Rotting Christ - The Heretics

Rotting Christ - The Heretics

(CD/LP, Season Of Mist, 2019)

Even though there is an overwhelming number of new bands and really good albums, there is a small number of releases that make my blood boil out of expectation. Yeah, I’m referring to that thirst to spin the album over and over again to check all those details that can make the music to stick with you as years go by. I know that this is in full contradiction of how most people like to consume new music by spending as much time as they do gobbling down some fast food. Flash news, people; music and especially Metal music is still a slow-dopamine release agent. One of such music-for-thought example is the new ROTTING CHRIST offering that comes with the rather different concept which is maybe less dark than its predecessors. You see, “The Heretics” deal with some writers / thinkers who were considered as literally heretics during their time and now are highly regarded litterateurs. Did you just think of getting famous after death? Of course, because groundbreaking thinking needs more time to be digested and understood...

After some (much needed) digression, it’s about time to drop the needle on “The Heretics” and see how the gears inside Sakis’ mind were turning before pushing the recording button on the soundboard to breathe life into the 13th ROTTING CHRIST LP. Pretty impressive, right? You bet it is, and I strongly believe that this band has managed to create its own style, and this is most probably why some online “thinkers” mistake as Sakis being repetitive with his riff-writing hands... In The Name Of God” starts the unholy liturgy by creating this hard-to-describe ecclesiastic atmosphere that is soaked in the ROTTING CHRIST anti-religion mentality. No, there is no bad-mouthing Christianity or any other form of religion; where people choose to put their faith on, is perfectly ok, if you’d ask me. ROTTING CHRIST musically and lyrically attack the organized religion of that special breed that dictates how people should think by pouring fear in everyone’s mind. “Vetry zlye (Ветры злые)” expands this thinking by hitting the Pagan nerve, bringing some reinforcement in the face of Irina Zybina who is the lead singer of Folk metallers ГРАЙ. The fast snare drum action builds the perfect setting for this solid ROTTING CHRIST song that is not lacking of melodic lines, being a solid candidate for upcoming setlists. Sakis pays a visit to John Milton’s “Lost Paradise” with his trademark riffing which for sure draws connecting lines with albums like the “Theogonia”/ “Aealo” diptych. The dramatics added by the spoken parts ask for more listening attention before returning to the groovy chorus that sticks to mind from the very first spins. Yes, this is one of the strongest assets in ROTTING CHRIST; the ability to write memorable melodies without dismissing the headbanging qualities a metalhead is always searching on his music of preference.

The Hellenic ROTTING CHRIST sound comes forth in a Catholic setting, as the Greeks are loosely covering the “Dies Irae” hymn. Pretty interesting and bizarrely blasphemous but not in the typical Black Metal way, and this is one of the strongest characteristics of ROTTING CHRIST of the last decade or so. Speaking of Hellenic elements, “I Believe” will hit all the right spots as Sakis dresses Nicholas Kazantzakis’ words (search for “Askitiki” to learn more) with music, while delivering these lyrics in his unique pronunciation style. Don’t be scared of the Greek language, but rather embrace the sound of it, how it fits the Hellenic Black Metal and maybe search for a translation to get your thinking going in the process. I am so glad that Sakis keeps adding some traditional music elements in ROTTING CHRIST as it keeps the spirit alive.

“Fire, God And Fear” has a pounding almost monotonous rhythm section (I’ll blame the drums for this) in an awesome BATHORY way, and this may as well be the first time I can spot references to other bands in a ROTTING CHRIST release, and of course I am talking about the Greeks’ recent discography (by ‘recent’, I mean the after “Genesis” era). Speaking of the drums, I think Sakis chose well letting Themis expand his drumming on this record, in a way that complements the music, bringing more light onto the rhythm section. Also, here, you’ve got to love the trademark guitar pedal sound on this one during the solo and note how Sakis is exploring his lead action a bit. Visiting different countries and using other languages is no news with ROTTING CHRIST; this instance, this is happening in “The Voice Of The Universe” where MELECHESH’s leader Ashmedi lends his voice singing / narrating the lyrics he wrote in the Arabic language. Like in the past collaborations, the song is an amalgam of the band’s trademark sound and the aesthetics the music is borrowing from. Again, the mysticism added by mixing such sounds along with the characteristic riffing makes this one a strong candidate for live shows.

Come to think of it, “The Heretics” is full of songs that could see some live action and, to be honest, I would love this to happen, even if it meant to remove some of the ‘must-haves’ from the RC set. Because I don’t think ROTTING CHRIST could do a three-hour set to satisfy my appetite... At the same time, “The Heretics” is an album that may need more time than usual to sink in, but - trust me - the process of biting small pieces of it and digesting them is worth it, as you will discover way more. The journey continues and we are extremely happy to join in. Non Serviam!





01. In The Name Of God
02. Vetry zlye (Ветры злые)
03. Heaven And Hell And Fire
04. Hallowed Be Thy Name
05. Dies Irae
06. I Believe (Πιστεύω)
07. Fire, God and Fear
08. The Voice Of The Universe
09. The New Messiah
10. The Raven


Sakis Tolis - Guitar, Vocals
George Emmanuel - Guitar
Van Ace - Bass
Themis Tolis - Drums