Thursday, 25 April 2013

Review; Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy

Track Listing:

1. In Yumen-Xibalba
2. P'unchaw Kachun - Tuta Kachun
3. Grandis Spiritus Diavolos
4. Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
5. Cine Iubeste Si Lasa
6. Iwa Voodoo
7. Gilgames
8. Русалка
9. Ahura Mazda-Azra Mainiuu
10. 666

Darkness and metal have gone together hand in hand since the days of Black Sabbath themselves, but this connection has only strengthened over time and these days we are often presented with an album that we hope has a very palpable occult energy to it. A lot of the time, these hopes are sunk and the occultism that is put across seems cabaret or even like a gimmick. Some bands have even gone so far to admit that they used things like Satanism as a gimmick, such as Venom. Greek Black Metal band Rotting Christ, however, seem to take a very real and deep interest in the darker side of culture and philosophy, particularly mysticism, and this comes across in their music brilliantly. Their understanding of demonic atmospherics and hypnotic psychedelics is clear from the word go as this, the band's 11th full-length album kicks off.

Even with the near-constant blast-beats going on in the music, there's a distinct feeling of classic metal to the band's sound. Not necessarily classic black metal, but I find it easy to see that as a good thing; many of the bands that try to deliberately pursue the classic 'Kvlt' black metal sound end up sounding like insincere, two-bit copycats. Rotting Christ have managed to seamlessly meld their black metal roots with traditional metal sensibilities whilst weaving in various folk music elements, obviously taking great influence from their homeland Greece and it's cultural history. Some of the background choir passages and orchestrations are very powerful and moving indeed. Epic, in the truest sense of the word.

In the metal stakes, Rotting Christ possess a very blatantly European sound, from the guitar tone right through to the instrumental harmonies and vocal approaches are so obviously and brilliantly continental that I catch myself thinking two things; firstly that it's only right that Rotting Christ are one of the premier underground metal acts in Europe, and secondly; that all the 'Tr00, Kvlt Black Metallers' who can be found claiming that Rotting Christ are not a real black metal band (for all the stupidest, elitist reasons imaginable!!) need to take a jump into the 21st century. There's nothing worse than identikit metal bands, as such; an album like 'Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy' is a huge breath of fresh air, in a similar fashion to the recent works of seminal progressive black metal troupe Enslaved. The inclusion of traditional greek singers, pianos, strings and other such instruments is a bold move for a band labelled as black metal, but Rotting Christ manage to pull it off with what seems like ease. the fact of the matter is that this band is much more than simply black metal.

If the album has one point of weakness it's that it listens like a concept album; by which I mean that it all blends and melds together from song to song. It's be extremely difficult to single out a favourite song or two because the album is best enjoyed as a whole. In the internet age where most people seem to suffer from short attention spans, they may lack the patience to be able to appreciate this amazing body of work in its full glory. However, as somebody that has a great amount of patience when it comes to music, I can say that my favourite cuts would be the somehow-catchy 'Cine Iubeste Si Lasa' and the fantastically atmospheric title track 'Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy'. The big surprise song on the record is the strangely rock 'n' roll feeling 'Iwa Voodoo' which boasts some brilliantly catchy riffs and has the overall feel of a gothic call-to-arms, as bizarre a concept as that is!

To all those who think that black metal sounds best with the shittiest production job in the world, completely indecipherable lyrics, guitars with next to no tone, and that it can only be played by Scandinavian bands; Rotting Christ's 'Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy' has clearly proven otherwise. This is an intricate, dark and deeply beautiful album that owes as much to the intrigue of world cultures as it does to the molten heart of Scandinavian black metal, and shows just how much room metal has to evolve if the right creative minds take on the task. Listen to this album and feel the Metal World get that little bit more vast.

Rating: 9/10

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