Do Unto Others
Do Unto Others
So there are legends and then there are legends.
And then beyond that, there’s STIGMATA.
For nearly 15 gut-punching years, this hardcore/metal ensemble has defined aural aggression and musical mayhem at the underlying backbone upon with the Upstate New York hard music scene has been built. This is meant literally, not figuratively : STIGMATA alumni have gone on to make big musical waves with the likes of Crisis, the Clay People, Ill Remembered, and Burning Human among many, many other bands and artists.
Since founding his first band Displaced Aggression in the mid 80’s, Bob Riley has been the guiding light of the Stigmata franchise. Within two years of its inception, D.A. was forced to change its name to Cranial Abuse as a necessary tactic in order to get back into clubs after the band’s allegedly "too violent" following had gotten them banned.
C.A. was to be short -lived as well, for all the same reasons that D.A. had to be dissolved. But as the 80’s became the 90’s the Riley/Mike Maney outfit became STIGMATA - named after the marks of Christ’s suffering that mysteriously appear on some believers’ hands, heads, and bodies in the depths of their religious fervor. It was a disturbing name. It was an ominous, confrontational name. Ultimately, it was a lasting, legendary name, given the ever-growing legions of supporters, fans, and collaborators that joined the band in their travels through the nineties.
The 90’s were when the band became the mighty machine that it is today. Early in the decade saw the release of two hard-to-find CD’s, "The Calling of the Just" and "The Heart Grows Harder" both on fledgling ,now-defunct labels. Without the agony of defeat settling in, the band gained a new lineup (most of whom still remain) and released an epic album for Too Damn Hype Records called 'Hymns for an Unknown God’. This album represented what the right lineup could accomplish. At this time the band consisted of Riley, lead guitarist Mike Maney, bassist Dan Walsh (both of which had been around since the C.A. days), guitarist Jason Sunkes joined in late ’92, and drummer Jason Bittner arrived in early 1994. This is the same lineup that exists today with the exception of Walsh, who was replaced by Buddie Armstrong in 1996.
Alas, the inevitable lineup shift would come again when Maney decided to leave the band to pursue tattooing full-time in early 1996, but the band pushed onward as a 4-piece releasing the 3-song "Redemption Songs" demo which eventually landed on Too Damn Hype’s East Coast Assault. After this recording, Bittner left for a year in mid 1997 to record and tour with then Metal-Blade recording artists, Crisis. He later returned to the band in 1998 right in time to record the bands live album "Pain Has No Boundries" which also included studio tracks with drummer Pete Vumbacco who had replaced Bittner during his tenure with Crisis.
As we enter the new Millenium, founding guitarist Mike Maney had decided to return to the band in the summer of 1999. This new spark has ignited the band to complete what is to become their strongest effort to this day. The year 2000 will mark the release of their brand new album "Do Unto Others" by I Scream Records followed by a tour of Europe in August and September 2000.
So while clubs may close and records may sell out of their initial stock, we all rest secure in the knowledge that one thing will remain when we, the roaches, and the rats are gone: STIGMATA.