Review of the Album "Stigmata" by Swedish Melodic Death Metal Band Arch Enemy
Stigmata Front Album Cover
Stigmata: Musical Style of the Album and the People That Play On It
"Stigmata" is the second full length album by Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy released in 1998 but besides that, the album represents that the band would evolve into an awesome band later on especially with the solid album Burning Bridges. The album has impressive melodies, an In Flames influenced approach, and old school death metal. Although Stigmata received mixed reviews from critics, when compared with 1996’s Black Earth, I think the album may be better partially because of the first song called Beast of Man. Stigmata the song starts out heavy then switches to a neoclassical style similar to The Jester Race era In Flames. Arch Enemy was formed in 1995, just before that album came out so it would make sense for Michael Amott to have been influenced by those guys. Stigmata sees the contribution of two different drummers with Daniel Erlandsson playing the drums on the first song and Peter Wildoer filling in as a session drummer.
The Song Called Beast of Man (Angela Gossow Version)
The Significance of the First Song Beast of Man
Angela Gossow would do the vocals for the song Beast of Man in 2009 for the band’s album called The Root of All Evil in 2009. That album has more modern versions of song from their first three albums except for the intro track. I sit back and analyze this album it is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the release of Stigmata. It is even more impressive compared to the first time you listen through it.
Stigmata the Review Part 3
The catchy riff filled song called Sinister Mephisto is a song about someone that is really obsessed with fantasies that involve going after forbidden pleasures. He has no sexual wish that is too dark enough to be suppressed. All of us have the potential to go towards good or evil and this song addresses part of the human condition. Dark of the Sun kind of expands on the difficulty and challenges that human beings face in today’s world. An unborn child in his or her mother’s womb faces a future that is chaotic, challenging, and sometimes frightening depending upon where they are born and brought up in. The song also says or tries to point out that no one knows what the future holds for each of us.
The song called Black Earth brings attention to what humans did that has caused them to become mortals and face eventual death. Due to man’s sin against GOD, the violation of these principles, man got what he deserved and because of this, the human body must turn to dust after death. This is a subject that few people like to think about but it is something that we all have to face at some point. The next song is called Tears of the Dead. This song is about humans that are caught up in what seems to be a war or a game of attrition as they look back on their life when they reach old age. He is looking back on a life that he led which was lived in sin. For this person living wasn’t easy. The modern stresses and demands of the 21st century were realized by Arch Enemy even before the end of the last century and they just write very thought provoking lyrics that really make listeners think about the context of the song.
The Band Arch Enemy is Evidence of the Strong Melodic Death Metal Scene in Sweden
Vox Stellarum is the second instrumental song in this album and it has piano playing in it. So far, this writer has heard and or reviewed at least 6 Arch Enemy albums and none of them are bad or even okay. They are all at least good with Stigmata being a major improvement over 1996’s Black Earth. Sweden is one of the nations that has dominated the death metal scene since at least 1996 and we can even go back as far as 1993. Sweden is an incredible nation when comes to pretty much all genres of heavy metal especially the melodic death metal genre. Arch Enemy further solidified Sweden’s status as one of the elite nations in this genre after the formation of Dark Tranquillity (1989) and In Flames (1990).
Final Thoughts About the Album Stigmata
Bridge of Destiny is the song that ends another solid album. The song is about someone that is standing at the edge of a bridge and he is wanting help because he is on the verge of losing his sanity. He is being tortured by what are being described as inner demons. This is a song I can relate to on some level because of my own struggles. But have no fear, Arch Enemy is a band that some of us can listen to and realize that there is power to their music. Bring it on! We are talking of positive energizing power in a way. The lyrics since they are thought provoking may cause some listeners to have an a-ha kind of moment. The song also has some Marty Friedman style influenced interludes and melodies. For those of you that have not heard of the album, Dragon’s Kiss, that album may have influenced Arch Enemy from a harmony standpoint. The strongest songs in "Stigmata" are pretty much every one of them except the second instrumental song.
The Song Called Bridge of Destiny
© 2018 Ara Vahanian