Rotting Christ - Aealo
Season Of Mist
Dark Metal
11 songs (50'05")
Release year: 2010
Rotting Christ, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

In what seems like an eternity ago, Century Media had a separate black metal division they called Century Black. My, how the times have changed just looking at the Century Media roster today … Way back in 1997 Century Black released a sampler, called Firestarter, which brought together Emperor, Old Man’s Child, Satyricon, Tiamat, Borknagar, Arcturus, Samael and others. (I proudly own it as a piece of history.) Greeks Rotting Christ also graced Firestarter, duly occupying their spot among other influential black metal entities of mid-90s. Many of the bands on that compilation evolved beyond recognition, many are no longer in existence, but if Rotting Christ teaches us anything with Aealo, it is that some bands continue to remain relevant, no matter their age or style evolution.

Their 2007 effort Theogonia not becoming a one-off attempt at resurrection after what can be considered somewhat of a mid-life crisis, Aealo reconfirms Rotting Christ moving further away from their black metal origin, yet further reconnecting with their Hellenic roots. Dedicated to the life and struggles of a warrior, without turning orchestral-symphonic or sickly-sweet gothic, Rotting Christ managed to carry a militaristic feeling throughout Aealo, the whole album constantly exhaling strength and conviction. Crushing riffs non-stop, Themis Tolis destroying his drums, Rotting Christ unfold unspeakable, both vibrant and vibrating, heaviness (…Pir Threontai). Even if slightly mechanistic, the pounding and the rhythms never feel lifeless and industrial. Instead, they come off completely human, the sounds of well-schooled phalanx or legion going into battle (Eon Aenaos).

Rotting Christ warriors coming to us from the deep and dark corners of history, Aealo often takes on the primal, ancient feeling with prehistoric hunters getting all psyched up to chase their prey. Demonon Vrosis starts with olden incantations, unleashes the definite crowd riser of a riff (talk about power here) and constantly twists the tension to grow ever higher. The life of primeval warrior was about superstition and praying at the altar of the unknown god, the bringer of darkness and impending doom (dub-sag-ta-ke). That life was also celebrated by his family, where women cried, sending their sons, brothers and husbands to battle (Aealo, Nekron Iahes), as female choir so aptly represents. And, ultimately, this life was also connected to the warrior’s native land, the realm he protected to the very end. In that light, longtime leader Sakis Tolis provides a number of crisp, most definitely authentic, Hellenic, melodies to flow together with some native instrumentation (Noctis Era, dub-sag-ta-ke and Pir Threontai).

To close the album, Rotting Christ capitalizes on the collaboration which was absolutely meant to be, and is particularly fitting with the Aealo theme. The band does the cover of Diamanda Galas’ Orders from the Dead, her tribute to victims of genocide, with the Greek-American enchantress doing her own vocals. Her voice is obviously not a pretty paint-by-numbers soprano, but, instead, a hysteric, shamanic, speaking in tongues prayer, the Greek voodoo woman, inconsolable, her hair mottled, speaking on behalf of those laying in their graves. A powerful ending to the overpowering album.

Aealo is an album, where there are no tracks to skip. Not a one continuous story, it is nevertheless thematic, it makes you want to understand the concept and the lyrics behind it. Stepping further outside the confines of the genre, Rotting Christ prove their individualistic path forward, bringing them close in spirit to Primordial, who also explore the darker arts in connection to how these mysteries are perceived in their native land. (Alan A. Nemtheanga contributes vocals on Aealo).

Dave Mustaine once refused to share the stage with Rotting Christ, due to the band’s moniker. It is his loss, as Aealo certainly shows a monolithic unit with enough power in it to re-energize many a band, something any sagging veteran collective could use.

Killing Songs :
Eon Aenaos, Demonon Vrosis, dub-sag-ta-ke, Pir Threontai
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Rotting Christ that we have reviewed:
Rotting Christ - Rituals reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
Rotting Christ - Thy Mighty Contract reviewed by Tony and quoted 93 / 100
Rotting Christ - Theogonia reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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