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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

Rating: 4/5

Review online: November 30, 2007
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Passage to Arcturo

Rated 3.85/5 (77%) (20 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.

Track Listing:
  1. The Old Coffin Spirit
  2. The Forest of N'Gai
  3. The Mystical Meeting
  4. Gloria de Domino Inferni
  5. Inside the Eye of Algond
  6. The Nereid of Esgalduin
  7. Vicious Joy and Black Delight
  8. Feast of the Grand Whore
Other related information on the site
Review: Aealo (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Genesis (reviewed by Scott Murray)
Interview with Sakis Tolis on January 20, 2013 (Interviewed by D "Chris" Carter)
Interview with Sakis Tolis (vocals, guitar) on March 11, 2010 (Interviewed by Michel Renaud)
Video: After Dark I Feel
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