Rotting Christ - _Theogonia_
(Season of Mist, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (8.5 out of 10)
For nothing other than a sheer inability to find the appropriate words to describe their often dizzyingly intricate and complex material, it hasn't been easy reviewing a Rotting Christ record of late -- particularly not after the blinding results of their last two trips to the studio. The imaginative artistry behind 2004's _Sanctus Diavolos_ only served to highlight the shame behind their continued obscurity. Yet by the same token, their headstrong attitude and abject refusal to drop their Wallmart-unfriendly moniker in favour of something more commercially palatable has ensured that they remain an inspired tipple to be enjoyed by a select crowd, lending them an air of exclusivity that adds to their appeal.

That debate aside, there's little arguing the importance of Rotting Christ's musical legacy. They delivered three of black metal's most enduring and unique offerings, before giving melodic metal a kick in the pants nearly a decade before it even needed one, and then coming full circle by fusing their passion for both. In that respect, little has changed on _Theogonia_, despite the heavier reliance on guitars and blast-beats on "The Sign of Prime Creation" and "Keravnos Kivernitos" indicating otherwise.

These serve simply as the opening flurries in an assault on the senses that quite literally runs the gauntlet of Rotting Christ's past and sows ample seeds for its future. Along the way, you'll encounter choirs, strings, female vocals, keyboards, folk and classical influences, to name but a few. Yet rather than hurl them at the listener in a single convoluted amalgam, the band pick their spots like true masters of their craft, ensuring that by the time the album grounds to a halt the highlights number well into double digit territory.


(article published 28/1/2007)

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