Review Summary: From the broiling sun of Greece to the malodorous, sombre depths of the ancient crypts.
Rotting Christ’s twelfth release is a gloomy yet ferocious death/black metal release proving once again that they are still quite capable of releasing quality albums. It’s not only a solid continuation to the bands overall strong discography, but it also an evolution, called it progression if you will, in style. Rotting Christ is a band known for their genre twisting catalog of music. The fact that this band has yet once again modified their sound is not surprising, but is still dearly welcomed.
This time around Rotting Christ guides you to a far different place than before. You step down from the hill where a mighty sun touched acropolis rests and begins a journey to far more dank and dark place. Not a single person, enemy or foe, is hiding by the shadows in this forgotten domain beneath the earth, and as you step further in you quickly realize that it’s in fact a labyrinth you’ve entered. Suddenly your imagination takes over and the common dungeon statues once obscured by the dusk turns their heads, looks you straight in the eyes and you realize that you are no longer alone deep down into the blackness of the tomb.
This review will be pretty wage if you haven’t heard Rotting Christ before so I will now explain briefly how they sound. Rotting Christ was a raw black metal, but later deviated into a more gothic sound and from that a combination between the both that mostly resembled blackened death metal. They have also incorporated folk music in their last two albums, Theogonia and Aealo. Rotting Christ has, however, NOT developed the typical folk inspired black metal that we are used to (as perhaps Finntroll or Moonsorrow), but they have instead created something very unique that severely differs from the black-folk metal that many of us are used to. It’s more subtle and is mostly not in the forefront of the music.
Theogonia 2.0 is an easy interpretation of what KATA TON sounds like, but with some major differences. The first most noticeable major change that differs KATA TON from other modern RC releases is the obvious change in sound and production. The music is more muddy, dank and eerie. By muddy I do not at all mean worse. It’s simply a modification to enhance the atmosphere and it was very successful. Though all Rotting Christ albums has their fair share of beautiful Greece folk atmosphere KATA TON has probably the best, billowing sound to it than any other of their albums. The sound is still somewhat the same, but with a more despair inducing sound than normally. The use of choirs has been lowered substantially from Aealo and more frightening things such as backwards sung lyrics and classic piano has been added. Theogonia is very known for it’s use of an Greece folk instrument which is called tsabouna. This is not too easily (some songs have a lot of it while others have not) found in KATA and that certain instrument was pretty much the thing that gave Theogonia its “warmth”. KATA lacks this, but it’s really a matter of taste here. It’s all up to the atmosphere you want to have in a black metal album or what mood you are in. For you who really liked the folk melodies from the last two they are still there and some songs even include a lot of it. Mainly the first released title track. The epicness is still here though and KATA is overall an amazing, heavy force.
Vocally KATA is similar to their other releases, but that is easy to say since the vocalist in Rotting Christ has such an unique voice. They are actually a bit more straightforward here and they are also more harsh and “screamy” than before. It also seems like the vocals have been mixed a bit lower than before and doesn’t take as much room which differs a lot from for example Aealo which was very voice based with it’s choirs and chanting. The drumming and guitar-riffs are mostly the same, but are of course not redundant or repetitive. While keeping the same style of writing their music, Rotting Christ manages the release another original album. Rotting Christ has, however, a bad manor of writing very alike songs. In Yumen / Xibalba and the title track are dangerously similar, but asides from those two the other songs keep a relatively good distance in writing from each other. Though the looming shadows hangs over you like clouds on KATA it is still a fiercely melodic album with catchy guitar-riffs and very steady rhythmical drum-work.