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Rotting Christ - "Aealo" (CD)

Rotting Christ - "Aealo" CD cover image

"Aealo" track listing:

1. Aealo (3:40)
2. Eon Aenaos (3:57)
3. Demonon Vrosis (4:56)
4. Noctis Era (4:49)
5. Dub-Sag-Ta-Ke (2:57)
6. Fire, Death and Fear (4:34)
7. Nekron Iahes... (1:08)
8. ...Pir Threontai (4:48)
9. Thou Art Lord (4:51)
10. Santa Muerte (5:28)
11. Orders From The Dead (Diamanda Galas cover) (8:57)

Reviewed by on May 11, 2010

"While 'Aealo' may not top 2007's 'Theogonia,' it doesn't try to. 'Aealo' remains its own album with a unique identity that goes in directions that the band has not yet explored, while still staying true to their roots."

Rotting Christ is the gift that keeps on giving. Choosing not to rock the boat after their 2007 return to form, "Theogonia," Rotting Christ continue the same sound that gained them the attention of the underground in the mid-90's. Honestly, that's what makes Rotting Christ one of the most identifiable bands in the black metal scene.

Defining this album is Sakis Tolis' guitar playing. The man has his own unique style that's instantly recognizable, particularly with regards to his soloing. It's not particularly brutal or flashy, but it's both distinct and tasteful. Moreover, it's why Rotting Christ have their own special place in the black metal genre that none have dared to usurp, or at least that none have done successfully. The fact that Rotting Christ are able to relive the magic of an album like "Triarchy of the Lost Lovers" and still sound relevant today just proves how special this band has been to the metal scene for over 20 years.

"Aealo" differs from the standard formula that Rotting Christ has developed over the years by bringing in a number of collaborators. Whether it's someone expected, like Alan Averill of Primordial, avant-garde pianist Diamanda Galas covering one of her own songs alongside the band, or something far removed from the heavy metal genre, like a traditional Greek women's choir, Rotting Christ have found ways to expand their core sound without completely reinventing themselves. This leads to an album that should have the same broad appeal that Rotting Christ is known for that stretches beyond the traditional black metal fan base and should appeal to more casual listeners who may not be particularly attuned to extreme metal.

"Aealo" is everything that longtime fans of Rotting Christ could have hoped for. It's accessible, epic and tasteful in a way that only this Greek band is able to pull off. While "Aealo" may not top 2007's "Theogonia," it doesn't try to. "Aealo" remains its own album with a unique identity that goes in directions that the band has not yet explored, while still staying true to their roots. For those looking for a distinctive yet melodic black metal record this year, Rotting Christ are yet again the definitive choice for that niche.

Highs: Everything that makes Rotting Christ good in addition to new influences, Alan Averill's guest appearance, excellent solos

Lows: The Greek choir is an aquired taste

Bottom line: Rotting Christ's comeback continues and they continue to put out quality material after twenty years.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)