20 June, 2013

Rotting Christ: Χ Ξ Σ (666) – new video & ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ – full album stream

The Tolis brothers had my house insurance agency seriously worried back in March, when their new album was continuously blasting away in nearly every occupied room. ‘Χ Ξ Σ (666)’, directed by Jon Simvonis and Aji Stone, comes off that ROTTING CHRIST album ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ (“Do What Thou Wilt”, Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), “Æon of Horus”), issued through Season Of Mist in March 2013. Produced by Sakis Tolis, with Jens Bogren helping with the mixing and mastering, ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eyatoy’ is available as a CD, double gatefold LP and as a digipak CD with the bonus track ‘Welcome to Hel’. All formats can be found here (Season Of Mist e-shop):
“An overarching, spine-chilling atmosphere binds the album - no matter its narrative or musical breadth. The songs may be more listener-friendly than in the past (at least, for fans of polished extreme metal that is), but a heavy emphasis on bone-drilling percussion and chanted vocals perfectly showcases ROTTING CHRIST's bombastically ritualistic side. The hair-raising whispered vocals and glutinous grind that opens the album, on ‘In Yumen / Xibalba’, sets a fittingly theatrical mood before diving into an operatic gallop, and that velocity and temperament doesn’t cease till the album's finale. … If ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ is defined by anything, it’s the chemistry between the brothers Tolis, and the recognition that the core of the song, and not the fripperies, is what matters most,” [wrote Craig Hayes, PopMatters – more here:]

Formed in 1987 in Athens, Greece by guitarist and vocalist Sakis Tolis, ROTTING CHRIST's sympathy with death metal & grind quickly gave way to their love for dark and violent black metal (in their own words: abyssic death metal); in 1989 they released their first demo, a 5-track affair called ‘Satanas Tedeum’. In 1991, the band released two EPs, ‘Passage To Arcturo’ and ‘Dawn Of Iconoclast’, and a split EP with Italians MONUMENTUM:
ROTTING CHRIST's debut full-length ‘Thy Mighty Contract’, out on Osmose Production in 1993, featured Sakis “Necromayhem” Tolis on guitar and vocals, George “Magus Wampyr Daoloth” Zaharopoulus on keyboards, Jim “Mutilator” Patsouris on bass and Themis “Necrosauron” Tolis on drums. The debut was reissued by Century Media in 1998, expanded with two bonus tracks. Following a war of words with Osmose Production, ROTTING CHRIST issued their second album, 1994's ‘Non Serviam’, through Dan Swanö's Unisound. Unavailable outside their home country until Season of Mist and The End Records reissued it in 2006, the album was eventually praised by music critics:
ROTTING CHRIST scored a six-album deal with Century Media and ‘Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers’, the band's third LP, was issued in 1996:
“ ‘Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers’ saw the Greek band turning their backs decisively on pedal-to-the-metal thrashing and embracing majestic, slower tempos instead. … And precisely because it represented such a break from black metal clichés, it’s no wonder that [the album] still stands as one of the most unique and consistent extreme metal albums of the 1990s,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
ROTTING CHRIST further “embraced their goth tendencies” on 1997's ‘Dead Poem’, “unquestionably one of their best collection of songs” (more here), a trend which continued on 1999's album ‘Sleep Of The Angels’, as “Greece's favorite sons decided it was time to revisit the ferocious brutality of their raw primordial origins” (Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here) with 2000's ‘Khronos’ (produced by Sakis Tolis in close collaboration with Peter Tägtgren. After a year and a half in retreat the band, now showcasing Sakis Tolis on guitar and vocals, Kostas Vassilakopoulos on guitar, Andreas Lagios on bass, Georgios Tolias on keyboards and Themis Tolis on drums, recorded their next longplayer with Andy Classen; 2002's ‘Genesis’ was describes as a “powerful album of putrid black metal” by Jason D. Taylor, AllMuisc (more here), similar to 2004's ‘Sanctus Diavolo’ which to Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic “felt like an outright ritual, an intricate black mass marked by lush, orchestrated layers of sound stacked into each and every song” (more here). ROTTING CHRIST switched to Season Of Mist prior to issuing their ninth full-length album ‘Theogonia’. In 2006, Season of Mist re-released the band's early material, ‘Passage To Arcturo’ and ‘Non Serviam’ and in 2007, ‘Theogonia’ followed:
“For a band whose name alone should have spelled a short and furtive career, ROTTING CHRIST have certainly defied the odds, and their ninth studio album actually finds Greece's esteemed metal institution approaching the conclusion of their second full decade of existence. … ROTTING CHRIST have become the (virtually) undisputed masters of midtempo extreme metal marches, which Sakis effortlessly augments with untold layers of sublime guitar harmonies and atmospheric synthesizers. On ‘Theogonia’, this winning template produces some of his finest creations since 1996's watershed ‘Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers’. The band is clearly also bent on exploring their Hellenic heritage like never before, with many subjects and lyrics sung in their native tongue, not to mention evident appropriations of Greek folk music scales,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here:]

‘Theogonia’ also introduced new guitarist Giorgos Bokos. And then, in 2010, came ‘Aealo’, featuring guest performances by Irish vocalist Alan A. Nemtheanga and Greek-American diva Diamanda Galas, as well as an epic introduction written by the label, Season Of Mist:
“The mountain range of Mount Olympus has been considered holy ground for ages past. There the ancient gods of Greece, among them Zeus, Ares and Aphrodite, were thought to gather in their palace of light. It is here that ROTTING CHRIST recorded their eleventh release ‘Aealo’ (in the renowned Lunatech Studios) close to the battlefield of Pydna, where the Roman legions ended first the supremacy of Macedonian kings in 168 BC and then famous military formation Phalanx. Historic ground and divine forces have obviously joined to inspire band leader Sakis Tolis to create his finest work so far,” [claimed the press release] Close your eyes and listen to ‘Aealo’. Soon the spirit of the past will rise. Witness Homer's heroes clad in golden armour performing mythical feats before the gates of mighty Troy. See that host of Greek freemen among them those 300 Spartans under king Leonidas holding out against a far superior force of Persian invaders. Feel the ground shake as Alexander the Great marches his victorious Macedonian phalanxes as far as India. Have your heart broken as the brutal Roman general Lucius Aemilius Paulus and his legionaries break into the ranks of the hoplites. It is those feelings that Sakis evokes within the concept of ‘Aealo’. It is the loneliness of a warrior, his raging anger, sad grief and final despair, which are captured in the atmosphere and essence of this album:”
ROTTING CHRIST features: Sakis Tolis – guitar and vocals and Themis Tolis – drums


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