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Released by Osmose Productions in 1993, the ΑΠΟΚΑΘΗΛΩΣΙΣ E.P. was one of the recordings that bridged the gap between Passage to Arcturo and Thy Mighty Contract. The style is quite similar to what would be found on Rotting Christ's debut album, though the overall sound possesses more rough edges.
"Visions of the Dead Lovers" starts this 7" out, showing a more developed sense of songwriting and a level of skill on par with that of Thy Mighty Contract. This one song demonstrates that the band had, undoubtedly, found their identity by this point. This track features a lot of faster riffs, implementing the staccato riffing that would become the band's trademark. This is aided by pummeling drumming and an epic guitar solo. A song like this was more than enough to show the world that the Hellenic black metal scene was worth taking notice of.
The re-recorded version of "The Mystical Meeting" flows much more naturally than the one on Passage to Arcturo, as much a result of the production as of the actual playing, itself. The mix was off, on the original, with the drums being far too high and distracting from everything else that was going on. Here, the song is able to be appreciated in its intended form and one can detect the increased confidence with which the band executed this track.
Only containing two tracks, ΑΠΟΚΑΘΗΛΩΣΙΣ would hardly be considered essential, by most yet the quality of the material demands your attention and proves to be quite worthy of the time and effort to track down. Thankfully, for those that do not desire to obtain the original, these songs are available on the reissue of the band's first L.P.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com
ΑΠΟΚΑΘΗΛΩΣΙΣ, or Apokathelosis, was another of those obscure and limited run 7" releases bridging the gap between the seminal Rotting Christ EP Passage to Arcturo and their first proper full-length Thy Might Contract. Like Dawn of the Iconoclast the year before, it consists of only two tracks totalling another 8 minutes, and at least one of the songs, "The Mystical Meeting" is available elsewhere (to be technical, both are available elsewhere). But I'm sure that most of us agree: it's best to hear such works in their original skins, their primitive glory (or lack thereof), and thus the charisma of ΑΠΟΚΑΘΗΛΩΣΙΣ is most thoroughly experienced by tracking down this rarity, borrowing, downloading, or whatever it takes to get your hands on it.
Compared to the tracks on Dawn of the Iconoclast, Apokathelosis seems a work of some refinement. The guitars still pummel along with a raw, muted fervor, but you can clearly hear that this is the Rotting Christ most will come to identify with from 1993-1997, Thy Mighty Contract through A Dead Poem. "Visions of the Dead Lovers" is threaded with an ethereal synthesizer line that creates an angelic against the fibrous, melodic momentum, while the bloodcurdling bark of Sakis Tolis is unmistakable. They also go for that mid-paced bridge that will prove a recurring motif through the first five full-length albums. "The Mystical Meeting" is slightly different, opening with a straight thrash chug that reminds me of S.O.D. or Sacred Reich aside from the rasped vocals. This is closer to the material of their Sataneus Tedeum demo from 1989, but once the opening sequence develops, the band throws in the keyboards, winding doom riffs and cleaner, narrative vocals that give it a comparable appeal to the work of Passage to Arcturo and Thy Mighty Contract.
These are cool songs, and they offer a ghastly glimpse of Greek distinction against the black metal spawning elsewhere in Europe, but again, it's mostly a vinyl collector's lovechild with very little substantial weight. Sitting in a crypt-like basement in 1993, spinning this on your phonograph while snorting some blow or sipping absinthe paints pretty much the perfect picture of deviance, so the nostalgic value is obvious, but it's not necessarily the first direction I'd point any newcomer to this band in.
The two songs on this release seem to be quite unknown to metalheads, even to Rotting Christ fans. It's no miracle though, since "Visions of the Dead Lovers" and "Mystical Meeting" never appeared on any Rotting Christ full-length.
I'm still wondering why. "Visions of the Dead Lovers" would definitely be worthy of being on "Thy Mighty Contract. it's a very fast, tremolo picked and melody driven song with nice drumming and great use of vocals and keys. Concerning the overall sound, it would have fit very well (of course the production is worse, since this is more or less a demo recording, but it would've been rerecorded anyway).
"The Mystical Meeting" harks back to Rotting Christ's earliest days and could very well be on "Sathanas Tedeum". It has the raw, oldschool death metal feel, even though some of the black metal melodies and riffing shine through in parts of the song. There is a spoken passage with distinct, melodic riffing in the middle of the song which even reminds me of their 1994 album "Non Serviam". Still, these are the only steps in Black Metal territory on "The Mystical Meeting".
If you are a fan of the Greek metal scene and don't know this one yet, check it out. It’s definitely worth your time.