The Fifth Stigma – “Canonised In Sorrows” [Digital Re-release: June 8, 2021]

Guttural forthcomings of sophisticated yet digestible tracks that strive for something unseen. “Canonised In Sorrows” is The Fifth Stigma’s latest outpouring of industrial offerings. Full of liturgical, spoken word and punchy, staccato rhythm, the release is a no frills take on the fringe of electronica. American-born, now living in France, The Fifth Stigma represents the home team as a Dirty Epic resident. His ability to explore different horizons allows for a non-conforming style when it comes to genre, spanning noise, techno, and punk electronics.

As the music starts playing, a constant drum cadence similar to a marching unit embeds itself deeply and rarely lets up through the six track endeavor. “Forgiven In The Light Of The Cardinal,” the release’s first track, sets the stage for what is to come introducing the eerie and forlorn vibe present throughout, while adding a slight tinge of funk. Described as a play, the King is caught in a moment that brought him to his position as he is shrouded in shame. Static overlay joins straightforward vocal speech in “The Blood Conspiracy Of the Red Seven headed dragon. Reflecting on his death/suicide to avoid his inevitable execution and fall to disgrace couples with a hiss of feedback which can be interpreted as voices speaking to him. In a more industrial take, the rhythm goes in the backseat, allowing for acapella to shine through making visceral strides in storytelling.

A single note pulsates energetically laying the base for “The Alternative Of Life (The Flamel Equation)” as the drum track skillfully grants flavor and substance to the foreground. On the timescale of the journey, this track takes place before the first two as narration to the betrayals the king felt during war. Imagining he was a victim of a conspiracy or treason, weighing him down, the track is shaped as a DJ tool with slow progression and military-like marching beat. The highly pitched noise elements act as an illustration of stress and anxiety inducing emotions as the King becomes aware of the conspiracy pitted against him.

Choral resonance starts off “Supreme Orders Coming From Above (Marching Towards Sacred Land)“ subtly as church bells chime and drone in the background. An energetic whine signifies the Kings pain and sorrow as the treason committed against him comes to light. Family or ally show their true colors of infidelity, showcased by progressive, dark synths throughout the track. Sinister vibrations are prevalent in the track making for a tangible experience of emotion. String pizzicato, from what sounds like a cello, add depth and character further expressing the king’s mental debacle.

“The Desolation of the Battlefield” amplifies muddled bass and sporadic frequencies pointing to an end of an era as our King is replaced by the traitor. Similar to the third track being more of an asset than fleshed out tune with trumpets referring to the constant suffering and end to a reign. Dark times lie ahead as the era of the king is finished. The question of forgiveness remains etched in sonic waves never fully bringing light and closure to the circumstances.

A truly creative narrative delving on the past temptations and consequences of a lost era. Parallels can be made in modern society as no reign lasts forever. Keep friends close and enemies closer comes to mind as the auditory play comes to fruition. The Fifth Stigma has a knack for expressing more than sounds when it comes to producing. His ability to use field recordings keeps the listener on their toes embodying an Organic feel throughout the production. Keep an eye out for the next drama set to take place.

-Jack Plumb

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