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Neurotech - Stigma (2015) - Review

Band: Neurotech
Album title: Stigma
Release date: 7 June 2015
Label: Self-Released

Tracklist:
01. Stigma
02. Fear The Fear
03. Of Adversity
04. Built To Last
05. A Graceful Light
06. Brighten
07. Through Hardships
08. To Theta State

Productiveness is strong with this one. Not even a year has passed by since Neurotech presented the marvellous Infra Verus Ultra and already we are witnessing a birth of another release. Stigma came rather as a surprise to me, mainly because of a very short time gap between the two albums and I am going to be perfectly honest with you: I did have my doubts about it. Can one really have the necessary amount of talent, inspiration, time and dedication to release two breath-taking subsequent albums? Complicated question, simple answer: yes. I did not even finish my first spin on Stigma, when I already fell under its charm. And when I came to the last note of it, I was just as bedazzled and enchanted by it, as I was with its predecessor. With Infra Versus Ultra being quite an enormous, but very natural step in the evolution of Neurotech, Stigma is nothing less than a brilliant continuation of it.

I could throw this album on the table, put the gloves on, take a scalpel and dissect in to all the little bits and pieces, which form together its whole structure, but I won't. Because what I believe is, the heart of soul of this album lies in its continuous, awe-inspiring and celestial atmosphere. From the first to the last second, this album exists as one; it breathes as one.  Playing softly with intertwining so many various styles, building on a solid foundation of cyber metal and enhancing with so many different layers, most notable feature of Stigma is its strong cinematic approach. The blasting drums are still present, covered with a dense layer of electronic effects and Wulf's vocoded vocals. But what really makes it so significant and pushes it further, is the grandeur approach and stupendous orchestrations, which flow more in the vein of film score music of Hans Zimmer, than symphonic metal, and are vibrating throughout the entire album. However, what spices up the deal are the numerous, eloquent insertions of so many different stylistic elements into the game. The alpha of it, the eponymous, opening track is a stunning piece of sonic experience, possessing a really profound and strong ambient and pulsating rhythm, which reminds me somehow of the mixture of compositions brought to us by Vangelis, Two Steps From Hell and even Jean Michel Jarre. While "Build To Last" tends to sound futuristic, as it brings on some futurepop and drumspet extravaganza to it, "Brighten" on the other side travels back in time, with a nice, retro-sounding synthpop vibe giving it a special edge. "A Graceful Light" is a little masterpiece I must certainly expose; a very unique track, holding this immense sombre and ethereal atmosphere and swirling, cosmic emotional charge.  This is one of those songs, which will consume you from head to toe and when you'll let go yourself to it, it will make you feel your mind has dissociated from your body, giving you a strange, yet pleasant sensation your very being now exists on a whole different, astral level. Another incredible piece of musical art then comes as the omega of Stigma: the grand closure in the form of "To Theta State", a more than 11 minutes lasting instrumental epopee, which is in a way a magnum opus of Neurotech, combining all the aforementioned elements and holding them into such perfect equilibrium. The ambient charge of the song is again leviathan in any way possible and on the journey through it, your darkest and most melancholic feelings will travel hand to hand with the sensations of nostalgia, pleasure and hope.

Stigma is yet another album, Wulf can only feel pride and joy of. What from a certain point of view may seem like it's only Infra Versus Ultra part 2, when realizing its potent nature, this album does open up new dimensions in the realms of Neuortech. On one side it is so staggeringly poetic, romantic and thought-provoking, on the other well as nerve striking, energetic and even demonic. If you are one of those Neurotech fans, who still craves and wishes for an Antagonist sequel, leave your hopes behind. But if you are here to follow the further evolution of its music, Stigma is simply an album you must embrace.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9/10

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Born For Bliss is finally back with an album that's by all means a proper masterpiece, Falling Back To Never, which takes with such an ease the listener into a magical world that can be rarely witnessed. Falling Back To Never is like a story told in twelve chapters and as the opener "Innocent" is repetitively saying, "tell me your story, tell me you're innocent...", you know in an instant what will be about lyricaly wise. If the opening song can be counted like a rather hypnotic and psychedelic, yet very multidimensional introduction into Falling Back To Never, the real drama and whole new world opens up with "This Narrow Place". The sound on the album is somehow complex, constantly divided between the emotional, gentle, atmospheric new wave sound, and the one a bit more hypnotic, but still there's not a single second on it where it loses its extraordinary pathos. The vocal job is simply breathtaking, it's difficult to explain what kind of a power, passion and emotion is poured into it, let it be when Frank sings alone or in a duet with Lori, one of the finest examples of such a duet must be the driving "Better Than Me". The overall very atmospheric sound is often enriched with use of various electronics, synths, piano touches and much more other well thought insertions. The one who takes this sonic journey must be satisfied in the end, because albums like it's Falling Back To Never are rarely released these days. A masterpiece!

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