Until recently I had never heard of the tiny Azores island of São Miguel, geography not being my strong point, then suddenly I discover it is home to quite a broad spectrum of Metal bands including Stampkase, who describe their debut release, 'Mechanorganism', as a blend of modern Metal, which is certainly more mainstream than the usual albums that I review.
The band features two members of the Azorean blackened death Metal band, Sanctus Nosferatu, Nuno Costa on drums and Nuno Carreiro on bass, but the similarity stops there. I liked most things about the album, particularly the chugging riffs and the down tuned, djent edge to the groove.
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The band has two vocalists, both of whom I believe handle the screaming side of the vocal duties which I thought were powerful and well balanced. Also incorporated into the vocal sound are some clean vocals. These for me are the one minor downfall of the album, being the weakest element.
They mostly lacked the strength and power that the harsher vocals possessed. I also thought it gave a slight Emo feel to the sound, something else I am personally not keen on but they did seem to get better as the album progressed.
I much preferred the second half of the album, even though the catchy djent like groove, laced with chugging and fast, furious machine gun riffs running through all the tracks had a constant appeal for me. Stampkase really seem to up their game by their fifth track, 'Faded', with its haunting whispered intro and also the clean vocals were a lot stronger than on the previous tracks.
Best track of the album for me was 'Random Shot', a fast tempo track which comes straight in with the angry screaming vocals and a slight discordant element that really appealed to me. This was also the only track not to feature clean vocals and I felt it had a much more mature feel to it.
I also really liked 'Scintilla', which did feature clean vocals but they were far more powerful and concise in their delivery than on other tracks so really worked well.
Final and title track, 'Mechanorganism', is a bit of a wild card of a track and by far the longest, opening with a very sinister extended intro and almost an instrumental in so much as the few vocals it contains are either spoken or part of the many soundbites that enhance this excellent album ender, which builds in tempo and intensity as the track progresses, a cleverly constructed final piece and another of my favourites.
Ultimately the good outweighed the bad and if you like a modern Metal sound with an emotive element to the vocals you will love this. As first albums go this is a good effort.
'Mechanorganism' was mixed and mastered by Daniel Cardoso (Angelus Apatrida) and is out now. To buy, contact the band via
http://www.facebook.com/stampkase, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com