EP Review | Backxwash – STIGMATA

This extended play was released on August 4th this year. I kinda view this as an epilogue for Backxwash’s recent album, God Has Nothing to Do with This, Leave Him Out of It. Maybe “epilogue” is an improper term. I’m basically trying to say that I view it as a sister-project. Is that a term? I feel like I’ve seen people say that before. They’re related. That’s all I’m tryna say. I’m expecting it to be around the same level of quality as the full album. I’ve already covered the title track, which I really loved when it was released as a single, so if that’s any indication I think I’m gonna really fuck with this thing.

The project opens up with STIGMATA, which I covered a few weeks ago, as I noted in the preamble.

I posted a review for the latest Backxwash album semi-recently, and really enjoyed it, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was already releasing more music so soon. I honestly think this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard from her. This would’ve been a major highlight if it appeared on her aforementioned album. The production here is superb. It really sounds like it was performed by a full band. It’s super polished. I like the aggressive hook from Backxwash too, and she did a great job with the first verse as well. I’d never heard of this DeathIrl person before listening to this song, so I wasn’t sure how I’d end up feeling about their contribution, but they ended up doing a really nice job with the second verse. The electric guitar from Ada Rook was actually glorious too. I generally dislike electric guitars, but it sounded great here to me. The song is fire. Don’t sleep on it.

One slight nitpick that I have now is that it does sound a little too over the top for me personally. It’s just so intense that it’s almost funny. It sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack for that Doom reboot that came out in 2016. That’s me being super nitpicky though. I still think the song is dope as hell. Track 2 is called Demons, and I think it might be my favorite Backxwash song. I love the hard-hitting, yet ghostly production. I also really like the ominous piano keys that come in once Backxwash starts rapping. It’s really cool how she was able to cultivate such a downtempo, tense atmosphere. Her slow paced flow sounds really aggressive and reserved at the same time. It’s dope as fuck.

There's a peacefulness
As I sleep on this
Wanna wake up in my makeup
And my cheeks all messed

That hook though??? Maybe I should check out a Black Dresses album. Just from the outside looking in, I feel like their style isn’t really the kinda shit I would usually be into, but I’m absolutely in love with Devi McCallion‘s performance on this song, and I loved her work on the album too. She sounds completely out of this world here. I don’t know how to describe it. She sounds like oblivion in the form of a person. Like, I feel like she sounds like her brain is being flat ironed as she’s performing here. It sounds fucking amazing. It’s like, oddly robotic, but shadowy at the same time. It’s super spooky sounding. I’ve never heard anything like it to be honest. I’m obsessed though. I think it’s one of the coolest hooks I’ve heard all year. This track actually kinda reminds me of Moodie Black‘s latest album to be honest. It’s really wild stuff. It sounds like hell in the form of music. I mean that in a good way. It’s awesome. The guitar from Ada Rook that comes in during the outro sounds amazing. I can’t praise this song enough. It’s dope af. Track 3 is called Psalms 23, and it features a duo called Camp Blood, which consists of Haasan Barclay & Shaka Dendy. The hard-hitting production from Backxwash on this track is really awesome. It’s really aggressive and dark and loud and noisy. I guess I could see some of those edgy Soundcloud Trap artists that were semi-popular for like 12 seconds around 2017 spitting over this. However, unlike those artists, I think Backxwash is able to go for that sound without coming off lame and sounding like she’s trying way too hard to be edgy. It feels way more genuine here. I think I mentioned him the last time I covered Backxwash, but I think this is the kinda shit Scarlxrd thinks he does. He’s the only artist I know of that kinda goes for this style, but I just don’t think he pulls it off well at all. I guess I could probably see someone like Ski Mask the Slump God rapping over this, but he hasn’t really learned how to make well crafted, fully fleshed out songs, and he always has a pretty goofy tone. That’s cool though. We don’t need anyone else to do it. Backxwash does it perfectly. I really like how her main focus is on the writing and delivery. She doesn’t just distract listeners with masturbatory flows or waste time with filler bars and use the “iT’s a vIbE!!” defense. The opening verse is really dope. The dark lyricism is really cool. I do think that the noisy production kinda made some of the words a little difficult to make out, but it didn’t really prevent me from enjoying the song personally. This was my introduction to Camp Blood, so I don’t know which member performed that second verse, but they sounded really good to me. I really think they provided a nice contrast to the voice of Backxwash. I definitely think she had the best verse overall, but I’m glad Camp Blood was here because they sounded pretty good to me. There’s not really a hook or anything. I think as a song this track doesn’t stand out as much as the others on the project just because there isn’t as much happening. It’s just a really hard beat with two nice verses. I still really like it though. I think it’s dope. The closing track is a major highlight for me. It’s performed by someone named Joni Void, and it’s called Interlude of Doom. I’m not familiar with Joni Void at all, but I think this track is amazing. Every other track on the project is super explosive and hard hitting, so it’s kinda nice to get this scaled back instrumental as a change of pace. I feel like the three songs that Backxwash produced are musical equivalents to Slasher films, while this one is more like a suspenseful, psychological type of thing. It sounds like what I’d hear if some weird pagan cult was performing a ritual in which they sacrificed one of their members. Or it could just be a weird Christian cult ’cause they do fucked up shit too. The Kid Cudi-esque humming that comes in and out is really cool, and I love the subdued percussion along with the kind of staticky droning sounds and crackling fire in the background. Around the 2 minute mark it sounds like you can hear Darth Vader whispering the word “fuck” to himself, which is really awesome to me. I think it’s an awesome song personally. It’s dope af.

Honestly, I think this project is amazing. A lot of people have been focusing mainly on the full album that Backxwash dropped earlier this year, and I guess I can understand why since it’s the main course. This project is more like the dessert. I definitely think the content was more personal on the album, and it was probably more balanced as a project. It was diverse, yet cohesive. This project just really packs a punch. It comes outta nowhere and immediately impales you. It’s really dark, aggressive, fucked up sounding stuff, but in the best way possible. I really don’t have any gripes with this project to be honest. There was very little room for error, and I think Backxwash delivered on all fronts. The production here is fucking crazy too. This has me curious about what it would sound like to hear her produce for other rappers. I think that could be interesting. Anyway, if you’re into dark religious and horror themes along with super fucked up, Industrial Rock adjacent sounds this is definitely worth checking out. I would say to start with her full length album, but if you’re a fan of that record and you haven’t listened to this one yet you are fucking up big time. This shit is dope af.



Grade: A

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