Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem review


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Band: Rotting Christ
Album: A Dead Poem
Release date: 1997

01. Sorrowfull Farewell
02. Among Two Storms
03. A Dead Poem
04. Out Of Spirits
05. As If By Magic
06. Full Colour Is The Night
07. Semigod
08. Ten Miles High
09. Between Times
10. Ira Incensus
11. Moonlight [bonus]

Despite the success of Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers in terms of sales and critical acclaim, Rotting Christ came really close to disbanding altogether shortly after its release. Sakis Tolis was left alone to steer the ship and it's a small miracle that he didn't hit the rocks.

The bassist and main lyrics writer of the band, Jim Mutilator, decided to leave because he was in his mid-twenties with a wife and two children that he felt he had to provide for, and being a metal musician in Greece was not exactly bringing him big bucks. Drummer Themis Tolis was facing his own psychological difficulties and had to leave the band briefly because of them too, while his brother Sakis suffered from panic attacks while on stage, and found himself alone to tour with session musicians.

In the midst of these tumultuous times, A Dead Poem came. It moved further away from Rotting Christ's black metal roots and was influenced by gothic rock bands like Fields Of The Nephilim, The Sisters Of Mercy and Christian Death, as well as gothic/atmospheric metal acts such as Moonspell and Tiamat. The gothic turn was something that other bands that had also started at the extreme end of the metal spectrum, like the Peaceville Three, Septicflesh and even Kreator, were going for around that time.

The album is the first one on which Sakis Tolis is the unquestionable leader following Mutilator's departure. A Dead Poem is very much a one-man band album since he did almost everything himself apart from the lyrics on five tracks, which are Jim's work. He sings, plays all the guitars and the bass, while Themis is behind the drum kit playing the parts that Sakis had prepared for him. Samael's Xy is on keyboards and also behind the album's production, so he is the one responsible for the warmer and more organic sound, as well as for the drums and the bass being brought to the fore in the mix.

A Dead Poem is built on the foundations of its predecessor, which had already strayed from the extreme and underground metallic sound of the band's early releases, and it is less heavy and aggressive. The word Themis has used to describe it is 'beautiful', and I am in complete agreement. It's a mid-tempo, highly melodic and atmospheric album that at times sounds more like a Moonspell record than a Rotting Christ one (with Fernando Ribeiro doing guest vocals on "Among Two Storms"), but if you can get past that resemblance you will definitely appreciate the dark metal gems hidden in it.

The idea of the blindfolded angel for the cover "art" was not a bad one, but the execution was a Photoshop atrocity and the band logo change was a very poor decision too. It is clear that Rotting Christ tried to become more commercial, they ditched their pseudonyms because 'Necromayhem' and 'Necrosauron' didn't make sense on such an album, and there were even talks of a band name change in order to access wider audience, but thankfully that didn't happen.

Despite the rule of thumb, according to which groups that try to become more commercial only manage to turn to shit, A Dead Poem is gothic heavy metal done right, and one of the band's strongest releases. Rotting Christ would further explore this sound with Sleep Of The Angels that followed, before surprising their fans once again with the mighty Khronos.

"The last of my kind
I'm losing my mind
The pain has gone
But I'm alone"


Written on 29.10.2019 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments: 1   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 34 users
29.10.2019 - 11:32
Mutilator is back in the music business after like 23 years of total absence. His new band is called Yoth Iria and their new EP, Under His Sway, is due out soon. It's going to sound like early Rotting Christ and also features Magus Wampyr Daoloth (Necromantia, ex-Rotting Christ, Thou Art Lord) who meets with Jim for the first time on record since Non Serviam. Guitarist George Emmanuel (who left Rotting Christ earlier this year and has released two albums with the band he formed in 2013 with Stathis Ridis of Nightfall, called Lucifer's Child) is also participating.

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