Rotting Christ – Aealo (Season of Mist)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

You know the underground is getting old when we start hearing about 20-year anniversaries, which just happened for the always-mighty Rotting Christ. The Greeks have remained a fixture in the underground metal scene for practically the entire time, even when they were getting the cold shoulder during their Sleep of the Angels era. That’s all in the rear-view now, as Sakis and co. roll out another exotic sonic spell in the form of Aealo.

Taking cues from 2007’s essential TheogeniaAealo (which is the Greek transcription of “catastrophe”) injects the usual exotic and ethnic flavour the band has always been so fond of. The pre-requisite chanted vocals (from both Sakis and a variety of female singers) is initially a tough sell, especially when up against the militant riffing of “Demonon Vrosis,” but RC is able to get settled and comfortable by the time the sweeping melodic work of “Dub-Sag-Ta-Ke” and album highlight “Fire, Death and Fear” take form.

As unconventional as Rotting Christ sounds (Sakis has to have one of more “unique” cadences in all of metal), there’s an awful lot to latch onto, namely the dynamic “Eon Aenaos,” or the Alan A. Nemtheanga (Primordial)-led “Thou Art Lord.” Both songs benefit from the band’s knifing melodic guitar work, as well as bristling tempos. Heck, even legendary avant-garde songstress Diamonda Galas gets in on the act during a version of her own “Orders From the Dead,” another worthy jam.

A European underground metal institution if there ever was one, Rotting Christ has yet to peak. Frankly, the band is always just this close to its hallmark album, although some will jostle for the halcyon black metal daze of Thy Mighty Contract or the methodical, song-oriented near-brilliance of A Dead Poem. We’ll vouch for ALL eras of Rotting Christ, who have delivered once again with Aealo. A mandatory band, if there ever was one.

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