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Losing Steam - 75%

OzzyApu, February 20th, 2012

Something about this album always seemed iffy to me. Maybe it was the bright cover art, or how most of the songs weren't instantly recognizable, or how it seemed like it molded between Khronos' blaring mysticism and Sanctus Diavolos' crushing grandiloquence. Something felt wrong when it shouldn't have, as Genesis is merely Rotting Christ's way of staying in one spot. Take the blissful harmonies, elated gothic atmosphere, some of the industrial influences, and don't have it recorded in Abyss Studios - you now have the substance of this album. That's the gist of it, really, and with Rotting Christ's straightforward classiness, that should mean another good album.

For much of Genesis, being good is very true. However, it also runs together as the band begins to feel too comfortable with using their formula of a catchy-yet-harsh rhythm, elegant harmonies, and a gothic polish to captivate the listener. This means the compositions themselves feel padded, like "Nightmare", despite it being ripe with functional structures, decent flow, powerful riffs, and a strong melodic backbone to carrier itself. The production isn't even at fault: booming bass, unbiased mixing, non-tocky drums, and a ragingly controlled guitar distortion come together to make a ferocious sound. It's tight, it's concise, and it's to the point. The ideas themselves (again, I mean the compositions) feel like they've been done too many times on the album. When hearing it enough times, it makes for a tiring experience, and one that leaves me preferring the tracks that are both fresh each time and catchier than the rest of their peers.

For example, the intro of "Ad Noctis" creates an atmosphere of dread and leaves me with anticipation. It then blasts immediately after the intro in typical black metal flavor (which this entire album attempts). Sakis' throaty screams / growls are all right, but a little uninspired (think Grutle Kjellson from Enslaved). Not to say that this represents his performance on the entire album, but it's an ingredient to any song's downfall, and it certainly represents more than this one song on the album. The black metal assault, for the sake of vigor, goes on but seems to wind down (you can even hear it in the riffs) and lose steam quickly. The song then does something Rotting Christ never actually experimented with on a full-length - tribal rhythms. As brief as they are, with the right structuring and flow, it could have created a very diverse and fascinating experience. However, in this particular song, it gets lost in the bluntness of depleted ideas.

For a Rotting Christ album, this is a pretty weak offering, but on a level of black / gothic metal it manages to keep itself together. Could this album have been trimmed down? Very much so, particularly the symphonic moments that Rotting Christ felt they needed to tack on. This problem is much more prevalent on the next album, Sanctus Diavolos, but here is where it begins to surface. Much like Greek cousins Septicflesh, Rotting Christ's go in the direction of more gloomy clean vocals ("Lex Talionis", "Quintessence", and "Nightmare" are the main ones) and symphonic influences ("Under The Name Of Legion" is the biggest offender).

On the plus side, Genesis does have its fair share of quality. "Quintessence", "Release Me", and "Dying" are all enjoyable with their pounding riffs, wavy harmonies, and general rhythm. They have a strong base to work with, and the band keeps them all short enough to maintain a piece of the melancholic passion during their late '90s era. For those three alone I'd recommend to check this album out, and for the sake of satisfaction this one definitely doesn't suck. It's just that Rotting Christ could do better - and they would.