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Rotting Christ could have integrated female vocals in their music better than this. For Aealo the band tried in extremely short bursts and for very specific purposes, but they also tried doing it for entire songs. These women they got sound like Greek Yoko Onos going "Kyaaaheaeaahahaaaah yeaaahaaayyyyyy" and it makes me disappointed in the band and this album. It's so god damn annoying hearing a phenomenal riff killing it, and then these women show up and annoy the piss out of me. Oh yeah, you have to open up with the nauseating "yeaaaahayayyyyy" and make it awkward and uncomfortable from the get-go.
The title track is one thing... "Fire Death And Fear" (with even more use of these awful female vocals) is another, but what the FUCK is with the finale and "Nekron Iahes..."? They make a nearly 9-minute finale with another singer - a cover of her own song - and it bombs. Appalling structuring, poor development, pitiful melodies, out-of-place as all hell, and boring - on a Rotting Christ album. As awful as that lengthy waste of time was, "Nekron Iahes..." is the worst thing that's been put to Rotting Christ's name that I've ever heard. Holy shit, it's just the female vocals for over a minute going, "Aahayyyahahyyy hahyyayayayh hayyyeeeyaaahyh haayy" throughout the whole thing. Were they trying to sound spiritual or exotic or something? It added nothing, ruined the flow, damaged the album's intensity, and sounded corny and awkward.
If these female vocals were removed from this album (that means the final track and "Nekron Iahes..." altogether), then this would be a boss album - at least a great follow up to Theogonia. Rotting Christ got full of themselves and went overboard, creating a pompous album. Disregarding the female vocals, the band did churn out some fantastic music. Expect a continuation of Theogonia's sound: modern production, pounding drums, mammoth-sounding rhythms, warlike attitude, epic atmosphere, and riffs with leads charging with fervor. It's another solid slab of black metal that's larger-than-life, ferocious, and teeming with passion in the right places.
Not counting the female sections, which rarely add some kind of elegant atmosphere (the leads or keys could have done the same job even better), Aealo marks another strong Rotting Christ marathon of opening tracks. The title track's turbulent riffing, "Eon Aenaos" harmonious zeal, and the devastating riff assaults of "Noctis Era" draw the listener further and further into an early bliss. No matter how disappointing this album can be, those Rotting Christ harmonies are still as well-written and fresh as they come. "Demonon Vrosis" and "Santa Muerte" are the two tracks that offer the most in terms of grand atmosphere, passionate harmonies, and rupturing riffs. "Demonon Vrosis"' is the classy, climax-building giant while "Santa Muerte" is the darker, faster, and somber song that turns into a chuggernaut with the outro - pertinent, ardent, and insanely catchy. Even the female vocals barely add something here - although I could have done without the sound effect screams (think the cheesy Wilhelm scream).
Rotting Christ's rhythm section has seen more action than the gothic days, and they aren't letting their spotlight go to waste. Themis' rolling pounds, tribal-percussion cadence, and severe hammering on his tangy kit keep this album moving forward and energized every time. The fat bass has the same immense lasting power that it had on Theogonia, and while it may not do more than support the guitars, it can at least do that perfectly. Their sustainment means Sakis has no problems of being left alone. His coarse growls, cut-up screams, and chant / low cleans are well off doing what they do best.
Aealo has too much going for it when it should have literally copied what Theogonia did. There's no shame in that, but the need for experimentation led to pomposity. The band itself has their game together, but the things that got tacked on kill the momentum. Trim the fat, and this could be one of Rotting Christ's better albums. It has all the characteristics to be another Theogonia, but it tried to top it. Let this be a lesson for the band, and hopefully one that they learn from.
Continuing at the same rate, Rotting Christ's new release "Aealo" is their 10th full-length and things seem to be working good with this Greek metal band.
The fact that Rotting Christ is one of the pioneers, not only in Greece but also worldwide, gives those guys some kind of a "Green Light" to try new things in their music and as did so many other "Black" metal bands, Rotting Christ is no longer a black metal band, their music becomes so commercial, but still so unique and so Rotting Christ.
The album opener "Aealo" starts with female vocals followed by mid-speed drums, and continues almost without any changes till the end, the thing is the song is beautiful though some may find it boring, but the good use of the sound effects, the short lyric lines and the background guitars combined with the same mid-speed drums, all these factors give the song its unique sound.
Good guitar solos can be found in the album, but the problem is, they are short, not really noticed, and the band seems to be stuck to the same female vocals in the album. The drums are not always mid-speed, they vary between slow and fast drums, but what remain the same throughout the album are the guitar riffs, almost the same riffs are used in each song, if not the same, they're too similar.
Generally the album has a problem, which is, you can't tell for sure when a song starts and when another ends, all the songs seem to be similar.
The album succeeded in creating the Greek atmosphere, making you imagine getting back in time for 4000 years but it's absolutely not the album of the year.
When I got this album from a friend of mine I had some doubts about this album. Since I do know the band Rotting Christ, but I'm not very familiar with all of their works. And from what I do know of them, I don't really like everything from this band, a few good releases, but also a few wich were really boring to me.
Now about this album:
The albums starts with the first track called 'Aealo'. This track starts with traditional Greek vocals, performed by a few women. Then after a few seconds the guitars and drums kick in, and these vocals keep on going for about half a minute. But fair enough, not a bad start, as soon as the guitars and drums kicked in, an awesome riff came marching through the speakers.
The rest of the tracks are very good, very good guitar riffs and very melodic too. The vocals are OK. They're not that extreme, but certainly not just raw, nor clean. There is only one song on this album wich I really hated, it's the 10th track called 'Orders From the Dead.' And that is because it starts of with some woman talking about that the world is coming to and end, etcetera, etcetera. Well, for a few seconds this is okay, but she keeps on going the entire fucking song! And bah! Her voice is so annoying! The only difference is that there are a few, yes, just a few, guitar riffs passing by. And they're not that great either. So, yeah. This song sucked in my opinion, and as I listen this album more often, I skip that track always straight away.
About the production of this album:
The production is very clear, but what is a shame in my opinion, is that the production is a bit 'powerless.' The recordings are very trebled, and high-piched. So what I really missed on this album was the bass to hit me straight in the face. I think that if this album had more 'sound' and power, that it would be like a kick in your face like your head got seperated from your torso.
Overall this is a very good release, the only bad things what I have to say about this album are the final track, and the production wich could have been a lot better in my opinion.
If I had to recommend a track of this album I would probably recommend the songs 'Demonon Vrosis' and 'Thou Art Lord'.
Anyone who’s anyone should know a thing or three about this here ROTTING CHRIST band. These stalwart Greeks, espousing all that is Luciferian since the Deathlike Silence days, have been on a weird little stylistic roller coaster through the Nineties, and these days they seem plenty adept at bridging the corpse-painted madness of “Thy Mighty Contract” with the gothic tendencies of “A Dead Poem” with the greatest of ease. Thus has been their way of life for the past few albums, so when it comes to their latest, will Sakis and his merry horde of madmen continue their upward trend?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Well, it certainly starts out in a much different manner…lady-types emitting ritualistic war chants? And then the metal hits…but this time, the anti-religious carnage is coming at you in a different direction. Rather than the somewhat disjointed blackened virulence of old, this album comes at the listener like a streamlined and at times militarized way, a strange combination of mid-paced melodic death riffs, Sakis’ unmistakable growls, ethereal synth work, wicked soloing, a backdrop of tribal-sounding chants and goose-stepping, sorta plasticy drumming that start out altogether but end up careening out of control as the song progresses. This is a side of ROTTING CHRIST I’d not seen before, but it’s my own fault for not following these guys on their stylistic evolution lo these many years…I feel that if I’d done so this might not be as much of a culture shock as it is. Still, there’s a strange, quite necessary approach to the music, where the group comes together in an almost jovial way (confounding, since this style has always seemed to consider itself very serious), and the likes of “Eon Aenaus”, “Dub-Sag-Ta-Ke” and “Thou Art Lord” (GREAT name drop title) create the musical equivalent of a bunch of jungle-dwelling rebels singing hymns of their eventual victory against the infidels around a fire at night. Trippy, to say the least, yet still enjoyable.
So in the end I was pretty thrown for a loop by this here “Aealo” album. It took a while to get into due to its weirdness, but for those who want a little twist of strangeness with their metal, this should help quell those sensations.
First thing I would like to say in this review is this: Have Rotting Christ really been around for twenty years? I mean, I remember listening to one of their first demos with a friend of mine and not being too impressed. From that listen some fifteen odd years ago to now - the band I am currently listening to is worlds apart and musically superior to what my first impression was in my teens. Since that time, every time I have seen something about them or someone has offered to let me listen to one of their past offerings, I have respectfully declined. My bad.
I have had my first real sonic conversion.
Here’s the deal - the last time I listened to Rotting Christ, they were still a grindcore band. So imagine my surprise when I received my copy of their latest release expecting a more advanced and complex version of the demo I had heard so long ago, and hear what is essentially the Greek equivalent to Scandinavian Viking metal. Let's just say I think I like this incarnation of the band the best. In fact, the music has been downright inspiring for me in that I've written a short story to it inspired by the music. In one word, this album is phenomenal.
Like a haunting voice from the distant past, Aeolo calls forth, begging for you listen to their cries of hatred, fear and pain. I personally enjoy it when a band from non-English speaking countries sing in their native language (or in this case, they are not necessarily the ones singing in Greek, but the intent is there). It’s made even more enjoyable when they throw their culture into the mix adding their signature to the album. It helps me to come up with mental images which are indicative of far away places I would enjoy going to, and hopefully will be able to afford to go to one day.
The album’s title track, “Aeolo” is the first in a string of eleven tracks that will transport you to a time when Mt. Olympus ruled and the world was a much smaller place to be. According to both Metal Archives and the band’s website/MySpace pages, “'Aeolo' is the transcription of an ancient Greek word into the Latin alphabet. It means thrashing, catastrophe or destruction and reflects the musical and lyrical content of the album.” I’m 100% sure that there is no better way to describe the overall vibe of this album. The pace is kept up over the course of the album and never relents, never disappointing.
Throughout various tracks on the album, you hear an almost eerie female chorus backing the vocals provided by the band. This helps to beef up the album to a perfection that many bands struggle for and rarely achieve. It’s utilized more as an accompanying instrument than vocals, adding more to each song’s musical “beef” so to speak, than being vocals for the albums themes.
The two tracks “Necron lahes...” and “...Pir Therontai” create a musical suite that blends both an a cappella track of the female choir elements that are found woven throughout the album. Pairing it with a full song that has whom I am assuming is the guys from the band chanting to create a two-song arc in which each part blends seamlessly with the other. They create a “one from two” feeling that will amaze the listener and helps to establish this album as the first solid release of the year. I am even tempted to say this is possibly a contender for top ten lists later in the year, but seeing that it is only February, my mind could possibly change as more albums come out. “…Pir Therontai” contains a mix of male chanting and more traditional male vocals provided by guest vocalist Magus of Greek black metallers Necromantia. This track picks right up from “Necron lahes…” and barrages you with very heavy, very catchy drums and bass beats. Good song to play at a bon fire to get everyone dancing and cavorting.
The song, "Thou Art Lord" is voiced by Nemetheana of Primordial. His vocals are uncanily reminicent of Type O Negative vocalist, Peter Steele. This adds to the more primal nature of the album, making it highly stirring music worthy of praise given to scripture in past eons.
The final track I would like to mention is “Orders From the Dead” a cover of avantgarde musician Diamanda Galás. At least musically, this is probably the slowest on the album. If you aren’t seething with some form of hate towards humanity in general by the time this track is over, you are already dead and feel nothing anyways. This features Galás doing vocals. This is an incredibly powerful song with very powerful images, the music doubling the intensity of emotion that the lyrics paint for the listener. Diamanda’s vocals are very captivating accompanied by the band on their normal instruments, which are very toned down and are as close to acoustic as you can get without being acoustic.
That final track, taken into consideration with the album’s entirety, creates an album that is both captivating, yet contains that repulsive element many bands that are anti-Christian make their careers on.
by Kesh Butler, contributor from Metal Psalter Webzine
One of things I admire most about Greek black metal champions Rotting Christ is that, though they may have evolved at numerous points throughout their career, they never abandon the subtleties that have defined each stage. In listening through their 10th full length AEALO, one can hear equal parts Thy Mighty Contract, A Dead Poem and Sleep of the Angels, though most of the guitar work more closely resembles the mechanical, fast-paced immediacy of their more recent records Theogonia and Sanctus Diavolos. The band have spared no expensive this time to heighten the mood and atmosphere of their musical laments through the use of a traditional vocal choir and numerous guest vocalists, including Magus of Necromantia, Nemtheanga of Primordial, and even a recording of Diamanda Galas herself (on the band's cover of her "Orders from the Dead").
The title track "AEALO" strikes quickly through a forceful use of the choir over some faster paced, black riffing that fragments mid-stride into a flowing, majestic melody that would not have felt out of place on Triarchy of the Lost Lovers. The track is thoroughly captivating, though it always seems to hang you at some precipice where you expect some extremely glorious riff to arrive, and it never does. "Eon Aenaos" keeps the choir to a dull minimal which rings out along the verse and bridge riff, as the spritely guitars evoke national nostalgia for war-filled glades and one could easily close one's eyes and imagine oneself, as a bacchanae tearing at flesh in seductive rage. "Demonon Vrosis" is another track that recollects the Triarchy/Dead Poem years, with the added benefit of a female vocal that adds transient atmosphere. This was easily one of my favorites, ripe for replacement via the thunderous death groove that anchors the intro to "Noctis Era". I enjoyed the manly choir that subtly counterpoints some of the melodic chugging in the verse, and when the track opens up it's difficult to not grab a mug and start swinging it.
"Dub-sag-ta-ke" meshes traditional, flowing strings with a series of percussive guitars spoken through both mutes and chords, soon joined in the lush female chorals that so escalate the album's beauty. "Fire Death and Fear" feels similar, only with a focus on more bludgeoning, simplistic guitar mutes that are haunted by subtler choirs. "Nekron lahes..." is a brief vocal piece which leads the band into the drop hammering "...pir Threontai", with an excellent dual stream of razor melodes careening through the build in the drums and chugs towards an illustrious bridge movement. "Thou Art Lord" is amazing, making full use of various layers of vocals to craft a morose and powerful tribute seethed in regret. "Santa Muerte" is the wildest and grooviest of the tracks, but I didn't care for the chug so much. "Orders from the Dead" is given the Rotting injection, mainly through atmospheric guitars that hover below Galas' sick narrative, an interesting finale for the album. A collaboration between this band and this songstress seems such a natural fit, that I'm surprised it has taken this long for them to appear together, even in this form.
Rotting Christ have kept themselves relevant yet again, and I am personally excited to hear Greek bands like this and Kawir so loyal to the rich history of their land. Aealo will not be foreign to any fan of the band's prior work, but it carries with it a subtle re-invention due largely to the extensive use of the guest vocalists. This is not the best album in their catalog, and the band has not yet arrived at the level of 'black metal Plato' which we all know they could and should, but the songs are compelling and original enough to kill 50 minutes.
Highlights: Demonon Vrosis, Dub-sag-ta-ke, ...pir Threontai, Thou Art Lord
What can I say about one of the oldest Goth/Black metal acts ever that can’t already be said? I mean come on, who in the metal world hasn’t at least heard the name “Rotting Christ”, not only because they’re respectable musicians, but also because their name is controversial. Rotting Christ, circa 1987, has had many realms to their music, starting as Grind, moving to black metal, and finally situating in Melodic Black Metal with a Goth side-dish on their platter. Whatever, lets continue…
AEALO – Basically deriving its name from a Greek word meaning warrior – is a highly emotional piece of work. I do feel much pain in Sakis’ lyrics this time around, almost as much as A Dead Poem felt to me even. This album is a concept of what a warrior goes through in battle, which is very philosophical. When I first heard the album, I had gotten a leak of it through a friend who searches for this sort of thing. I will say that the album started out more intense as they have ever sounded, almost back to their oldschool Black metal stuff. It was really fast paced, often having a polka feel to the drums, and having the melodic, yet crunchy guitars that Rotting Christ so makes their own.
When the first poetic verse starts, AEALO screams vengeance from its fiery throat, and you feel anger. The album though, does slow and it does get very sappy towards the middle. It slows down and does many Greek folk melodies – having drum beats and female choir vocals. “Nekron Iashes…” is a complete folk song, and it hits the slow part of the album, but the album does take a dark twist talking about what a warrior goes through and his slow decent into insanity and depravity. The thing that I didn’t like about the album is that they really didn’t expound. All they did was get you amped – then let you kinda fall into a depression, and didn’t leave you on any sort of note other then “well you’re dead, life’s shit, you die”. It was a twist of emotions that I was not expecting.
The guitar work is a lot more theoretical and technical this time through, unlike Theogonia, which was very base guitar work. This album explores the artist’s abilities a lot, especially Sakis’ guitar solos. I will say that this album is on par with Sanctus Diavolos when it comes to high paced, melodic solos that never stop.
Rotting Christ have explored many types of philosophical, emotional and religious elements, but nobody, not even them, have explored the slow spiral of insanity that a warrior goes through in battle. Basically the album follows the same theme as Cradle of Filth’s Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder, in the way that it shows a fresh warrior who slowly turns toward darkness, and finally dies. I do apologize for the comparison, but it’s the only one I can think of right now.
You know, there’s not much to say about the instrumental, or vocal aspects to this album. Yeah, it’s a new album. Yeah, it’s interesting, but it’s still Rotting Christ – through and through. They’ve always got that sound to them that they will never change now that they have their niche. I will say that it was interesting to see a lot of the songs have folk stuff to them, which IS out of their sound, but still when the simplistic riffs come in, and the drums follow a similar pattern, and Sakis’ growl kicks in, you know its going to be another Rotting Christ album.
Another thing that peaked my interest was that Sakis has changed his style of singing slightly. Instead of focusing on high end screams and a raspy voice so known to him, he tried back end vocals, focusing more on growling and melodicly screaming most of the time. It was a pleasant change, but still – Rotting Christ.
Overall, I will say this album is memorable, especially since the philosophy behind the album has never been done. Highlights include AEALO, Noctis Era, Fire Death and Fear, Pir Threnotai, and Thou Art Lord. I recommend you stay away from the cover on the song, because it’s boring and drawn out till they curbstomped it a couple of times too many…American History X style.
Many of the songs sound similar (as always), but the album is good, and it’s great to see that a class act black metal band still has it in them.