"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Stagnant Waters - "Stagnant Waters" (CD)

Stagnant Waters - "Stagnant Waters" CD cover image

"Stagnant Waters" track listing:

1. Algae (4:39)
3. Of Salt and Water (6:52)
4. Castles (5:34)
5. Concrete (2:46)
6. Bandaged in Suicide Notes (3:23)
7. Axolotl (10:09)
8. From the Breaking Neck to Infinity (6:55)

Reviewed by on September 26, 2012

"Don’t start thinking this is black metal disco though, because anyone who could dance to these songs is having the sort of bad trip that will require a hospital stay – or, more likely, a casket."

Stagnant Waters has got to be about the most inappropriately-titled band/album that metal has seen in recent memory, as the disc is just pure channeled chaos that doesn’t know how to sit still long enough to ever become stagnant. This self-titled release isn’t interested in letting anyone peg it down with a consistently applicable title, and it clearly doesn’t even care if anyone likes it or not, because the level of abrasive insanity occurring here is frequently mind-boggling. There’s something admirable about a band that seems to actively hate its audience’s ears, and anyone who doesn’t mind auditory schizophrenia might just find a secret gem in “Stagnant Waters.”

If the disc has to be called something, it should probably be called black metal, because there’s plenty of that, but it’s also an electronic album. Much of the music has a stuttering nature typical of electronic and industrial releases, especially in the drum beats and pauses between guitar notes, and every song usually has some bizarre or off-beat sound effect in it somewhere. Don’t start thinking this is black metal disco though, because anyone who could dance to these songs is having the sort of bad trip that will require a hospital stay – or, more likely, a casket.

“Stagnant Waters” gets more than a little avant-garde in its melding of different musical ideas, like piano notes accompanying insane black metal song structures and constant changes in pace. You’ll get random carnival-style video game noises coupled with harsh static in “From the Breaking Neck to Infinity” and bursts of purposefully off-key saxophone on the un-typable second track (along with plenty of smooth sax in other songs that brings to mind some of the latest Ihsahn albums). Put Blacklodge, Dodecahedron, Sigh, and Nachtblut in a blender, and you’ve got something close to Stagnant Waters.

Of course, the discordant sounds and crazy collision of harsh noises won’t be for everyone. It’s safe to say that if you can’t stand Abruptum, you’d probably actively hate this, and even the people who love the idea may find some of the longer songs drag on the ear-shredding madness a bit too long. But for those with a predilection for the bizarre, the album is a dark acid trip worth taking just to see how far the metal rabbit hole really goes.

Highs: Industrial, black metal, electronica, and saxophone all collide on one monumental effort.

Lows: Listening all the way through is an exercise in endurance - this music actively wants to hurt you.

Bottom line: Chaos, thy name is Stagnant Waters. This one isn't for the faint of heart or the soft of ear.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)