Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Sakis's talents develop - 87%

newengland7, January 11th, 2020

I had not listened to this album in a while so I finally decided to refresh my memory of it the other day. I remembered it being worse than it actually was but I was incorrect. This is still not as good as Theogonia but I feel that Sakis's talents still begin to develop more on this album than on Theogonia. He has done pretty much all of the songwriting for the band as well as most of the instruments (except drums and bass on this album). Still, he puts together a solid, folk-inspired, heart-thumping, black metal onslaught mixed with a pure blend of paganism.

The guitar-work on Theogonia was already brilliant so it would have been hard to top off but Sakis put together something that was beautifully comparable. The tremolo picking is harsh and dark, the power-chord riffs are edgy, and Sakis even threw in some djent riffs on this album ("...Pir Threontai"). The solo on "Daimonon Vrosis" (Anglicized spelling) has smooth legato as it transitions through the notes and follows a more traditional style. The addition of the guitar riffs to Diamanda Galas's "Orders From the Dead" adds an additional layer of darkness and doom to a recording that was originally a capella.

Themis still has it with the drums. He provides a fine rhythm to the more mellow songs on the album such as "Daimonon Vrosis", "Orders From the Dead", and "Thou on the Cross". But his blast-beat drumming remains strong and adds kick to the more up-tempo songs such as "Aealo", "Fire, Death, and Fear", and "Santa Muerte". Themis, I feel, really sets the tempo for his brother Sakis on most of their works that I've heard. When a song's tempo is going to have some more speed to it, he provides a blast-beat pace, and when the tempo is slower, he lowers his own pace. But overall, it feels more as if the tempo is being dictated by Themis and not by Sakis. This is a good thing because a drummer is supposed to set the tempo.

I really love the additional folk influences that Rotting Christ takes on. This one adds far more additional folk influence than Theogonia in some aspects. Theogonia was solid on the folk influences and gave a feeling that you were in a pagan temple, it had strong chanting moments akin to religious music, but the folk influence stopped there. Aealo is more of a war-chant album. It brings out the battle cry from the start. It places you back in the temple in times of peace and back to the battlefield for war. Overall, the folk influence is stronger in that instead of being present in the atmosphere, it comes to fruition through the music. What's even more impressive is that rather than the implementation of a classical instrument to bring about the folk influence, they rely on their own melodies that they have created and the choral vocals that are present throughout the album.

Still, Sakis's vocals are not the most gifted of black metal musicians. It would be preferable if his vocals were either a higher-pitch but instead, it is more of a low guttural. The moaning on "Thou Art Lord" is incredibly irritating. A guest musician was brought on for vocals in that so I don't think the blame there is on Sakis. It is clear that his vocals have improved from Theogonia, but he still sounds like he is coughing up that cat he swallowed. If he had only provided instrumental backing to "Orders From the Dead", that song would be the highlight of this album. Instead, he throws in something that sounds more like vomiting. Rotting Christ really has to figure out their issues with vocals.

Aealo is not quite an improvement on the direction they took with Theogonia but it shows that Sakis really has some talent, especially when it comes to guitar works. He has proven he can perform just about any riff style that he is asked to do on demand. He has also brought djent to black metal. That said, the intensity that Theogonia brought was not surpassed by Aealo. Aealo was a much lighter album compared with Theogonia and did not satisfy the taste for a darker setting. It still was a great listen but Rotting Christ has formally set the bar fairly high for themselves.