Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Mourning and war

The new Rotting Christ album named Aealo is about to take the world by storm, so these are some of my thoughts after my first encounter with it.
First of all, under a strict black metal view, I still like Theogonia much more that the new LP. So, to approach  the album as the mere sequel of that beast would be a great mistake and one would lose the much more pluralistic microcosmos of Aealo.
The signs were evident though in Theogonia, which was influenced by greek traditional music without falling into the ridiculous folk metal territory. Aealo is much more immersed in traditional music without losing its own soul and hard edge. An album that starts with the line 'Χάρε πάρε με και κάψε με' (rough translation 'take me death, and burn me') chanted by the female polyphonic group 'Pleiades', cannot fail. The polyphonic chants are dominant on the record. Basically mourning chants that are blended with the martial feeling of the album very well. The theme that runs through Aealo is war and the feelings it provokes to a warrior. I'm not fond of that kind of themes but I can settle with a work of artistic competency as this one, even if the lyrical content is not to my liking. Besides, the lyrics are not the shallow, idiotic, pseudo-heroic crap we came to expect by metal bands talking about war.
Other than that, all the trademark parts of the band are there. Especially the characteristic guitar riffs and melodic leads as well as the vocals...all are in top form here. I mentioned on the previews post that I'm a stubborn bastard that prefers Rotting Christ as a strict black metal band. I'm really gland though, that they created this excellent work of art. Someone should show the world how it should be done. Recommendations.

Among the many appearances of guest musicians, two are those that are dominant and give a different aura to Aealo. First the female polyphonic group Pleiades (pictured above), that participates on most of the songs. Πλειαδες were formed in 2006 aiming to contribute to the diffusion of the Greek-speaking folk polyphonic singing of the region of Epirus. Folk  Polyphony  has old roots, according to some researchers primitive ones; it is found in few areas all over the world and is based on the variation of the melodic expression lines of the members of the polyphonic group. The musical base of folk polyphony is the five-tone scales without semitones.  Through different ways of evolution and influences, folk polyphony is found in Epirus, South Albania, South Italy, Corsica, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovakia, South Poland, Ethiopia, Georgia, North Pakistan, north foothills of Himalayas, Indonesia and Taiwan.
The second guest contribution that marks Aealo is of course Diamanda Galas'. Here we have a reworking of 'Orders from the Dead', from her 'Defixiones, Will and Testament' album. Rotting Christ have added their music behind her narration, creating a mournful song, a μοιρολόι of highest quality. Diamanda Galas' voice allways sends shivers down the spine. Just feel...
Π'ανάθεμά σε Διαμάντα Γκαλάς...μέλι και σκουλήκια κρύβεις στο λαρύγγι σου.