Rotting Christ: Aealo

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By MetalGeorge Pacheco

Very rarely do bands with as much storied history as Greece’s Rotting Christ lend themselves to roaring comebacks and reaffirmations. Instead, most of their core audiences are left with failed stylistic experiments and half-baked rehashes to keep them company in mourning misery for their favorite bands.

Indeed, few instances lend themselves to the shadowed glory and musty majesty of Rotting Christ’s Aealo; a triumphant slice of dark metal redemption which is as vital as any piece of the band’s catalog. Bold words? Perhaps, but multiple listens to Aealo—skepticism goggles firmly attached—proves that some bands just have it, with the venerable Greek black metal institution firmly ensconced in the “holy shit, they’re BACK” camp.

Of course, it isn’t as if Rotting Christ went anywhere particularly dangerous in recent years—albums such as 2004’s Sanctus Diavolos and 2007’s Theogonia weren’t exactly slouches—but Aealo simply evokes so many…rad memories of the band’s prime, early period, that it becomes difficult for the listener not to raise his or her fist and praise Zeus himself for this mighty metal offering.

What’s most intriguing about Aealo is how well it’s suited for repeated listening. The album is a grower of sorts, and the best possible kind; the songwriting of guitarist/vocalist Sakis Tolis is a truly dazzling display to behold. Extensive female choral accompaniment joins said songwriting, with the goddess Diamanda Galas herself joining the band on a cover of her classic “Orders From The Dead”. Meanwhile, the inimitable Rotting Christ riff/melody style is on full blast here, overcoming a quirky production to grasp the listener firmly, and without mercy.

Aealo is the best Rotting Christ album since Triarchy of the Lost Lovers. Dive deep, and discover for yourself

(Seasons of Mist)

Rating: 9.0

Aealo will be released in North America via Season Of Mist on February 23, 2009

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.