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Greece is a small country and doesn’t have many well known metal bands. Still, we the Greeks are known for our love over metal music. A band that made a good name in the name scene is Rotting Christ. Although they were labeled under the tag of black metal, with their fourth album called A Dead Poem they made a small turn. This release is miles ahead than anything other bands from Greece have to show. It has nothing to do with the Greek sound, production or local metal compositions. A Dead Poem is an incredible album that sounds so interesting, dynamic and exciting from the first moment to the last. All the songs have something different to offer and are equally worthy. Guitarist Sakis delivers some great riffs and gets most of the credits since most of the work has been done by him. But no smaller is the contribution and help of Xy(from Samael) who has done an amazing job in the crystal production and the divine keyboards playing that not only fills the blanks in the sound but give the proper attention to the atmosphere.
To be more specific, A Dead Poem has ten great songs with beautiful riffs that cause addiction to the listener, a powerful rhythm section and vocals that make you get into the song to the core. The tracks move in mid-tempo paces, featuring fast parts and even fewer breaks. But they all are heavy, strong, passionate and angry. They sound like a mixture of early Rotting Christ and Sentenced as they sounded in Amok album. The difference is that A Dead Poem is fuller and better. Rotting Christ break the narrow limits of black metal by experimenting with the structure of the songs.
My personal favorites are many. The opener Sorrowfull Farewell makes an explosive beginning with sharp steady guitars and harsh vocals; it is the perfect intro to the atmosphere you experience throughout the whole album. The self-titled has a calm beginning that slowly mutates into a metal thunder not fast but extremely heavy. Semigod is a very dark song with an imposing black metal attitude. It is really superb. The vocals are obviously well improved and clearer to understand.
I would also like to stand for a while on the last song by the title of Ira Incensus. It creates a unique, mystifying atmosphere revealing an experimental masterpiece and an example of how black metal bands need to work in order to improve and not stick to the monotonous black stuff we hear most of the time. The rest of the songs are of great quality and inspiration and do not fall behind from the hymns foretold. Each one is small hidden treasure.
Really extreme, dark and wildly beautiful, A Dark Poem enslaves you with its compositions and feeling. Now I can only ask myself, is the word “dead” suitable for an album like this? HELL NO!!