Rotting Christ // Κατά τον Δαίμονον Εαυτού
Rating: 3.0/5.0 — WWRCD…
Label: Season of Mist Records
Websites: facebook.com/rotting.christ.tr | MySpace.com/rottingchristabyss
Release Dates: EU: 2013.03.01 | US: 03.05.2013

rotting-christ-albumI’m always enchanted by a band or album that pushes me to think outside the box, compelling me at 2 am to seek out the translation of an old Romanian curse, making me read up on Voodoo and at the same time the i’m knee deep in the teachings of Aleister Crowley – now that’s what metal’s about [Mister Crowley, won't you write for my blog? – Steel Druhm]! Aleister Crowley wrote ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’ and I’m pleased Greek icons Rotting Christ decided to use this credo as the basis for their 11th full-length release Κατά τον Δαίμονον Εαυτού (meaning ‘Do what thou wilt’). As a well matured band, and with Aealo already angrily reviewed some time back, I doubt Rotting Christ need much introduction, save to say that their style has shifted from that of deathgrind on their earlier releases, to a more dark, violent and sometimes gothic influenced black metal sound on later releases and now, forming an unholy trinity with Theogonia and Aealo, they continue weaving the native element into their dark tapestry that bears similarities to Septicflesh, Old Man’s Child, Behemoth and Samael. In as far as having expectation for Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy – would a hells yeah suffice?

Κατά τον Δαίμονον Εαυτού opens up with a beastly track entitled “In Yumen – Xibalba,” which is tainted with Septicflesh and takes you on an euphorically brutal, militaristic, sometimes manic journey of chanting lyrics, marching drum beats and quirky guitar work that erupts when you least expect it. Sakis has an unusual vocal style bearing similarities to that of Spiros Antoniou (Septicflesh) and Nergal (Behemoth) and his vocals morph rather successfully from deadly whispers, to nearly clean spoken chants and into oddly strained screams that just work! Other moments of vocal grandeur include “Κατά τον Δαίμονον Εαυτού” and “666” which feature Sakis at his roaring, soaring, beastly best! There’s no rest for the wicked and before you’ve wiped the dust from your eyes, along comes a track you’ll either love intensely (as I do), or hate – Romanian curse “Cine iubeşte şi lasă,” which lets guest vocalist Suzana Vougioukli tell of the horrors that will befall those that love and quit. There’s no holding this lady back, she’s got talent in spades and perfectly stands up to the bar set by Sakis.

Crowley_in_HatThere’s an unusual feeling of cohesion that you pick up on early in “In Yumen – Xibalba” and this continues throughout the album, the different streams flow seamlessly from one to the other, guitars and bass complimenting and dancing around the ever changing drum lines and so on, and given that all instrumentation and vocals are undertaken by brothers Sakis and Themis Tolis, this close familiarity adds a great and interesting chemistry to Rotting Christ’s sound. “Κατά τον Δαίμονον Εαυτού” and “Русалка” showcase guitar solos that sound more along the lines of something you’d find on a melodic or blackened death album (i.e. Behemoth or Deicide) rather than your standard black metal offering, they’re well worth checking out and combined with majestic, pounding, often tribal sounding drums, it’s easy to hear that Rotting Christ are a dynamic force to be reckoned with, ferociously focussed on creating intellectually stimulating black metal.

The production on the album is tight, but at times it’s difficult to pick up on the lyrical content of Κατά τον Δαίμονον Εαυτού, which is disappointing because there’s so much of value tucked away in these 55 minutes. This is more a language breakdown rather than being related to the vocal levels, as a large portion of this album is sung in what I assume to be Greek.  My next gripe lies in the fact that this stuff is just so damn easily accessible – somewhere after the release of Aealo, Rotting Christ lost some of their raw black metal edge. This may be a treat for the Rotting Christ newbie, but for seasoned listeners it’s going to be a rather sharp and stabby thorn in their iron crown.

RottingChrist2013promophotoThrashHitsI suspect that while inciting commotion among older fans of Rotting Christ’s, this will gain them a whole new fanbase who may go on to resurrect parts of their discography long forgotten. Κατά τον Δαίμονον Εαυτού has some of the most beautiful album art I’ve seen in 2013 [Better than Hatriot!? — Steel Druhm] and as a full and complete package, this album does a great job of complimenting and continuing on from where Theogonia and Aealo left off.

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  • Colin Stuart

    I’ve been really liking the album. I happen to be a newer Rotting Christ convert, getting into them first with Aealo and this feels like a natural continuation of that.

    • Madam__X

      Agreed.

    • http://www.angrymetalguy.com Angry Metal Guy

      It is definitely a natural continuation, but I felt like it lacked balls.

      • Colin Stuart

        Fair argument.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cary.hutchison Cary Hutchison

      I am right with you, Colin. I started with Aealo as well. I really hope these guys tour my area again (And hopefully bringing Melechesh along with them again as well!) to see how this album translates live.

      • Colin Stuart

        I have Rotting Christ + Septic Flesh wet dreams.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cary.hutchison Cary Hutchison

    While the 3.0 is a big drop from Beyond’s 4.5, I have had trouble discerning the better of the two albums. In my opinion, both Rotting Christ and Omnium Gatherum have put out 2013′s best albums thus far. I’d lean more towards OG (Straight outta Finland!) at this point. But man, am I happy with metal these days.

    • Madam__X

      The year’s indeed off to a good start. Thanks for your feedback :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bogdan-Niculae/100000531771863 Bogdan Niculae

      I’m with you on these two albums being among the best releases this year, along with The Fall of Every Season’s Amends. But in my book OG get a 4.0 and RC (a little above) 3.5. Definitely very good stuff, but not amazing overall, though some songs are indeed epic.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cary.hutchison Cary Hutchison

        I couldn’t argue with that. For as much as I like my RC, I do feel OG is the better album.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000192521182 Shahir Chagan

    Is this album anything to go by? I’ve heard Non Serviam, which was good, but I could never really get into it (I could with SepticFlesh, however).

    BTW, the album art looks rather… Average

    • Madam__X

      I initially tried to listen to RC a few years back and I hated it – just couldn’t get into it at all. Then one day something just clicked and I guess I must have heard the right song or something – the rest is history. I’m really enjoying the album, as AMG said it’s lacking in balls but other than that it’s a good album – definitely worth picking up.

      After reading Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle – there’s a special place in my heart for gargoyles and grotesques :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000192521182 Shahir Chagan

        It’s usually those experiences that make you enjoy an album more than usual, maybe even more than albums you liked initially.

        Much like my experiences with Death’s IVP, now I listen to it nearly every day.
        Thanks though :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/luis.coutinho69 Luís Pedro Coutinho

    I didn’t listened to new RC album, but already listened to the new song in youtube… I think its good stuff there… Metal is not in crisis in Greece…

    • Madam__X

      They’re definitely strong. Now all we need is another Septicflesh!!

  • PFC

    This is my first time listening to Rotting Christ… love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/luis.coutinho69 Luís Pedro Coutinho

    The cover sucks. I listened to the album today and it’s harsh to listen to an album in greek…it has it’s moments but not enough for me…if was me the classification I gave was 2.5 it’s really nothing special… and I’ve my agenda more and more tight…more and more tastes as I said metal is not my first passion…you call this good? I ve my doubts…’Genesis’ was very good, a real masterpiece. Why the fuck a band with tittles only in english now remembered to give us one only in greek?? i’ll fucking listen to Manilla Road.

    • Madam__X

      The Manilla Road album rocks, enjoy :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/marco.orciuoli Marco O

      well, personal taste apart, just one song has some lyric in greek. the rest of the album is in good old english, with some chorus in mayan, latin and such… just to say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marco.orciuoli Marco O

    i admit it… i’m a fanboy. and i loved every bit of this album!

  • http://twitter.com/ElectricGrave Gustavo Tenorio

    3.0? Dissapointing, this album is easily a 4.5. And rotting christ doesn’t play black metal for a while now not sure why still tagging them as such