Stigma - Concerto for the Undead
Pivotal Rockordings
Melodic Death Metal/Deathcore
10 songs (41'57")
Release year: 2010
Stigma, Pivotal Rockordings
Reviewed by Alex

The enthusiastic call to come check out the new Stigma was falling on deaf ears for me as I was hardly impressed with their Pivotal Rockordings debut When Midnight Strikes. Given that their love for exclamation marks in many song titles wasn’t changing, as well as the self-professed deathcore style, I was prepared to move through Concerto for the Undead quickly with the hard-earned 60/100 reserved in advance. The young Italians forced to change my preconceived notions, by stepping up their game delivering a forceful catchy album in the process.

Whatever your occupation it is important you have fun at work. Once you start showing up at your place of employment feeling a constant drag, forget your productivity rising and the chances of you cranking out some positive outcome are approximating zero. Stigma have fun at what they do, and it seemingly goes a long way for them. Perhaps it is the nature of the style they play, a charged mix of melodic death metal and more brutal urban metalcore, but Concerto for the Undead is one aggressive, youthful, hip, modern and good-sounding barrel of fun. Part straight from the Swede recipe book of The Haunted and The Crown, then hopping off to the North American shores for some The Black Dahlia Murder, Darkest Hour and Shadows Fall, the Italians combine melodic, seemingly endless, guitar weave with some oh-so-en vogue downtuned breakdowns. Luckily for them (that is if they cared about this review much), as well as for our ears, the quality of Andrea Bailo’s guitar work is multiple-fold improved, the melodies are there with their unabashed hooks, while breakdowns are monstrous and, most importantly, integral to the songs.

Many of the Concerto cuts race along, propelled by rapid fluttery beats and thrash lively with familiar neck-snapping tight rhythms (Chop His Head Off, … And They Died Happily Ever After, Doctor Skeleton). The upgrade in guitar work is most noticeable here, putting Stigma way above straight edge hardcore stop’n’go slamojama. The breakdowns are still kneecap destroying ‘core, and you almost feel them coming, as if announced by the band in the predictable songwriting turns. After quick mock of a blackened tremolo (Prove You Are a Man) or trembling blasts (3000 Years and Still Keeping It Real), the breakdowns sound even more unconscionable and will satisfy the most demanding of pits. At the same time, the slower songs of the Concerto are choppy, devoid of new-found fluidity but full of expected gang shouts (Beat Me Maestro, Eight to the Dead and A Monstrous Feeling).

Fear Studio and producer Jona Weinhofen did tremendous job capturing the flow and heaviness of the album. There is enough clarity here to be following the elaborate leads, yet the bass is cranked out so my knee vibrated leaning against the cardoor when the Concerto was playing.

The concept of the album can be gleamed from its booklet, where every song is represented by a Zombie comics picture, Stigma following up on the amusing tongue-in-cheek B-horror movie attitude. However, and I rarely do so, I found some songs a bit too verbose. Perhaps Stefano Ghersi has a lot to tell us, but it did seem that Prove You Are a Man and some others are overloaded with lyrics.

If When Midnight Strikes went straight to once-and-done bin, I did find myself needing to hear more from Concerto for the Undead, wanting to replay most favorite moments for proper note-taking before embarking on this write-up. The progress is obvious, so maybe that promo sheet enthusiasm is now justified.

Killing Songs :
Chop His Head Off, ... And They Died Happily Ever After, What About a Terror Ride?
Alex quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Stigma that we have reviewed:
Stigma - The Undertaker reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Stigma - When Midnight Strikes! reviewed by Khelek and quoted 75 / 100
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