Authoritative Power Metal-act STYGMA IV (has changed their name four times, STIGMATA / STIGMATA IV) (not to forget their original name BIG HEAT and it's been three changes so far, but who knows... - Alex), have returned with this eagerly anticipated follow-up to the amazing "The Court Of Eternity"-CD. If you have not heard the band before, I could tell you that they are kind of like NEVERMORE meets SAVATAGE. In my opinion they are one of the finest bands in the Metal-scene right now, writing catchy songs with a great vocalist. "Phobia" is their first CD in four years ("The Court Of Eternity" had been released in 1998! - Alex), so I was expecting a lot from the band and they did not me disappoint at all.
"Phobia" continues the bands trademark, very dark music adding this time a little bit of symphonic melodies. The CD opens up with this really messed up spoken part and its off from there. It's a morose, heavier sound, even if there are frequent slower moments. The Metal roars like a lion, influenced in the 80's traditions, but with a newer edge. And this album is such a work of sheer perfection bolstered by great production values, full-range guitar-attack, punishing bottom end and Richard Krenmaier's fantastic microphone master skills. I've always loved their lyrics, writing about all the depressing stuff in life with a keen sense of humour and sarcasm.
I can't praise this bad-ass-group enough, cranking track after track of exactly what I love to hear from a traditional Metal-band. The tracks "Inhumanity" and "Ricochet" really stand out, featuring state of the art, building the perfect riff-smoked monsters. "Gethsemane" is from the play JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, but you would never know from its two fisted power and suicidal lyrics.
The CD is progressive, evil, and completely void of blastbeats, which is fine by me. The beast is back so keep your eyes open for them.