Review Summary: Over 20 years worth of experience packaged into a 56 minute disc of blackened metal
Having been around for more than 20 years, it’s remarkable how Rotting Christ still have the same spring in their step that they had in 1993, when they released their first full-length album, Thy Mighty Contract
. If anything, the band has aged like a fine wine, with many praising their relatively recent Theogonia
(2007) record as their opus. Six years removed from said album, the band are here with their supposedly most occult outing yet, and to no-one’s dismay, it is another worthy addition to the group’s extensive catalog that manages to cram all of the sounds Rotting Christ have toyed with over the years into a 56 minute LP. It largely continues on the more "epic" melodic black metal path Rotting Christ have trodden for the last 10 years, but it is definitely a darker and more menacing affair than the two albums that came before it. The record carries with it a tenebrous aura that falls on the listener like a dark cloud, and that very aura is what makes this album the beast it is.
One thing that continually impresses me about Rotting Christ’s latter-day albums is how they manage to sound as grandiose and powerful as an orchestra (without actually having one). The band’s sound is large and thick, and when a melodic guitar lead rises amidst the havoc, it sounds like an aural reflection of a tempest looming over a bloody battle. This is exquisitely exhibited in songs "In Yumen-Xibalba" and "Kata Don Daimona Eaytoy" where, halfway through the tracks, snarling leads start to penetrate Rotting Christ’s wall of sound and gyre around it in majestic fashion, often along with flutes that add a distinct Greek folk punch to the mix. With Themis Tolis pounding behind his kit every bit as powerfully as war drums sound, listening to Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
is comparable to being thrown into an ancient Greek civil war, even if the lyrics don’t deal with the subject quite as closely as one might expect (they mostly revolve around ancient epics and deities. For example, the Sumerian epic Gilgamesh and the Old Iranian divinity Ahura Mazda). A perfect example of this is "Gilgames" with its pummeling sound akin to that of a charging army.
The main difference between Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
and its predecessors Theogonia
is that Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
lacks clear cut standouts, but is consistent in a mesmerizing fashion. It doesn’t have a "Keravnos Kivernitos", "He, The Aethyr" or a "Noctis Era" on it, but it’s actually all the better for it. Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
’s songs are all of equally excellent quality and function as a stalwart body of work that hits the listener with full force. The record is wholly memorable, from the shamanic beginnings of "In Yumen-Xibalba" to the stomping culmination of "666", meaning its replay value should be, by all accounts, immense. Arguably, the best cut on the album is the title track, where frontman Sakis Tolis spits his lyrics like venom over hammering drums and relentless guitars, with folky melodies and crafty leadwork playing over the chaotic wall of sound. The song (and the album as a whole) shows Rotting Christ at their best, executing such controlled chaos that puts them over the top.
Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
isn’t as scintillating as Theogonia
was, nor is it as groundbreaking as Thy Mighty Contract
, but it is a perfect representation of what Rotting Christ was, is and will be as a band. It is a career defining record that exhibits everything that makes them who they are. From the melodies and chants that have a unique Greek feel to them to Sakis Tolis' idiosyncratic, barked vocals, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
is an album that is simultaneously a great starting point and a definite fan pleaser. It isn’t for everyone, as Rotting Christ’s formula generally stays the same from song to song, but for those who appreciate Tolis’ style of songwriting, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
is bound to be a very gratifying experience. The album name translated into English means "according to one's inner demons" and the logic behind it is similar to Crowley’s "thou what you wilt", but with a Greek twist. It is a symbolic title, because it represents not only this album, but the Rotting Christ of today in general: Sakis Tolis writes the band’s music in accordance with his own personal beliefs and standards, isolating himself from the general public’s opinion, meaning the band’s sound isn’t going to radically change, but only become more refined. Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
backs up this claim, because it is a marvelous, supremely consistent album that wears the Rotting Christ stamp on it, further cementing the legacy of Greece’s leading metal power.