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Ah yes, Greek black metal. Some of the most unique stuff you'll find out there when it comes to black metal is the stuff that comes from Greece. Thou Art Lord, Varathron, and of course, the infamous Rotting Christ. These guys are truly beastly, without a shadow of a doubt. For a while, I was completely unaware that the Greek black metal scene even existed. I was used to the corpse-paint, blast beats and shrieking of the Norwegians and Swedes. When I first heard Rotting Christ, they were quite phenomenal. They didn't sound like the typical Gorgoroth or Dark Funeral impersonator, in fact in many ways they were a hell of a lot better. But I'm going to stop performing fellatio on the band and talk about the damn album.
Theogonia was the first Rotting Christ album I heard, and it blew me away. The band incorporates many folk and gothic metal elements into their music while still retaining their black metal sound. They do it quite well, and they definitely put bands like Moonspell to shame. The production here is excellent, mainly because of the guitar and drum tones. The drums blast and pound away without losing its brutality or technicality. The drum tone only adds to the brutality and accents the drummer's talent. I've never heard a drum tone that sounded better than Litany by Vader, but this one comes quite close.
The guitars aren't as treble oriented as Sanctus Diavolos, and they don't create as much of an atmosphere, but the sound of the guitars definitely shines despite all of that. One some songs they have a tone that wouldn't sound out of place on a death metal record, like Enuma Elish. On other songs, like Nemecic, they sound more folk metal oriented and add to the rest of the instruments that you'd hear on that song. Nothing sounds out of place nor are any instruments buried under the others. Even the bass is surprisingly audible on this record, especially on songs like Keravnos Kivernitos.
Finally, the vocals are excellent. Don't expect your typical Gaahl or Dani Filth shriek on this record despite its black metal leanings. Sakis is one of the most unique vocalists in extreme metal, and nobody sounds anything like him. His signature raspy vocals are highlighted throughout this album along with some added vocals from the folk metal elements of the record. As I said before, nothing is out of place or odd about the arrangements of this album.
I'd definitely recommend this album to anyone who is interested in the Greek side of black metal, along with Sanctus Diavolos. Obviously this album isn't perfect, but it certainly comes close and is one of the best albums these guys have released.