Silent Chaos Serpentine
Genre busting metal with a thrash backbone
It's always fantastic when you're able to tap into a new sound that's both exciting and original - especially when it comes from a country that has a very small (almost non-existent in fact) heavy music scene. And that is exactly what Sri Lankan new comers Stigmata have dished out on their second full length: Silent Chaos Serpentine.
After hearing the start of the speed inflicted opener Swine Maker, you'd be forgiven for thinking Stigmata was a fairly straight ahead, old school-esque thrash band. Before long however, the band deftly weaves a bit of mid-nineties melo death into the mix to keep things interesting. The genre fornication doesn't stop there however; with other tracks spitting out segments of grind (Jazz Theory), prog (Lucid) and traditional heavy metal (Solitude). Overall, Stigmata's unique style is certainly an enjoyable one, the band making their formidable compositional skills well and truly heard.
And while we're on the subject, the band also has a wealth of musical talent at its fingertips - the impressive vocal range of front man Suresh and the driving rhythms and haunting melodies of axemen Tenny and Andrew being fantastic examples of the case in point.
While the band does manage to show listeners their musical and compositional prowess, the flat and slightly subdued production on the album is a real detraction. In my opinion, it fails to adequately get across the sound that Stigmata certainly seem capable of pushing out. While I'm sure both funds and access could be a problem for these budding metal stars, it would be fantastic to hear some of the tracks (especially powerful standouts like the ripping My Malice and neck wrenching Forgiven Forgotten) with a bit more bite behind them.
On the odd occasion some tracks (such as Lucid or Wingless - which incidentally both contain some of the more 'ballad like' moments on the album) can come off sounding a little rough around the edges. Whether this is directly related to the aforementioned production or something else (such as song writing for example) entirely is difficult to say. Whatever the underlying cause may be, hopefully it is something the band will manage to smooth over on future releases.
Roughness and poor production aside however, there is really little else to complain about on Silent Chaos Serpentine. The compositional talents and musical ability showcased on the album prove that Stigmata are certainly a band to watch - and dare I say that with the right opportunities and a bit of support one that may travel very far indeed.
More from Stigmata
- Concerto for the Undead [review]