Review Summary: A thrill ride of an album for the Greek veterans that possibly tops all their output to date.
Rotting Christ are a name renowned within black metal circles as being the premiere metal band from Greece, both in the consistency and quality of their discography. Recent years have yielded many albums that showcase more of a gothic rock style to their music that also contains more than a few moments of black metal brutality, and 2013 marks a continuation of this path. Kata Ton Aimona Eaytoy is an enjoyable and varied album with a whole lot to enjoy about it that may well even topple the bands finest works to date. The album shows off best their style of music that mixes various passages of "typical" black metal with fast tremolo picking and blast beats with softer and more melodic pieces of music, but also with some shiny new bells attached to their sound.
This album has a thoroughly epic feel to it when the band are thundering along at full speed ahead. The first song has some great examples of this when the black metal sections come in with some chanted vocals in the background that are most noticeable when the main vocals are not present. These create the feeling that the album is building up to something truly incredible despite the fact that much of it is just fast paced black metal music with more of a focus on this side of the band than many of their most recent works. The goth elements of the band are used sparingly on Kata Ton Aimona Eaytoy such as to open up many of the songs, including the opening song, and to create a sense of dread and a morbid, dark atmosphere. There are frequent undertones of this such as the low, evil tones being sung cleanly and left to ring out in the background to great effect, making this a genuinely creepy and eerie album to sit through.
A highlight of Kata Ton Aimona Eaytoy would be the vocal performance, which primarily sticks to more of a middling scream than the insane high pitched tones of bands such as Darkthrone. This really fits the epic nature of the album and creates the feeling of a band that is in the middle of a war zone and shouting over the incessant noise, which perfectly fits the dark and brooding atmosphere of much of the album. At times he uses clean singing which is also nice although not a word is understandable due to it not being in English but one does not really need to know the lyrics to get a feeling as to the nature of the lyrics-they are assured to be dark and evil by the aggressive music and vocals on display here. This is also a band that knows how to write slower and more mid-paced riffs as almost every song shows at least once. At 3:20 into the second song we are gifted one of the finest examples with a beautiful high pitched riff that could not have suited the section of the song it arrived at better, and compliments the rest of the song (which is fast and angry for the most part) perfectly.
One thing this album could have fixed up a little was the production job which is not the best out there and one would expect more from a band that has achieved some success and is no longer sticking to the trademarks of pure black metal. The guitars have a nice enough tone but the drums feel flat and the bass is completely out of the mix. Also the vocals are too loud and often dominate the songs. Other flaws that this album has include the fact that the piano introduction to the fifth song is really badly performed and totally out of place as well and that the faster sections of the songs often feel monotonous and irritating and will grate on the listener. The piano takes the cake as being the worst idea however with no real sense of rhythm nor melody that will distract from the quality of the clean vocals that are sung over the top of it.
Kata Ton Aimona Eaytoy is a prime example of a band that has evolved very well over the course of a long and thrilling career, and an example of a band that even now has a little to improve on but has put out perhaps their strongest material to date. The 2013 outing for Rotting Christ is an album that often is intense and enjoyable to listen to due to the fact that the heaviest sections are not too crushing and the guitars have such a beautiful tone that it is hard to not enjoy them.