Review Summary: Very reminiscent of its predecessor, Sleep of the Angels is a highly atmospheric gothic metal album suitable for this time of the year.
Rotting Christ is one of those bands that beat the odds by a margin throughout their career. Hailing from Greece, they released their first LP in 1993 playing black metal with an emphasis on epic atmosphere with a few slower passages. Nevertheless, through the years they moved from their early roots by fusing their sound with doom and gothic metal elements. After all, following the success of Paradise Lost, numerous bands were influenced by them and after Draconian Times
the Brits ruled the world of metal for a brief time.
Fast forward to 1997 and Rotting Christ had released their most mainstream album at the time, A Dead Poem
. Straying far away from their black metal days, the album relied heavily on midtempo compositions and a gloomy atmosphere.
Sleep of the Angels
is in a nutshell the natural evolution of its predecessor and a product of its time. Having only one track that can be classified as black metal (“The World Made End”), the album revolves around memorable guitar riffs combined with distinctive screechy or whispering vocals. In addition, the music can be described as gothic metal with very sparse black metal outbreaks. All in all, Sleep of the Angels
is a highly atmospheric album that musically is close to Samael, Moonspell and Tiamat. There are numerous epic moments and melodic passages and it flows very naturally throughout its 41 minutes.
On the other hand, the album cannot be characterized as a progress regarding the band’s sound and while the music is very well written and performed, it’s mostly a repeat of A Dead Poem
. In addition, the fact that the song structure is more or less the same over much of the album, it might lead some to feel that Sleep of the Angels
is a bit flat.
All things considered, Rotting Christ’s fifth release is definitely worth a listen especially during the fall and winter seasons due to the atmosphere it conveys. Those who enjoyed A Dead Poem
are almost bound to like this one as well while it can also serve as a smooth introduction to the band’s catalogue for those who aren’t very familiar with black metal.