Rotting Christ

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Satanas Tedeum

Rotting Christ - Satanas Tedeum ©1989 Unisound
1. The Hills Of The Crucifixion
2. The Feast Of The Grand Whore
3. The Nereid Of Esgalduin
4. Restoration Of The Infernal Kingdom
5. The Sixth Communion

Rotting Christ's 1989 demo, Satanas Tedeum, finds the Greek outfit in a stew of primordial muck. Their sound at the time was rooted in the burgeoning death metal scene, but gained a new element with the usage of some keyboards. However, unlike some of the death metal of the time, Rotting Christ wasn't terribly worried about intricate song arrangements, using a slow, basic doomy approach mixed with fast paced rumbling. None of the material is particularly fantastic or earthshaking, but it represented a step forward in the band's development. The production is decent for a demo affair. The guitars could use some more impact, but otherwise it's better than many demos I've heard. Unisound reissued the demo on CD in 1994, while another label spat out a vinyl version in 2006. Satanas Tedeum is most certainly only for those who must have everything by the band, as the music still has an "Under Construction" sign placed out front.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2008

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Passage To Arcturo

Rotting Christ - Passage To Arcturo ©1991 Unisound
1. Intro - Ach-Golgotha (The Old Coffin Spirit)
2. The Forest Of N Gai
3. The Mystical Meeting (Dog Spleh Esoth Levlesmeth)
4. Gloria De Domino Inferni
5. Inside The Eye Of Algend
6. Feast Of The Grand Whore
7. The Forest Of N Gai

In the earlier days of Rotting Christ's career, the band still retained a lot of the unpolished death metal sound. Passage to Arcturo does feature hints at a grander musical vision in the keyboard arrangements, intelligent rhythm and bass lines and reasonably well played doom-death metal. It is in fact the keyboard arrangements that separate the band from many of their peers at the time. Possibly the closest of their peers would be early Tiamat or Therion, as those bands displayed an interest in adding atmospherics to the music. Overall Passage to Arcturo doesn't really stand out a whole lot. For what it is, the album is decent but it isn't the type of thing that really demands much replay time or interest on my part. Proceed directly to later Rotting Christ albums.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1999

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Thy Mighty Contract

Rotting Christ - Thy Mighty Contract ©1993 Century Media
1. The Sign Of Evil Existence
2. Transform All Suffering Into Plagues
3. Fgmenth, Thy Gift
4. Dive The Deepest Abyss
5. Exiled Archangels
6. His Sleeping Majesty
7. The Forest Of N Gai
8. The Fourth Knight Of Revelation
9. Visions Of The Dead Lover
10. The Mystical Meeting

Hailed by many as the band's finest hour, I am not quite so apt to agree with that assessment of Thy Mighty Contract. Having heard nearly all of Rotting Christ's work up to date - but not quite all - I can safely say that whether they are playing their current dark gray metal or this earlier hybrid between black and death metal, Rotting Christ is still a second tier band that is good and/or competent, but not great. The main troubles I have with Thy Mighty Contract is the actual production. The drums often seemed unconnected to the rest of the music while the guitars are mixed just at the point where it robs them of any viable power. With the songwriting just being that typical second tier "good but not great", it can make the album something I don't want to sit through very often. On the plus side, the band does try to vary things up quite a bit with decent tempo changes and throwing in subtle keyboard parts. While some will always bemoan the band's progress, at least in the future they were able to smooth some of the rough spots out a bit.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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Non Serviam

Rotting Christ - Non Serviam ©1994 Unisound
1. The Fifth Illusion
2. Wolfera The Chacal
3. Non Serviam
4. Morallity Of A Dark Age
5. Where Mortals Have No Pride
6. Fethroesforia (Instrumental)
7. Mephesis Of Black Crystal
8. Ice Shaped God
9. Saturn Unlock Avey's Son

As is the case with a lot of metal bands, Rotting Christ essentially shoots their entire musical load on the opening track of the album and shows their entire arsenal at once. While not necessarily bad, Non Serviam is the type of disc that bogs down and begs the listener to find something more exciting to listen to by the time the fifth track rolls around. This record has some interesting song ideas, such as the very minute touches of synth to add an eerie atmosphere or relatively engaging guitar riffs. However, production robs the guitar of any real punch, while the drums are a monotonous, unrelenting assault that seldom steps out of pattern. At times you get a rat-a-tat machine gun sort of attack, but it gets rather dull quickly. The vocals are nothing special: typical rasp, scream and growl. But the songwriting tends to fail to really grip the listener. Sure, you might sit there during the title track and think, "My, that's a nice little guitar melody" or enjoy certain elements but the key to really great music is to give the songs a sense of movement and differentiate between tracks. Non Serviam could have easily been a three song single and gotten their entire point across rather than a full album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2000

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Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers

Rotting Christ - Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers ©1996 Century Media
1. King Of A Stellar War
2. A Dynasty From The Ice
3. Archon
4. Snowing Still
5. Shadows Follow
6. One With The Forest
7. Diastric Alchemy
8. The Opposite Bank
9. The First Field Of The Battle

To the best of my knowledge, Triarchy of the Lost Lovers began Rotting Christ's venture into their more contemporary sound. Essentially the album is one of those that offers nothing earth-shattering or adventurous; rather it is a journey into moderately dark heavy metal with an atmospheric/gloomy edge. Emphasis is placed on mood as conveyed through the slow to midpaced rhythms and guitar riffs designed to create a feeling of quiet darkness. Without fail Rotting Christ is an enjoyable listen. The album has a very consistent smooth flow throughout, a distinct signature and good songs. Perhaps the only real throwback to their earlier material is in the rasped vocals that definitely show black metal roots. For classification and lumping purposes, fans of Samael, Alastis, newer Sentenced and other similarly dark acts can pick up any of the past three Rotting Christ albums and find them pleasing.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1999

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A Dead Poem

Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem ©1997 Century Media
CD one:
1. Sorrowful Farewell
2. Among Two Storms
3. A Dead Poem
4. Out Of Spirits
5. As If By Magic
6. Full Colour Is The Night
7. Semigod
8. Ten Miles High
9. Between Times
10. Ira Incensus
CD two:
1. Sentenced--Shadegrown
2. Old Man's Child--The Millenium King
3. Moonspell--Ruin & Misery
4. Sacramentum--Dreamdeath
5. Alastis--Of Darkness
6. Sundown--19
7. Samael--Rain
8. Vasaria--Luna
9. Rotting Christ--A Sorrowful Farewell
10. Orphaned Land--Of Tempation Born
11. Borknagar--The Quest
12. Tiamat--Atlantis As A Lover
13. Lacuna Coil--Shallow End
14. Ulver--Wolf & Passion
15. Unleashed--Ragnarök
16. The Gathering--Nighttime Birds

With a band moniker that conjures images of buck-toothed pudgey teenagers attempting to make angry death metal noise in their basement, Rotting Christ is one of those maturing bands who have outgrown their original name long ago. From what I understand, they used to be pretty harsh back in the day, but now they're mostly pretty. Musically that is. That statement in no way reflects the band photo.

Anyhoo, in the time-honored tradition of list making, it's now the point where I write up a list of influences and reference points for this album. On A Dead Poem, Rotting Christ reminds me of a) Amok-era Sentenced b) Samael's progression into a hybrid black metal that uses atmospherics (which the rest of us call keyboards) and c) a band that is nicely working their way up the ladder. To be honest, I avoided Rotting Christ in the past due to that silly band name but I'm glad to catch up with them. "Among Two Storms", "Full Colour is the Night", and the title track are all good examples of wisely using strong heavy metal riffs, rasped vocals, subtle keyboards, and nicely paced percussion to make good music. While R.C. may not be the top shelf brand of a.m. (that's my new acronym for atmospheric metal), they're strong contenders for the future.

The best reason to buy the Rotting Christ CD is that Century Media was kind enough to donate this nearly 80 minute long sampler CD of some of their more extreme and heavy bands as part of a 2-CD for the cost of one package. Nice subtle marketing plan. None of the tracks here are necessarily unreleased or rare, but it does give one a good overview of the CM (that's the acronym for Century Media, for those schooled in America) roster. I was quite pleased to hear Sundown (the offshoot of Cemetary that also includes ex-Tiamat members), Borknagar (though a track with Garm would have been preferable over the instrumental) and the Lacuna Coil track. Some of the disappointing songs were Ulver's badly produced inclusion and Unleashed...however, anything by the latter band tends to put me off. Neat little bonus CD, though, for those who need some CM schoolhousing.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1998

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Sleep Of The Angels

Rotting Christ - Sleep Of The Angels ©1999 Century Media
1. Cold Colours
2. After Dark I Feel
3. Victoriatus
4. Der Perfekte Traum
5. You My Flesh
6. The World Made End
7. Sleep The Sleep Of Angels
8. Delusions
9. Imaginary Zone
10. Thine Is The Kingdom
11. Moonlight

Resuming the path started on Triarchy of the Lost Lovers, Greece's Rotting Christ show just a mild sort of improvement and honing of a sound with Sleep of the Angels. To make a long story short, if you liked their last album, you will certainly find this one to be very much worth your time. Rotting Christ focuses again on symphonics and a modern romantic doom sound reminiscient of Alastis, current Samael and even a hint of Rammstein. There are moments where vocalist/guitarist Sakis sounds similar to Moonspell's vocalist in Wolfheart era. The simple riffing is very effective within the structure of the style, a lot of large sounding chords and subtle picking. Moreover, this approach mixed with the subtle but alluring lush keyboards is very successful in translating a mood and feel. Sleep of the Angels on a whole is a very nicely sequenced and unified package. A good step up from A Dead Poem and recommended to fans of atmospheric metal.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/1999

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Review #2:

Not being very familiar with Rotting Christ's past production, save for a couple of unimpressive tracks on Century Media's Identity samplers (get them all: a cheap - $2 apiece - introduction to this excellent label's artists, with the odd rarity every once in a while), I expected little from this $4 copy picked up almost by accident. If nothing else, I liked the band's name, and the artwork was pretty enough. While this album will certainly not trigger passionate tirades (except maybe from "metal fans," a curiously antagonistic, undereducated and tasteless breed), it is a very competent piece of European post-black/thrash metal (by that I mean that they retain some of the hoarse vocals and lyrical themes of these two genres, but add in melodies, slower tempos and a generally more interesting twist on the whole aggressive-metal school of playing. They often sound awfully similar to Amok-era Sentenced, and the occasional clear low vocals are straight out of Moonspell's Irreligious (both bands on Century Media's payroll, hmmm). Omniproducer Waldemar Sorychta plays some guitar on the album (but does not produce, which is a shame, as the mix and engineering are rather flat). One song is in German, an odd choice for a Greek band, but the teutonic vibe is oddly fitting (I've always wondered why so few metal bands use German lyrics). Recommended, especially if you find a copy for under $8.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 10/1999

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Khronos

Rotting Christ - Khronos ©2000 Century Media
1. Thou Art Blind
2. If It Ends Tomorrow
3. My Sacred Path
4. Aeternatus
5. Art Of Sin
6. Lucifer Over London
7. Law Of The Serpent
8. You Are I
9. Khronos
10. Fateless
11. Time Stands Still
12. Glory Of Sadness

Here we are, now four albums deep into Rotting Christ's shift into a more atmospheric, darker form of metal and the band has finally gotten to the point of hopeless redundacy with their music. After many attempts to sit through this album in one sitting, I've nearly given up. Khronos has the unenviable ability to cause the listener to immediately start sifting through his/her collection in order to find something much more enthralling to hear.

Khronos comes across as though the band listened to far too many of the extreme metal fans who called them such names as "wimps" and "sellouts" on their last pair of studio albums and as a result, Khronos seemingly attempts to bridge the sound found on 1993's Thy Mighty Contract with their more modern sound. This attempt makes for an album that chugs along, has all sorts of snarly, growly vocals and big ol' guitars, but the band seems to have forgotten to write songs that are worth hearing more than a couple times. The album, produced by Peter Tägtgren, goes for the wall of sound but comes across more as a waist high picket fence of sound. The keyboards are lost somewhat underneath the guitars and everything swirls around, but nothing really catches your ear. The material just lacks fire and inspiration. It could be argued that it does sound okay to the ear, but it certainly won't get points for being memorable. Khronos simply comes across as the most forced and unenthused record in Rotting Christ's discography.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2001

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Aealo

Rotting Christ - Aealo ©2010 Season of Mist
1. Aealo
2. Eon Aenaos
3. Demon's Food
4. Noctis Era
5. Dub-Sag-Ta-Ke
6. Fire Death and Fear
7. Nekron Lahes
8. ...Pir Threontai
9. Thou Art Lord
10. Santa Muerte
11. Orders From the Dead

One should at least admire Rotting Christ for having stuck around for over twenty years and mostly sticking to their collective guns. While it's been nearly a decade since I really gave this band more than a cursory listen, I have to admit I've been surprised that they keep churning out album after album. To a large degree their releases since the dawn of the 21st century have been consistently slightly above average, though far from mind blowing. The band did flirt for a little while with goth-metal elements, but thankfully they did not follow the ill advised footsteps of Moonspell and eventually reverted back to their hybrid dark death/black metal sound that has permeated their output for most of their existence. Unlike the vast majority of bands, I can actually hear a snippet of a Rotting Christ song and identify them fairly quickly. Most bands fail to achieve that sort of ability to differentiate themselves.

Aealo is their 2010 release and much like the albums that preceded it, Rotting Christ sticks to their sound they reestablished after the flirtation with gothic elements in the late 90s and early 00s. The songs tend to have faster paced tempos, beats that fall just a hair short of blasts, and a reasonable amount of melodic feeling in the guitar leads and riffs. The band adds in the now standard "folk" elements in "Dub-Sag-Ta-Ke", though they manage to incorporate it in convincing enough fashion. Rotting Christ, throughout their existence, has been able to offer songs that do bear hearing once in awhile and Aealo does manage to contain a few of those. To some degree, this album feels like they looked back at their post Thy Might Contract career and concentrated on the highlights throughout. As a result, Aealo is an above average album that no doubt will appeal to any longtime fan of the band. Rotting Christ still hasn't quite done what it takes to elevate themselves to top notch status in the metal world, but their longevity can still be admired.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2012

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