When Midnight Strikes!

Italy, while certainly a player in the metal genre, isn’t really known for its deathcore/metalcore/melodic death metal (Nail Within and Slowmotion Apocalypse immediately come to mind), so I really wasn’t really looking forward to reviewing the debut from Mondovi’s Stigma. Even more so when I discovered the album is also centered around horror movies and horror themes (zombies, werewolves, vampires, etc.). Then I remembered that Pivotal Rockordings is the label that is or was home to some of the better melodic death metal bands around like Blinded Colony, Sonic Syndicate, Zonaria and Skyfire.

Though playing a familiar and often cloned form of The Black Dahlia Murder-styled metal, Stigma is, in fact, pretty solid. They have the energy and tenacity to mix it up with their stateside peers, but Stigma also has a more unique element in their Hammer Horror themes.

Granted, there’s nothing particularly original going on here, but armed with a slicing guitar tone, sturdy rhythm section, expected melodic death metal rasps courtesy of Stefano “Vlad” Ghersi, and the odd horror movie sample, the entire package comes across as competent, confident and professional. Tracks like “I Am Dracula,” “Flesh Ritual,” “Beneath the Crown of Eternal Light,” “A Call for Vengeance,” and “Walking the Fields of Apocalypse,” while all having a tangible At the Gates undercurrent, seem to be bereft of overused breakdowns. In their place is a more Mediterranean flair.
Though there’s no real standout on When Midnight Strikes!, all 11 tracks, including the bonus track “Epitaph of Pain,” deliver an enjoyable foray into the genre. I look forward to hearing how Stigma develop sound and theme in the future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 8th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Staylow

    I’ve been meaning to tell you thanks for the rec on these guys – pretty good stuff. The vocals can be slightly grating after awhile, but other than that this is a solid album.

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