KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY
Season Of Mist
01 March 2013
by Tom Dare
For all the black metal bands happy to stand still, there are those resolved to change with every album, to never repeat themselves and constantly give you something new. That doesn’t always guarantee quality – evolution comes with both higher risks and potentially higher rewards. Rotting Christ are a classic example.
It’s clear from the outset of KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY (a title which apparently translates to “do what thou wilt”) that, while far from their best work, Rotting Christ’s previous album AEALO was an important step in their evolution. The move from the philosophical atmospheric savagery that characterised their mid-00s work into more primal, tribal, epic savagery was building to this point, and AEALO was a necessary stepping stone.
‘In Yumen / Xibalba‘ opens with chasmic, portentous doom before that trademark Sakis Tolis riffage – a style that, while vaguely in the black metal sphere, is so powerfully melodic and distinct that it’s proven inimitable. Then, at the exact point you think an unusual start is morphing into a very good but fairly typical RC work, the eerie tribalism starts.
Lacing the work are unsettling, prophetically dark chants, either deep male voices or, occasionally (as on the evil, piano-led dissonance of ‘Cine Iubeste Si Lasa‘), Oracle-like female keening that deliberately make you uncomfortable. These are the most obvious signs of palatable oddness of …DAIMONA…, the claustrophobic, brilliant guitar solo in the title track that you think is about to do one thing before doing something totally different being another.
There’s a creeping malevolence to this outing that’s unnerving, and it marries expertly with Rotting Christ’s recent chest-beating, air-punching modus operandi. The things they do at their best – riffs that you can hum immediately while still sounding furious as hell, and Themis Tolis’ drumming that sounds like the kit insulted his mother, he’s hitting it so hard – are all there in lashings. The ability to make black metal immediately accessible without compromising to fucking anyone, and in a way no one else can do, litter KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY.
Watch another awful lyric-video, this time for ‘In Yumen / Xibalba’ by Rotting Christ:
There is the one minor quibble, and it’s an odd one. The best song on the album (‘Welcome To Hel‘ – and no, it’s not a Venom cover) is the bonus track for the special editions. Why it’s not opening the album, setting up the oddness to come, is baffling. Get that version, not the one that finishes on ‘666‘ (that’s brilliant too, but ‘Welcome To Hel‘ is better) as it makes a big, big difference.
KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY is melodic, accessible, fucking vicious, fist-pumping, rifftastic, epic, dark, fucked up in a way you’re not quite expecting and more fun than any black metal record I’ve heard in two-and-a-half years.
Do not beware Greeks bearing riffs. Unless you’re Dave Mustaine.
5/6 (or 5.5/6 for the version with the bonus track – yes, it’s that good)
Sounds like: Angela Merkel’s worst fucking nightmare.
Stand-out tracks: In Yumen / Xibalba, Cine Iubeste Si Lasa, 666 (and Welcome To Hel).