I had been rather disappointed by the 2000-album "Khronos", after they had release a truly outstanding album with "A Dark Poem" and also "Sleep Of The Angels" had been a good one. So I approached "Genesis" with rather mixed feelings, should I feel hope or rather expect little? Most probably rather the latter, because "Genesis" might not be their best album, but still it comes damn close to "A Dark Poem".
Returning to their old, hardly readable logo, ROTTING CHRIST perform a split between the gruffness of their early works, the epic melodies of their later releases and some elements that had not been there before. But first things first. Opener "Daemons" clearly shows the Black Metal-roots of the Greeks, with a sort of ethereal female opera voice in the background, while still melodic it is a good bit heavier than what they had released of late.
But the following "Lex Talionis" impressively showcases that they have stopped following the lead of others, but now truly walk a path of their own, because this track is just plainly fantastic! Heavy, epic, melodic and with almost Gregorian sounding chants in the background and the chorus that give the song a dense and haunting atmosphere, which captures the listener in an almost vice-like grip. The deep, clear vocals are less sung, rather spoken and are not as convincing as the choir-performance, but still does not take away anything from the magic of this song, which combines the past, the present and maybe the future of ROTTING CHRIST.
Also "Quintessence" captures this spirit, with even better clear vocals by Sakis (at least I guess that it is him, who does those), while the music is heavier here, not as epic and atmospheric, while still retaining its melody and "Nightmare" offers us some reduced heaviness while increasing the atmospheric share within the composition with its dreamy guitar-lead and again very well implemented clear vocals. Also "Dying" is worth mentioning, rather slow-paced, very atmospheric, very good.
With "Genesis" ROTTING CHRIST have managed to combine the rough Black Metal of their beginnings with the atmospheric and melancholic melodies of their "A Dark Poem" and "Sleep Of The Angels"-era, plus bringing in some newer elements (like clear vocals and the choir), which accentuate their compositions and that their guitar-melodies are somewhat of a trademark of the Greek quintet should be known by now anyway.
Like I said, "Genesis" does not reach "A Dead Poem", but comes very close to it, so fans of any era of ROTTING CHRIST should check out this, their eighth album to date, you should not be disappointed! (Online November 5, 2002)