[Season Of Mist]
[5th March 2013]
01. In Yumen – Xibalba
02. P’unchaw Kachun – Tuta Kachun
03. Grandis Spiritus Diavolos
04. Kataton Demona Eaftou
05. Cine Iubeste Si Lasa
06. Iwa Woodoo
09. Ahura Mazda Anra Mainiuu
Rotting Christ are a huge name in the extreme metal scene today. From their humble beginnings as a pioneer of the Greek black metal scene, through metamorphosis, they have had a long and successful career. They have, of course, long since ceased being simply black metal, now playing something that could be called “dark metal”, taking influence from Greece’s culture to shape their sound. Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού (Kata ton Daimona Eautou or Do What Thou Wilt) is their 11th studio album, and the follow up to 2010’s critically acclaimed work, AEALO.
Kata ton Daimona Eautou is similar in sound to their previous two efforts, but there are key differences. The first thing that stands out upon listening to this album is that it is darker in tone than AEALO. The melodies have more tension, the vocals have a harsher edge, and the female choir present on AEALO is gone, replaced by a menacing male choir. There are also ominous sounding chants which are laid over tense, chugging riffs. Rotting Christ, rather than simply replicating the sound implemented on AEALO and Theogonia, have chosen to build upon it, adding darkness and tension to the melodies which have long been a trademark of their sound. The rhythm guitars have more power to them as well, creating an immense wall of sound. It is not suffocating, however, but rather free and open sounding. There are guitar solos aplenty on this album, two standout ones being on “Grandis Spirius Diavolos” and a magnificent one on “Русалка”.
A darker tone and sound is not unexpected, given the lyrical themes of this album. Whereas AEALO dealt with catastrophe and destruction (still a dark theme, but it is one without real purpose), Kata ton deals with the underworld gods of various cultures, and the demons contained within. One might recognize Voodoo, Mesopotamian, Christian, and Ancient Greek among those represented. To complement these themes, there are interspersed in a few songs, various folk instruments, relevant to the culture that is being mentioned. The wind instrument used in the title track adds a strange and baleful feel to the song, and the drums at the end of “Iwa Voodoo” round out the song nicely.
The true shock, however, comes in the beginning of “Cine Iubeşte Şi Lasă” which features a piano intro, and a rather direful one at that. For all its darkness, there are a few brighter, majestic spots on this album. The melody encountered near the end of “Ahura Mazdā-Aŋra Mainiuu” is beautiful, and flowing, like a river from a clean spring. The choir adds an infernal depth to the music, creating the illusion that the listener is in a vast hall being judged by hundreds of otherworldly beings, demons, and damned souls. The vocals, courtesy of Sakis Tolis, are as if the great underworld gods themselves are screaming out in anger.
Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού is a fantastic album, a brilliant follow-up to AEALO, and another magnificent addition to Rotting Christ’s catalogue. It is a tense, dark, malignant, and towering work. The music is excellently composed to match the themes and lyrics, and the instrumentation spares no expense to convey a more authentic feel, as authentic as extreme metal can sound in relation to various world cultures. It isn’t a huge shift in sound for the band, but neither does it show them stagnating, refining the sound they have already made their own. Stand out tracks include “Iwa Voodoo”, “Κατά Τον Δαίμονα Του Ἐαυτοὗ”, and “Ahura Mazdā-Aŋra Mainiuu”. Rotting Christ aren’t showing any signs of weakness, and even though it may seem pre-emptive; have surely made one of the better albums of 2013.