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Formed at the beginning of this millennium, DÖDFÖDD began humbly enough as a more straightforward yet still atmospherically inclined black metal band in the Swedish tradition, suiting for the early Noughties. A handful of demos followed during this period, but following the release of the third demo, Besvärjelse för omvänd rekreation, in 2003, DÖDFÖDD seemingly receded into the shadows... However, such was not the case, as founding vocalist/drummer Atum had joined the re-formed Ofermod and, with that new lineup, work had begun on what was to be that band's long-awaited debut album. Alas, that record with that lineup never came to be, and Atum began a reformation of his own: a conversion to Roman Catholicism, a supremely radical move given black metal's core precepts.

Duly girded and emboldened by that controversial conversion, Atum (née Karl Hieronymus Emil Lundin) began a new project that ran parallel to DÖDFÖDD, the ever-singular REVERORUM IB MALACHT, which would soon reverentially - not to mention prolifically - explore the illumination within Catholicism's darkest side. Meanwhile, DÖDFÖDD continued to lurk within the shadows, now down largely/solely to Lundin, but work under that banner was just as feverish, with half-complete to fully complete recordings stockpiled like so much hidden treasure.

Never ones for the easy route, DÖDFÖDD continued their inscrutable trajectory with a number of digital-only releases: Demo 15 in 2015, Unreleased Demo 2001 in 2018 which is still officially unreleased, and the Unreleased Songs (2000-2003) split with precursor project Själadöd. With the archives cleared, at least for now, at last arrives the staggering and long-promised Stigma, whose only hints came via Bandcamp in the form of two two-minute samples. Naturally, those short snippets gave nary a glimpse into the true madness that awaits within Stigma...

An utterly monolithic, positively stultifying single 45-minute composition, DÖDFÖDD's Stigma raises the bar considerably, even for Lundin's eternally challenging work, most especially in the increasingly beyond REVERORUM IB MALACHT. On its surface, Stigma is a seemingly inert piece of motorik trance, improvisational if only for the flickering-on-the-periphery fluctuations in texture. Delve deeper - or, more accurately, submit thyself to its sine-waves, each one more infinite than the last - and discover a total tonal subversion of both "black metal" and BLACK METAL beyond compare. Cosmic yet urban, atonal yet sonorous, massive yet minimalist, hauntingly beautiful, splendorously ugly, shimmeringly grimy, MELTDOWN within and without: Stigma is truly a study in off-kilter juxtapositions, each one as enigmatic as the next. It's a trip wholly guided by DÖDFÖDD, but graciously granting the keys of understanding entirely to the listener.