Ya know that Big City Records compilation "Montreal New York Connection 85 Live" with all the wild looking cartoon punks on it? STIGMATISM is the sonic equivalent of that big fella on the cover with the mohawk rocking boots and braces whilst letting off and undoubtedly blood curdling howl doing key bumps of meth with that flag toting skinhead from the back of the "United Blood" EP in a real seedy alleyway at like, 3:41 AM on a Tuesday. STIGMATISM is an infatuation with and/or an astute observation of the more, dare I say, "early man" aspects of that first wave of NYHC. Featuring an ex OMEGA and a native New Yorker united in their love of this particular style of hardcore punk, this demo recording has been slapped onto some slabs of plastic that can be played loud on a phonograph or utilized as a level plane for those aforementioned servings of meth. Each record comes in a glue pocket sleeve adorned with a design by the illustrious Spoiler. Limited to 500 copies.
Our take: 9 songs of total United Blood worship from this New York (or is it New York / Montreal?) project. By the crushing breakdown that comes less than 20 seconds into the first track you’ll have a clear idea of what Stigmatism does and how good they are at doing it. Bands who say they’re influenced by Agnostic Front are a dime a dozen, but few make use of the stylistic tropes of the United Blood era that Stigmatism adopt: things like playing any given part about half as long as you expect them to; unexpected and non-intuitive shifts in tempo; and jagged, non-linear songwriting (see, for instance, “Your Demise,” whose parts seem to be stitched together almost at random). There are few points where they crib directly from their most important source material (“Business End” sounds quite a lot like “Last Warning”), instead reverse engineering AF’s classic tunes and building new ones using the same tools and skills. If you liked the Ammo demo we hyped a few weeks back, you’ll want to pick this up (though it’s more polished and a little less unhinged), but the bottom line is that if you’re intrigued by a band in 2018 playing a note-perfect United Blood homage, there’s no way this is going to disappoint you.