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Barks a lot, bites a little - 68%

PETERG, March 23rd, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Season of Mist

Every time I listen to the news of an upcoming album from my homeland and especially from the genre of black metal, in which Greece has high standards, (ex.Rotting Christ, Agatus, Zemial, Naer Mataron etc.) I get really excited. And of course, when I heard that they were releasing a new record, I was celebrating... but only for a little. So I pretty much went on my own through the struggle of judging Rotting Christ for the first time not as a fan, not as a person who has seen them live 12 times, but as a normal metal head. Let me make myself clear: the only thing I wondered when I listened to "ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ" was how they were going to make something better than this. And to my sole experience with this new album they did not.

For starters the direction that the band has taken after "AEALO" gives the first impression of a less folk-oriented and more flat and straight sound, with the addition, however of some traditional vocals and the clear, emphasizing on the classic Rotting Christ riffs and song structure. This gave them the opportunity to relax and make their songs more focused on the plain side of black metal. And this is what this album is: plain minimal straight into your face -and sometimes flat black metal. Whether it will be the demolishing 3 minutes of blast beats on "Έλθε κύριε", the simple but outstanding "In Nomine De Nostri" or the mid tempo melodic songs like "Ze Nigmar" the result is outstanding; combine it with the enormous voice of Sakis who does what he knows better which is butchering every language his mouth touches-trademark of their sound- while at the same moment he embraces a more Maniac-style of voice. Last, but not least, what really surprised me is the ability of those guys to write guitar solos for another album in a row and when I say solos I do not mean the classic black metal solos, which pretty much sound as a badly tuned guitar, I am talking about solos with tapping and arpeggios. Bringing technicality to a naturally minimal genre is of course innovative and gives the listener not only a time to relax and appreciate the great musicianship that it's put here but also to make the songs both minimal and catchy at the same time.

Now you will say "what is wrong then with this album?". Time to answer, then: Nothing is wrong as a whole idea or musical composition. The only thing that really annoyed me when I heard the record was that at some point I felt the songs were somehow using the same formula. And this is the problem. I listened to the whole album and then I listened through the day all of the songs separated and I didn't get the same great feeling that I got in the first case. This surprisingly is not due to the concept of the album, but in the fact that some songs just cannot stand on their own like "For a Voice Like Thunder" or "Korn Om Pax". Thus making some songs really flat and sometimes even boring. There seems to be a development of their sound which on the first part simplifies things in a good way, but makes the songs repetitive after a while. On the other hand, I just cannot hold the candle to the whole lyrical theme of the album. Not only that the lyrics seem dull and convenient, but the idea of summoning Satan with 9 songs seems pretty unoriginal and gave me the impression that they didn't think to give this, already obsolete and old fashioned theme, a more philosophical or sophisticated approach. Moreover, this made even more prejudiced to the cover art. Where are the covers of demons and post-apocalyptic landscapes that we all love in RT albums? Why do I have to look for a black and white face along with the very generic Gothic letter pattern every time I pick this CD?

Overall, I think it is a good record and a nice expansion to the Rotting Christ discography. Don't get too excited though, it gets less and less interesting after a while.