Thirteen must be the lucky number for Rotting Christ. It seems their album “The Heretics” is truly masterpiece.
Since man cannot live without miracles, he will provide himself with the miracles of his own making. He will believe in any kind of deity even-though he may otherwise be a heretic, an atheist, and a rebel. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Greeks have never had specific music style. One of those bands I like. You never know what the new album will bring. Melodic black/death metal might be the constant spiced with doom, goth, aggressive and progressive elements. “The Heretics” is nothing more than one step closer to perfection. In over 30 years career, Rotting Christ were constantly progressing. Yes, there were few mistakes, but overall, the band established themselves as one of the most influential Greek metal bands.
Formed in Athens in 1987, Rotting Christ is written in metal history as one of the first black metal bands in Greece. Of course, the controversy fallowed the band. The band name is not acceptable in conservative Christian countries, so some shows had to be cancelled. Totally unexpected, Dave Mustaine refused to play with Megadeth in Greece just because he, as new born Christian (whatever that means) could not share the stage with black metal band called Rotting Christ! I have always believed we, metallers, are highly above that, but…
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Church that I know. My own mind is my own Church. (Thomas Paine)
The album is rich with details. It seems it does not differ a lot from the previous one, „Rituals“. Gregorian Choirs and literature quotes are perfectly balanced. Dostoyevsky, Nietzche, John Milton, Mark Twain, Voltaire, Nikos Kazantzakis and Thomas Paine so as Bible quotes carefully selected perfectly fits in dark, mystical, heavy melodies. It seems, Rotting Christ united the world′s most notorious heretics on this album, since already mentioned writers, philosophers, novelists and their work has been banned in different periods of history.
Special guest contributes to cultural diveristy (Irina Zybina , additional vocals on “Vetry Zlye”, Melechesh Ashmedi on “The Voice Of The Universe”, Stelios Steele as narrator on “In The Name of God”, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “The Raven”, Alexis Karamelis as back vocalist on “Πιστευω”, Stratis Steele, Alexandros Louziotis, Giannis Stamatakis and Theodoros Aivaliotis (vocals in choir), Nikos Velentzas, Stamatis Ampatalis, Manos Six and Vasilis Koutsoyflakis (percussion), Dayal Patterson (narration in “Heaven and Hell and Fire”, “Fire God and Fear”).
Rotting Christ remained loyal to their native language in “Πιστευω” (“I Believe”) based on a poem by Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer maybe the best known for novel “Zorba the Greek” and “The Last Temptation of Christ”.
Helenic masters of metal this time injected more Gothic elements to the songs. From Vincent Price over Sir Christopher Lee, Christopher Walken to Tim Burton’s Vincent, James Earl Jones in The Simpsons, Edgar Allan Poe′s “The Raven” has another adaptation. Is there any better solution than to choose “The Raven”, poem well known by its musicality and dark atmosphere?
Knowing Rotting Christ for a very long time (the first time I have heard the band on Sanctus Diavolos Tour), I was always excited to hear which fusion brothers Tolis will deliver us on next album. I would not be surprised (or even I wish) if the next album as a result of an experiment incorporate syrtaki. Why not? That might be a final step to perfection.
Art cover signed by Maximos Manolis (Mass Infection “Shadows Became Flesh”, Murder Angels “Beyond the Dark) perfectly reflects concept of the album.
Rotting Christ survived the test of time. After 30 years of playing metal, they did not fall in trap of iteration. I really enjoyed the album, and I hope you also will.
Personal favorite: “The Voice of the Universe”
1. In The Name of God
2. Ветрызлые (Vetry Zlye)
3. Heaven and Hell and Fire
4. Hallowed Be Thy Name
5. Dies Irae
7. Fire God and Fear
8.The Voice of the Universe
9. The New Messiah
10. The Raven (by Edgar Alan Poe)
Rating of this review: 9,5/10
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