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This is it, the new Rotting Christ "Theogonia". I managed to hear the song "Enuma Elish" when it was posted prior to the albums release and to be honest, I was quite disappointed. It sounded weird, and devoid of real melody and structure.
But I still decided to check the complete album out, since Rotting Christ is my favourite band, and it totally blew me away.
When I pressed play, "The Sign of Prime Creation" (a welcome nod back to the early days) started with Sakis chanting a Greek verse and BAM! - my ears were graced with an opening riff that could only be done by Rotting Christ. It sounded at least as excellent as the early albums! It instantly reminded me of The Mighty Contract/Triarchy of the Lost Lovers, which are my two favourite RC records. Sakis' vocals lost all effects and were as vicious and instantly memorable as ever. Themis' drumming sounded way more oldschool than in the last 5 albums and still added new things to the mix.
I was already on the edge of my seat and full of joy after "The Sign..." slowly faded out of my speakers..until the fade turned direction and BAM! - "Keravnos Kivernitos" bombarded me with the next oldschool Greek style riffage! At this time, I felt like I was commanded to bow to the almighty Rotting Christ and so I did!
But then I looked at the tracklist and saw that "Enuma Elish" was next. I didn't push the skip button though and decided to give it a chance. I listened to it a few times and I can say that my dislike for the song faded a bit - I still don't think it's a good song, but at least it's listenable.
After that little throwback "Gaia Tellus" came along with a damn good heavy riff, loaded with choirs and orchestrated parts, which fit surprisingly well. A damn catchy song, more in the vein of the recent Rotting Christ, but better. "Gaia Tellus" is also a song where the awesome production really shines. This is, along with Triarchy of the Lovers, the best produced RC album so far.
The next four tracks "Helios Hyperion", "Nemecic", "He, the Aethyr" and "Phobos' Synagogue" show increased technical prowess (especially the great "He, the Aethyr") and some very unusual, yet very interesting oriental influences (especially in the lead guitars). Sakis' vocal presence ranges from his typical raspy growl style to a few spoken word passages and clean choir singing while always being highly memorable. These 4 songs sound like the continuation and evolution of "Sanctus Diavolos". At least as, and at times even more experimental, but never as disjointed or direction-less that some of the previous album's songs were.
"Rege Diabolicus" is another fantastic nod back to oldschool Rotting Christ, especially the chorus has Thy Mighty Contract written all over it. It's just too damn short (2:52). The album closes with "Threnody" which is again very much influenced by the eastern orient. Chants, very strange lead guitar melodies but an overall amount of catchiness, so you won't forget a bit of the song after a few listens.
Memorability is the defining word on this record. "Theogonia" is a very complex album, but it comes equipped with enough hooks to make it a catchy, tasty package of great songs. I wish the album would have developed a bit more on the strength and amazing tremolo-melodies of the first two songs, because they are some of the best Rotting Christ songs ever, but "Theogonia" is still a consistent and strong album - in fact, in the opinion of this reviewer, their best since Triarchy of the Lost Lovers.
I recommend this to any fan of extreme metal and to fans of old and new Rotting Christ, because there is something for everyone. I can't wait to hear these songs live!
The Sign of Prime Creation
He, the Aethyr