Rotting Christ - Κατά τον δαίμονα του εαυτού (Seasons of Mist, 2013)
1. In Yumen - Xibalba
2. P'unchaw kachun - Tuta kachun
3. Grandis Spiritus Diavolos
4. Κατά τον δαίμονα του εαυτού
5. Cine iubeşte şi lasă
6. Iwa Voodoo
9. Ahura Mazdā-Aŋra Mainiuu
10. Χ ξ ς'
I'm not really a Rotting Christ authority. I've heard the last two albums Theogonia and Aealo and thought both were fantastic. Aside from that I really haven't liked too much that I've heard from them. But I know what I like and man this album is a fucking MONSTER! Aealo sounded a lot bigger than Theogonia but this album is just HUGE.
Let me get started with, well, the start. In Yumen – Xibalba
is probably one of the best album openers I've ever heard. The ominous droning of In Yumen
is an awesome start to an album as it is but once it breaks into Xibalba
shit gets real! Seriously, wow! I'm a pretty laid back guy but I can't see how anyone couldn't go nuts when that song gets going. It follows a very simple formula that Rotting Christ have used quite a bit on their last two albums (a simple guitar melody, hyperspeed drumming and subtle keyboards) but they just do it so much better than anyone else.
Musically this album is really basic and not very technical at all. But its simplicity is its beauty. I loved the songs that Rotting Christ create with simple four note melodies on the past two albums and they do that again on this album but it’s just better. The guitar work is even more stripped down (there were a lot of layers on Aealo) but it doesn’t hurt the songs at all. That’s largely due to the area where the album really shines: the choirs. There were non-black metal vocals on the last two albums (who can forget the chanting in Enuma Elish
) but on the past albums they were more in the background accentuating the songs. In this album they are at the forefront of the songs and they are
the songs. I can’t help but be taken to a different place when I listen to the vocals in these songs. During the intro of Iwa Voodoo
I can’t help but picture slaves rowing some giant warship through the Mediterranean, or priests performing some death ritual in Χ ξ ς'
. Or just picture myself being a fucking dude with a spear and a helmet waiting for word to attack the other army during Ahura Mazdā-Aŋra Mainiuu
. I’ve never had an album do that for me. The songs would’ve all been good songs on their own but adding these choirs just takes them to a whole different level.
On top of how well put together all the songs are they have one common thread running through them all. They're catchy. The choirs and riffs on any song will stick with you long after they're done.
The album isn't perfect. There is one song, track 5 Cine iubeşte şi lasă
that I really don't like. The female vocals during the piano intro really kill it for me. They remind me of the one song I couldn't stand on Aealo Orders From the Dead
. But one bad song can’t weight this album down in any way because it’s still a good song, just not a fucking amazing song.
And just like the other Rotting Christ albums I've heard it doesn't end on a very powerful note. Χ ξ ς'
is a really, really good song but would work better as a lead-in to another song or a mid-album track rather then an album closer. Or maybe it would have worked better if there was an ambient soundscape outro after it.
Also, they do repeat themselves a bit on this album. The guitar during the verse of the title track is very similar to the verses of the Sign of Prime Creation
from Theogonia and the title track from Aealo; and the keyboards do have a similar sound to both albums as well. But the thing is that it’s not over done because it’s so awesome. I see it as a thread that ties all the albums together.
Some other reviews I've read have criticized the kick drums sound. I don't hear it. I've only listened to it in my car but I'm not hearing anything bad. And a lot of people have been put off by the cover. Again, I think the cover is fucking awesome. It's very basic but just like their music basic can be awesome too. And if you look it the booklet the artwork is pretty good. I only wish I could read and understand some (a lot) of the song titles and lyrics.
What makes this album even more incredible is that it was created by pretty much one guy: Sakis Tolis. The band is a two-piece now with his brother Themis doing the drumming. Wow, that one person can come up with such massive music. The album will probably sell a few thousand copies tops and they probably won’t even tour outside of Europe but the guy should be so proud of what he’s done.
I love this album. If you even just liked Rotting Christs last two albums you need to hear this. It's still really early in 2013 but this could very well be my album of the year. We'll have to see how it stands the test of time but it could even be top twenty of all time material. I just can’t see how they can ever top this.
Favorite Songs: In Yumen – Xibalba
, Κατά τον δαίμονα του εαυτού
, Ahura Mazdā-Aŋra Mainiuu