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
I’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.
There’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.
I 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.