|[note by author:|
This review contains some wrong information. Originally the release year was listed as 2004, but it was released in 2001. This is now corrected. The material reviewed is therefore not "recent" but rather early. Furthermore, several people have asked labels about purchasing this release. Note that if you have read this review closely, it says that this is NOT an official release. Obviously it is not for sale by the band, or any label or mailorder. Do NOT bother them with questions about this release.]
At last the obscure Finnish doom torturers Stabat Mater have "released" something with more than one track. Well, released isn't actually the right word, as this promo was only spread out to a handful of people, only to be spread on the internet later by digital doom enthusiasts. In any case, what's done is done, so why not take the oppurtunity and take a look at the band's recent material?
Connaisseurs will immediately recognise the song 'Give Them Pain' as the Stabat Mater part of the brilliant 'Worship / Stabat Mater Split' that came out in 2002. This version is slightly different from that version, however, so it's no simple re-release of a limited track.
Now that we have multiple songs together on one release, we can judge if the band can keep it's own outside of the split-release environment. And it most certainly can. The style of all of the songs are similar to the one heard on the previous tracks, the songs consisting of heavy riffs, deep grunts, freaky guitar work here and there, and some samples and effects thrown in for good measure. The intro and outro are very obscure, with (reverse) speaking, feedback and other effects. 'Above Him' starts out with distant chanting, before launching into one of those dirty riffs we are used to from the band. Most of the 17-minute song is based around this riff, with some variation in samples and a great lead-guitar development of the riff towards the end. 'Chambers Of Torture' is about the same in style.
'Give Them Pain', as I said, is a bit different from the older version, in the respect that it's a little shorter (lacking the ambient static) and that the guitar work and vocals are more in style with the rest of this release, and therefore a bit heavier than the ones on the older version. The sick samples of the screaming lady and the flogging are still there, of course, much to my sadistic glee (and that of other sick minds). I think I like this version about the same as the old one, and my guess is that it would be the best if the old, longer version, was combined with the new musicianship to make it into an optimal result. However you look at it, this remains one of the most disturbing doom songs ever made.
All in all, after a few releases, Stabat Mater have really managed to convince me that they're a force to be reckoned with. They make relatively simple, extreme doom attractive with their atmosphere and good use of samples and variation. The band, in my opinion, is now right up there with the likes of Thergothon and Worship as far as sick, slow and low doom is concerned. I'm looking forward to a real album!
2. Above Him
3. Chambers Of Torture
4. Give Them Pain
Duration : Approx. 41 minutes
Visit the Stabat Mater bandpage.