Hope is Mord'A'Stigmata's fourth full-length record, and second for Polish extreme metal label, Pagan Records. The band first garnered the attention of a wide-scale audience with Ansia, their critically acclaimed 2013 release that quickly landed them on tour with metal legends and fellow Polish countrymen, Behemoth, in 2014. Since then, Mord'A'Stigmata have been closely followed by many enthusiasts of the black metal underground.
Although most often affiliated with and classified as black metal, Mord'A'Stigmata venture beyond the confines of the genre, citing an eclectic array of inspiration ranging from Swans to Pink Floyd. "It is hard for me to call the music on Hope black metal," explains frontman, Static. "We came up with a mixture of styles to be named by people wiser than us." So while the album does feature a handful of black metal runs, it's more comparable to post-metal acts like Intronaut or Isis.
The album starts with the title track, a 12-minute slog that aims at hypnotism but falls ends up boring. "Hope" begins with a bleak passage that's quickly overdubbed by a "hopeful" three-chord lead, but once familiar, the track deviates from this motif with six minutes of forgettable introspection, only to reprise the initial motif again — this time, accompanied by a "triumphant" synth that feels like a fly buzzing around your head.
Unfortunately, things don't get much better from there. The remainder of the album feels much like a continuation of the introductory track. There's little variation to help distinguish the four tracks from one another, leaving much to be desired — especially if you were brought here by the compelling Ansia.
Mord'A'Stigmata deliver us outside of black metal's walls with this latest LP; unfortunately, it's somewhere we've been too many times before. (Pagan)