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Classic Review: Rotting Christ - Passage to Arcturo
Rotting Christ
Passage to Arcturo

Label: Unruly Sounds
Year released: 2006
Originally released in: 1991
Duration: 34:22
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal


Review online: November 30, 2007
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.89/5 (77.78%) (27 Votes)

A few days ago I stopped by a local record store to buy a ticket for a Rotting Christ show, and I figured it would be a good idea to hear the band before I saw them live, so I picked up this CD. :) This is the 2006 re-issue of this EP originally released in 1991, which adds three songs but takes away the intro from the original version - I'm not sure what that's about.  What we have here is some early raw Black Metal with a hint of Death Metal popping up here and there - even some of the vocal work borrows more from Death than from Black.  The sound is pretty good overall, although the bonus tracks have a slightly more muffled sound, so they stand out a little when listening to this.  The production is a bit on the thin side and makes some songs sound almost "demo level", but at the same time it gives a bit of "charm" and "warmth" to the sound (well, as charming and warm as BM can be!), so I can't say it really hurts the experience, although I'm sure many will disagree.

The music is mostly mid-paced, with some slower passages and occasionally speeding up a little, but nowhere near the hyperfast BM style that became popular in subsequent years.  The playing is basic, but very efficient in creating a dark, sometimes suspense-like atmosphere.  There's a lot of Thrash and traditional Heavy Metal-influenced riffage to be found here, which does give the album some added headbanging (and/or air guitaring) value.  Beside the predominant basic stuff, we occasionally get some well done keyboard work - kept to a minimum but very noticeable at times - and even some female back vocals - nothing actual sung, more of a choir thing.  At some point they even throw in what sounds like being in an African jungle, complete with exotic birds and native drums - quite a departure from the style of music. :)  Rotting Christ sure do love their samples, as there are a few more scattered here and there.  Overall, a nice little CD of "moderate" raw Black Metal with a few twists, and quite enjoyable even on repeat.  Good stuff.

Additional Information

2006 re-issue reviewed.

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