In the past, I’ve complained that the RIYL (Recommended If You Like…) approach to selling music misunderstands what listeners truly value about the music that excites them. Projecting that Meshuggah fans should also appreciate a slew of djent bands ignores the distinct personality and innovation that drew fans toward Meshuggah in the first place. Sound-alike bands lack the adventurous spirit and restless abandon that define the masters they mimic. Converge, Mogwai, Opeth – these are all bands playing at the peak of their chosen styles, and any artist whose sole selling point is that they sound similar are simply weaker by comparison.
Which is why the promotional materials for Polish powerhouses Mord’a’Stigmata get it right when they namedrop Agalloch, Neurosis and Altar of Plagues. Mord’a’Stigmata do not sound anything like Agalloch, nor do they sound like Neurosis or (much) like Altar of Plagues. But Mord’a’Stigmata share those bands’ idiosyncratic proclivities, the compulsion to seek untrod territories of expression. Their impending fourth release, Hope (Pagan Records, February 17th), finds its center in black metal tonalities, then claws outward to find music that is purely personal, profound and captivating.
We hope the next twelve minutes of your life are mesmerizing, as we offer you the title track from that album. Like it? Then check out the rest of the band’s output at their Bandcamp page while you wait like a slavering fiend for Hope in its entirety.