Saturday, 4 May 2013

#273 Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy

Once again, my apologies for taking so long between reviews at the moment; I'm almost in a position where I can write them every couple of days again, but until that time, I suppose I can merely write them when I get the chance. Today is one of those chances, so I've decided to review the newest Rotting Christ album, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy, the 2013 follow-up from 2010's Aealo. I would have reviewed the record a few months ago when it initially came out, but I decided to wait my time and listen to more of the bands records, to gain a better perspective. I have done so, and deeply enjoyed it, and now I feel I can finally write a review.

Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy translates into English as "True to His Own Spirit", which is something the band exemplify extremely well; There are no bands out there who sound quite like Rotting Christ, and indeed the band themselves manage to create a fresh record each time, while at the same time sounding familiar. Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy is no exception, and brings forward the musical directions explored in Aealo and Theogonia, while at the same time succeeding in sounding different. Aealo sounded dramatic, indeed, apocalyptic, while this record exudes a calm, collected grandiosity; there are relatively few of the wailing, Hellenic female choir elements present, and instead the music feels stripped back; the atmospheric, churning guitar playing feels more pronounced, and quite reminiscent of the bands earlier work, such as a personal favorite of mine, Non Servaim. It is, in fact, hard to find a Rotting Christ album which isn't a little reminiscent of every other Rotting Christ album, albeit not in a negative sense; idiosyncrasies in guitar playing, particularly, have stayed present through the bands discography, an iron rod of consistency. Likewise, the guitar tone on the album feels reassuringly true to the bands previous works, which is certainly one of the secrets to the band's unique atmosphere, frankly one of my favorite aspects of the work. Songs like the opening track "In Yumen - Xibalba" are vastly immersing, with a deep, austere atmosphere which draws the listener along the cold, stone floor of some ancient temple; oil burning lamps flicker, casting undulating shadows, and ethereal voices make themselves heard.

As with the previous couple of albums, Rotting Christ really go to town with folk instruments and guest musicians, and the additional-credits for the album are formidable with regards to other musicians who lent their abilities to the record; notably bagpipes, choir singers, pianists, and others. What results is an incredibly thick layer of embellishment over the guitar-and-drum core of the record; often, however attentively you attempt to listen, you're still uncertain if your ears are actually managing to pick up everything which is going on, with the sounds layered luxuriantly  with extremely generous depth and richness - it's something which I've always trusted in the band to do well, and this time is no exception. I've seen a few reviews for the record which proclaim the atmosphere to push the guitar work to one side, spoiling it slightly, but I have to disagree; the guitars feel more prominent in this than in much of Aealo, which is a record I also thoroughly enjoyed anyway. Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy seems to carry a perfectly pronounced heart of metal, and the guitars feel plentiful and distinct, with memorable lead sections and riffs alike. Perhaps the atmospheric moments can at times be the crowning features of songs, but nonetheless, I think it's perhaps hasty and unwise to consider them to spoil the guitar work itself. Nonetheless  it's safe to say that this album, and Rotting Christ in general, are about more than just the conventional metal instrumentation. One of my favorite atmospheric aspects of the record is the immense lower-end, particularly noticeable in tracks like "Gilgames". Beneath the instantly tangible guitar work hides a deep, almost mythological roar, adding a thick and extremely monumental air to the music; I'm not sure whether it's synth, or merely the bass tone, but either way, it really adds something to the music.

I'm really not sure if I've done a good job of reviewing this record or not; there are a lot of elements which, while I know I enjoy them a lot, I likewise struggle to put into words. Nonetheless, I thoroughly recommend this album to anyone with more than a slight interest in metal, and can safely say that Rotting Christ have proudly maintained their status as one of the most consistent and solid acts in the entirety of extreme metal.

This is a splendid 9/10.

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