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Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy Award winner

Rotting Christ
Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
by Spyros Stasis / Lior "Steinmetal" Stein / Vasilis Odontidis at 28 February 2013, 6:36 PM

SPYROS STASIS (10/10)

Now this was unreal. As the years pass this band is getting better and better. From the early days there was no doubt that ROTTING CHRIST were a truly unique band, but with their last two albums, “Theogonia” and “Aealo”, and now even more with the brand new “Κατά Τον Δαίμονα Εαυτού” they are proving once again not only that they are an unstoppable force in the extreme Metal scene but also that they still have a lot to offer.

Since “Theogonia”, ROTTING CHRIST began to heavily enrich their sound with Greek influences, either in the form of instruments (mainly found in “Theogonia”), choirs (which were really impressive in “Aealo”) and lyrics that were based around Greek history and mythology. But now with their new album they seem to broaden their horizons including influences… let’s just call them global. Different lyrics, in foreign languages: from Greek and Latin (which is the easy part) to Romanian, Russian, Sumerian (!!) and Mayan (!!!!). Fair warning Sakis Tolis, when you start speaking in tongues you will probably be considered possessed or insane…

The atmosphere of the album is probably the darkest that the band ever had. With an occult element full of mysticism, the band has reached their most extreme end in terms of concept. From the Mayan underworld (“In Yumen-Xibalba”), to the Latin blasphemies (“Grandis Spiritus Diavolos”), then to the Romanian curse of “Cine Iubeste Si Lasă” and then to Voodoo myths only to turn back to the oldest known literary work in the world with “Gilgameš”, followed by a trip to the Russian spirit world and cold lakes with “Русалка” to finish the record with… what other than the fucking Apocalypse with “Χ Ξ Σ” (Greek numbering for “666”). And what is even more impressive is that every time the actual music enhances the lyrical aspect of each song, with the ritualistic structure of “In Yumen - Xibalba”, the almost watery effects in “Русалка” and the tribal feeling of “Iwa Voodoo” and to the ritualistic / apocalyptic rhythm of “Χ Ξ Σ”. Of course the Greek influences are here as well, with the use of the tsabouna (Greek instrument, similar to bagpipes) in the song “Κατά τον δαίμονα του εαυτού“, something that ROTTING CHRIST used before in. You will even get a bit of Scandinavian mythology in there if you get the edition with the bonus track “Welcome To Hel” (yup with only one “l”), it is not a VENOM cover and it is fucking monumental.

So there you have it: ROTTING CHRIST are still walking in the same path they started with the release of “Theogonia”, the thundering guitars (how the fuck do you get that sound by the way?), the dark ambiance, the headbanging groove, the aggression entwined with the melodies and all the influences that it is possible to fit in an album, from choirs, to native instruments and to languages long forgotten. An extreme Metal album the way it should be: dark, malicious, haunting, relentless and inescapable.

This band is going on since the late 80s and you are still able to sound interesting, unconventional and true. How many bands do you know that have reached their eleventh album and have achieved that? ROTTING CHRIST still remains as defiant as they have always been. For now and always they follow the same motto: NON SERVIAM!!

STEINMETAL (9/10)

And then they were two, the true founders, ultimate conspirators taking the reins of their own venerable prospect. Stepping out of their Greek cultural comfort zone of their last album, "Aealo", the infamous ROTTING CHRIST, led by the Tolis brothers, return as a duo, dedicating their efforts and experience on composing a selection of songs ardent to the interest in ancient cultures, occult and polytheistic beliefs under the veil of their new album "Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy", via Season Of Mist, (translated as "Do What Thou Wilt" or "True To His Own Spirit"). For a while, ROTTING CHRIST extreme Metal doctrine has been special an unordinary in comparison to the plenty of extreme Metal acts worldwide, delivering an energetic type of their own version of Black Metal with adjuncts of Folk and Gothic elements, this new release proved that personal conception of mine, and probably others as well, once again. Though my Greek knowledge is relatively weak (who am I kidding as I don't know the first thing about the Greek language but only history and culture), the songs weren't delivered solely in Greek but also with a few segments of English, and I assume other primeval languages as well. At first I alleged that it is going to be one of those albums for the local inflamed fans, but I guess I was wrong to suspect that.

In contrast to the early "Aealo", "Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy" felt to me as one of ROTTING CHRIST's darkened creations. Of course that it is not as gloomy and devilishly spirited, and even bleaker, as the older albums such "Thy Mighty Contract", "Non-Serviam" or even "Dead Poem", but it overwhelmed with an appealing sanctity and mysticism delivered by the recently used Folk attributes, choir effects and additional layers of vocals to intensify the sorts of obscured theatrics. Furthermore, ROTTING CHRIST music, in the half of the last decade came up to be a lot fiercer and punchy, distributing infernal, several created under a singular formula that has been a solid matter, carved in stone, of the band's antics, of melodic lead guitar licks slightly shadowed by a speeding blizzard of blast beats and grinds and debauched paced bass and rhythm guitar warbles. Being somewhat shadowed didn't ruin the listening experience, I can guarantee that. The mid tempo rhythms seemed catchy, pretty much in the same vein as the latest ROTTING CHRIST outputs, but robust and inspired by a perplexing atmosphere creating a type of deferral for the next thing in line. In a way, the album's dimmed figure, like stepping into an unholy church or a place where nothing is sacred, won me over right from the get go. Here and there I noticed a few soloing efforts played by Sakis Tolis, which was in charge of the recording of almost every aspect of the album, aside for the drumming, performed by his brother Themis, and the guest vocals of enchanting Suszana Vougioukli and a single piano effort by Eleni Vougioukli on "Cine iubeşte şi lasă". I have to admit that Sakis has it in him to make a classic kind of extremeness and his brother, a colossal man machine thumping the skins. Production wise, the sound and mix, as on nearly every one of the last albums of the band, are phenomenal. Jens Bogren did an amazing job on the mixing, and a fine service for the Greeks, as on most of his asserted projects.

"Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy" harbors some of the famous cultures of the ancient worlds. Through Sumerian, Incas, Russia, Persia and even Romania, but with also the appreciation for the unholy Diablo, ROTTING CHRIST crated several hits worth mentioning that should take a respectable place in their legacy. "Welcome To Hel", my favorite track of the album and I believe it to be it winning chip, might sound rather trivial and common, but it is what ROTTING CHRIST has always meant to me, the plain entrance under the shroud of blackness and burning red of oblivion, yet victorious in every aspect. The riffing is utterly catchy and memorable, grand melodies and harmonies, impressive opening solo, resolute drumming and great vocals, by one of the greatest growlers in the business, breathing fire. "P'unchaw kachun - Tuta kachun", the chants and hymns of the Inca emperor disturb the peace with unholy shrieks of chaos, there is a majestic feel no doubt, but so dark and wicked. The lead guitar lick is exciting even if not being overly developed but it was placed just right. "Kata Ton Daimona Eaftou", I guess it is one of the band's demonic entries, wild energies and gruesome vocalic efforts. Finally there is "Rusalka", the blasphemous story of an ancient lore of the Russian water spirits persuading folks to join them in a watery grave, like an dynamic hymn or a swift invitation of the dead in fast pace, there is no escape from what will come next. I liked the rhythm riffing, undisputable drum machinery and great lead guitar melodies and holy cow what a shred solo, all contributing to the march. It all sounds so simple, so damn ROTTING CHRIST, as if no artist can perform as massively great as they have been doing.

"Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy" demonstrates the uniqueness of the charging legions of ROTTING CHRIST as almost no other extreme Metal band reached their form of composing the deepness and trust of their roots, digging deeper into the midst of the past is not that easy and writing songs that will remain engraved forever is a rather complicated task. Sink in this one as it will embrace you not with love but with grip of duskiness.

VASILIS ODONTIDIS (9/10)

Kata Ton Δaimona Eaytoy". A phrase in ancient Greek with an ambiguous meaning as it means “against my own demon” but also “act according to my own will”. It might ring some bells to the fans of DOORS as it is inscribed in Jim Morrison’s tombstone. In 2013 it is also the title that Greek extreme Metallers ROTTING CHRIST have chosen for their eleventh album and successor of “Aealo”. Probably you will find this record by the alternate title “Do What Thou Wilt” which was added by Season of Mist to give the record a decipherable title.

From the album’s title to the music parts of the record ROTTING CHRIST have taken a very liberal and different approach than any previous albums. The points are numerous but I can point a few yet major such as the Greek title of the record, the absence of the band’s logo in the cover and the undecipherable names in most of the songs plus the various languages that are being used in the songs. While not a conceptual record in theme the common bond between all the songs is the multi nationality of the record. The songs are referring to evil gods of old, curses or the Devil, Hell and the Number of the Beast. Be it the god of the underworld of Mayas (“In Yumen Xilbaba”), the Devil himself (“Grandis Spiritus Diavolos”), Quetzalcoatl (“P'unchaw kachun - Tuta kachun”) or even John’s Apocalypse (“Χ Ξ Σ”).

The musical direction of the album is extending what the last two very successful records “Theogonia” and “Aealo” have defined. While there are lots of extreme parts there is a favor over the Atmospheric / Gothic elements. ROTTING CHRIST utilizes a lot of baritone vocals as before, distinct melodic leads. There is not much complexity found in the songs, in terms of guitar playing as atmosphere is favored over technical skills. Also there are Greek traditional instruments used - in the homonymous song if I am not mistaken it must be a “Zournas” or something similar.

With “Aealo” they proved that above all they are open minded musicians by cooperating with the traditional Greek group PLEIADES and Diamanda Galas. This time they cover a song that was performed in Greece by the duet of Elena and Suzana Vougioukli. “Cine iubeste si lasa” is a song by Maria Tanase way back in 1936 and it is a Romanian curse. In the first part of the song it is found as it is performed by them and then the band kicks in and the song develops with a duet of Sakis Tolis and Suzana Vougioukli. It is another excellent cover of the band and cooperation with one of the most promising acts of the Greek scene.

It is probably their most weird and anti-commercial album as they incorporate all those multilingual elements that probably most would have no idea what they mean (there is still Google to our aid). One could say that “Kata Ton Δaimona Eaytoy" is almost like the tower of Babel. However this multilingualism works at its benefit turning this into a solid record of dark mysticism. The focus on each song is to make it like a liturgy, a summoning of something dark and ominous. Personally while I can find similarities in the song structures with the previous two records, they are surpassed by the new approach and are easily overcome. The songs that draw mostly my attention are “Grandis Spiritus Diavolos” which is my favorite, “Kατά τον Δαίμονα Εαυτού”, “Gilgames”, “Cine iubeste si lasa”, “XΞΣ” and “Welcome to Hel”.

ROTTING CHRIST have proven once again that they are one of the leaders of extreme music, a band that is not afraid to make an “incomprehensible” record and will stick to its guns to achieve this. In the end history has shown that their open mindedness has done only good to them. They do remain one of the most honest bands of the genre, having created their own unique sound and identity as they always acted according to their own will.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
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
7. Gilgameš
8. Русалка
9. Ahura Mazdā-Aŋra Mainiuu
10. 666
11. Welcome To Hel
Lineup:
Sakis Tolis – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Lyrics
Themis Tolis – Drums
Record Label: Season Of Mist
     


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Edited 04 July 2020
 

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