in its stead that makes Mord'A'Stigmata sound closer to their countrymen in Blindead than any of the bands I mentioned prior. Most of what remains of the black metal is just the very dark atmosphere and the angular guitar melodies you'd expect to hear in a progressive black metal's most mellow moments. Like Ants and Snakes is very dark and atmospheric, as I've already made very clear, but it's mellowness does bring some movement. Though somewhat of an Badalamentian jazzy sound is injected, especially in the appropriately Lynchian titled "I Am The Arm", the music does flow through sections of more momentum at times, often accentuated by the fantastic drumming performance, and the vocals who switch between raspy croons and that nasal tone that every avant-black metal band tried at least once.

The lack of black metal does result in some of the tension feeling unreleased, and as much as the more explosive moments feel rewarding, it's still very relative to call them "explosive". For all its somberness, it feels like building a lot of tension, appropriately musically blue-balling in November. Something that would be very frustrating were the musicians not making music as ensnaring as they do, more harrowing than aggressive, and the gothic touch borderline seductive. Though electronics still make an appearance, it feels like Like Ants and Snakes relies more on post-goth rock guitar melodies than Dreams Of Quiet Places did. And yes, to answer the eternal jazz metal question: it does have a saxophone. But I won't tell you where.

Takes some restraint to shed black metal, and though I can see this feeling more boring to some people (totally valid by the way), there's something very enticing about Mord'A'Stigmata's restraint here.

Written on 13.11.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 73 users
13.11.2022 - 15:21
Rating: 8

Yeah I appreciate their development here - it's been a name that I've noticed on my radar a few times before without ever really caring about, but I think this is their first album that's really had me paying attention
13.11.2022 - 17:50
Rating: 10

This is one of the first ones I heard of this week's (or was this last week? blurred recollections ) releases - I remembered their proclivity towards avant-garde but didn't think they were black metal before this? I guess the opaque experimentalism tendencies hid the blackness from me...

I enjoyed this but didn't really flag it as a fav. Enjoyable little jaunt nonetheless

Edit: wait, what, I gave it a 10?!? I guess its initial impact came n went ahaha
No one can fend off 100 multi-colored Draculas

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