Maybe Easter would be the perfect day to review a Rotting Christ album, but Good Friday is pretty damn close. I dabble in blasphemy like ex-Presidents dabble in painting dogs. My first introduction to Rotting Christ was rather upsetting to 14 year old me: I saved enough money by hoarding my lunch money (and surviving off Dunkaroos) to order Tiamat, Rotting Christ, and Emperor albums together to save shipping costs. Unfortunately the package was lost and I did not purchase insurance because that was a whole six dollars (two lunches) more. Years later, the internet is all sorts of amazing, and you can enjoy Rotting Christ on Spotify immediately. Spoiled little prick kids.
Their newest album, Κata Τon Daimona Εaytoy, is a riveting piece of symphonic metal with bursts of blackened speed and a mischievous, adventurous spirit. The Tolis brothers, Themis (drums) and Sakis (everything else), have crafted a fine album that takes huge creative risks and plays by its own rules. The opening track, “In Yumen - Xibalba,” is the most danceable black metal song I’ve ever heard, moving from droning, monochromatic doom to blazing looped guitars over a blast beat. Somehow the sum of all that equals a song that could make the burliest metal warrior breakdance. “P'unchaw Kachun/Tuta Kachun” continues the trance-inducing approach of the album, with a distant monk choir haunting chugging palm-muted riffs before concluding with majestic harmonized guitars. Despite the nearly spiritual overall feel of the album there are also shades of their harsher black metal days to be found here, including the ragers “Κατά τον δαίμονα του εαυτού” and “Русалка,” which both expertly build and release anger.
While there are a couple uninspired songs, such as the sleepy “Grandis Spiritus Diavolos” and the slow-burning “Ahura Mazdā-Aŋra Mainiuu,” even these cuts offer moments of brilliance, like the funky wah-wah solo of the former. Just how did these Greek veteran rockers grow the grapefruit-sized-nuts to use a Cry Baby pedal in a black metal song? Κata Τon Daimona Εaytoy is an album that defies expectations in the best ways possible, offering the anthemic qualities of arena rock without sacrificing aggression or experimentation. Some songs feel like Theli-era Therion, but with more care taken with the metallic aspects. That’s the most impressive part of this album for me: Despite all the chanting and piano and operatic guest vocals and assorted oddities, at its heart this is a throwback metal album from an accomplished band who never stop pushing at the boundaries of heavy music.
I knew there were DVD copies of Nosferatu released with Type O Negative providing the soundtrack. I think if there’s any horror film that fits Κata Τon Daimona Εaytoy it would be Rosemary’s Baby. I could definitely hear “Gilgameš” playing while the devil stares down at Mia Farrow with those yellow eyes. If there was ever a soundtrack for Satanic insemination, it was Rotting Christ’s music. I love Cadbury Eggs as much as the next non-religious, pathological-consumer-of-candy, but Rotting Christ provided my real Easter treat this year.
Listen to Rotting Christ on Spotify and visit their official website here: http://www.rotting-christ.com/
And check out their merch over at Season of Mist: http://www.season-of-mist.com/bands/rotting-Christ