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The Sign of Prime Creation. - 97%

SadisticGratification, May 25th, 2013

With "Theogonia" Rotting Christ blesses us with their unique brand of black metal where supreme musicianship and experimentation take centre stage. Each track perfectly crafted with years of experience through changes within the musical ethos of the band and the brilliant cohesive relationship between brothers Sakis and Themis Tolis. "Theogonia" fuses the experimental gothic sound of "A Dead Poem" with the more primal aggressiveness of the bands earlier releases while surpassing anything the band has released before or after this record.

Rotting Christ has never given its listener a straight forward black metal experience even when the band was known for being more straight forward with its sound there was always more to this band than the average black metal band. Melody has always been prominent along with chanting and sampling within the tracks, all of which are to the fore of the sound of "Theogonia". This record urges its listener to hear the minor details within each track, whether that be the operatic "ahh" sample that permeates "He, the Aethyr" or the Greek folk melodies mashed into "Nemecic". Subsequent listens through this album reveals more and more detail each time. Each track feels different to it's predecessor no idea is reused too much nor does the album feel prolonged.

The vocal style employed by Sakis Tolis holds a lot of weight, it's raspy and aggressive. It doesn't sound raw but neither does it feel too produced, it packs the required punch to stand out in songs and while each word isn't understandable it is on the whole very decipherable. There are a lot of vocal styles heard throughout this record. For example in the track "Enuma Elish" the intro shows a more industrial style vocal style from Sakis. While the chorus features Arabic sounding wailing. Some vocal styles are sampled like the Arabic singing on "Enuma Elish" and the cult like chanting in the intro to "Threnody". But some of the more varied non black metal vocals are straight from the mouth of Sakis.

The production on this record is nothing short of superb. This is not a raw sounding record, each track feels like an epic orchestration, some might see this as a bad thing but I can't help but feel that all the sampling, layering and experimentation help bring this record alive. It is both heavy yet accessible, a bridge for fans of non extreme genres to sample the delights of extreme music while not compromising what made this band great. No instrument feels too clean, sanitised or over produced.

"Theogonia" is littered with so much listening pleasure that to pick any song out for praise is unfair to the album as a whole. One criticism that can be leveled at Rotting Christ is that each album contains too much filler but that criticism is not valid here. From start to finish this album is a pleasure to listen to. To any non extreme metal fans who may stumble on this review, give this album a chance. Listen to songs like "Nemecic", "He, the Aethyr" or "Threnody" to see how beautiful extreme metal can be.