Rotting Christ

Interview: Rotting Christ’s quest for ancient knowledge

Rotting Christ: Kata Ton Daimona EaytoyRotting Christ: Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Season of Mist, 3/5/13)

“In Yumen / Xibalba”

Rotting Christ: “In Yumen / Xibalba”

Of the 11 songs on the latest Rotting Christ release, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy, it’s the one that opens with a fluttering piano and the spellbinding voice of Souzana Vougioukli that band leader Sakis Tolis “want(s) to believe is the darkest.” Vougioukli and her sister Eleni — a globetrotting world-music duo — hold the reins on “Cine iubeşte şi lasă” for more than two tense minutes before the Grecian black-metal veterans swarm for an ominous march through Romanian folklore. By the end of the song — a reworked traditional piece based on a Transylvanian curse — the collaborators have come together like a fiery black mass.


The Metal Examiner: Arkan’s Salam

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

Arkan: SalamArkan: Salam (Season of Mist, 4/18/11)

Arkan: “Origins”

[audio:|titles=Arkan, “Origins”]

Despite some great successes, aspirations to incorporate “world” music into metal has also managed to sink countless bands along the way. Ambition and intention aside, most efforts came off as gimmicky or, even worse, just plain silly.

French melodic-death-metal outfit Arkan showed that it was the real deal with its 2008 debut, Hilal, by delivering on the promise of a more Eastern brand of metal — one not just splashed with Arabian and Occidental influences but fully fused with them. Whereas some bands merely branch out into Eastern sounds, Arkan emerges with fully planted roots. Hilal was not perfect, but the follow-up, Salam (Arabic for “peace”), picks up where its predecessor left off, smoothing out what rough edges existed and pushing the band’s sound to its limit.


The Metal Examiner: Augury’s Concealed

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

Augury: ConcealedAugury: Concealed (Sonic Unyon, 3/8/11)

Augury: “Alien Shores”

[audio:|titles=Augury: “Alien Shores”]

Though Quebec-based death-prog band Augury earned rave reviews in the metal press with its 2009 release, Fragmentary Evidence, its 2004 debut, Concealed, went largely unnoticed at the time, save for some devotees on the fringe. A reissue of that disc doesn’t lessen any of its original challenge, but it may well give fans of technical metal something new to cheer about.

Newcomers beware: Concealed is not an easy listen. The individual tracks (“songs” isn’t always the correct term; “sequences” may work better) live and die by their constant shifts, resulting in music that seems as difficult for a listener to follow as it is for the musician to play. Throw in Augury’s steadfast devotion to its tone and sonic aesthetics, and what begins as a promising suite can end up as a stream-of-consciousness barrage of sound. This is technical music that goes beyond technique — beyond mere “math rock” — into its own brand of astrophysical metal.