Rotting Christ
The Heretics

Greek Metal Masters Rotting Christ have returned with another fantastic release with their 13th album The Heretics. The Tolis brothers Themis and Sakis, fresh off their recent arrest for Terrorism (not that kind-the fearful religious kind) in Georgia (the country, not the state) have given a spirited middle finger to organized religion once again. Although, their latest is NOT their best, it’s still a brutally beautiful well-written collection of dark yet doomy, inspirational black metal. The band has gotten slower while at the same time, gotten bigger and yet more urgent. This band has continually been impressing me with each release as they continue to hone their version of Black Metal.

The stereotypical version of what most view as Black metal is an angry set of youths, aimlessly screeching over a barrage of blast beats and out of sync yet played at hyper speed guitar riffing; and of course recorded like it was captured inside a tin trashcan for the correct cave-like ambiance. Rotting Christ’s early stuff may not be the best quality sounding material (meaning sonically), but with each album they embraced nearly none of the above mentioned tom-foolery. I personally have a hard time calling Rotting Christ black metal because they tend to me much patient and often times more musical than their counterparts. I am a Black Metal fan, but like many extreme music fans I find myself with my favorites, and Rotting Christ certainly is one of the best in the genre. There is a reason they have been able to create this much music over the years and have fans still paying attention.

The Heretics picks up where the 2016 album Rituals left off. The Heretics as a general statement is SLOWER than Rituals but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sure, there are blast beats and speed picking, but the songs feel more like a marathon than a sprint. The writing and lyrics build to various summits and climactic ends; giving the listener a great journey into the demented minds that are being portrayed with the storyline of the songs.

Like most black metal the favorite topic for songwriting is organized religion. Overtly Anti-christian themes are present throughout. “In the Name of God”, “Fire, God and Fear” and the Phenomonal single “Hallowed be thy Name” all vilify the church and its practices without getting cheeky or becoming satirical. The tracks are more aimed at pointing out the evil and hypocrisy that exist within the bands belief system. It’s not Satanic; is actually quite human. Many groups struggle to be taken seriously and many have tried to out-evil the other. Rotting Christ just aims to make great music with serious topics that deservedly need serious discussion in today’s world. The only exception is closer,“The Raven”. The lyrics are lifted directly from the Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same name. At first listen I didn’t get it. Why would this great band effectively take the easy way out I thought, although after many listens I see the goal and it does finish the album nicely. Although I prefer the other songs more, Poe’s musings certainly work as a dark black metal track!

Musically guitarist, vocalist and main songwriter Sakis Tolis is on the top of his game and this continues on The Heretics. He is one of the most underrated musicians in Extreme music. The Heretics will blow away many releases in 2019, but still is NOT the band’s best. That should say something about the band’s consistency in delivering quality material! The songwriting has proven to be the strength of the album and the reason why the band is regarded so highly.

The Heretics is another fantastic delivery from Rotting Christ. Highly recommended listening for fans of the band or for black metal enthusiasts looking for something a bit more unique within the genre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Will Maravelas
April 15th, 2019

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