Rotting Christ - Rituals

Rotting Christ - Rituals

(CD/2LP, Season Of Mist, 2016)

“Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy” opened a brand new chapter for ROTTING CHRIST and watched Sakis opening new songwriting grounds and then solidifying a really unique sound. The use of different languages and musical instruments became part of the band’s trademark sound and carved new pathways to places which are rarely explored by the Metal genre. I am sure some of you may frown upon my saying thinking that I am just overselling ROTTING CHRIST following some short of a hidden agenda because this album is 'just one of the same'. But no, it is not; you just need to dig your heels deep and resist the fast-food listening habits we have adopted while unsuccessfully trying to absorb all these music being released in a relentless rate. Without further ado, let’s dim the lights and open this heavy book full of rituals and brace ourselves because when you stare into the abyss, the abyss will stare back at you.

In all honesty, when “In Nomine Dei Nostri” (featuring NECROMANTIA's Magus) was released online, I somewhat rushed to think that ROTTING CHRIST may have fallen into stale waters because this one sounded just like a song from the previous LP. Although, and after the first reconnaissance LP spins, I realized that this initial thinking was not totally misplaced. You see, “Rituals” is the second chapter to what the Greek band is presenting in this book of All Evil. The album is a constant search of the dark arts which, regardless of the gods’ name, shares the same core and in most of the cases shares the same thinking. Yeah, religions are not different from each other but I am not going to elaborate more on this because the music is on the spotlight here. “Ze Nigmar” hits hard with the BATHORY-esque monotonous pounding and the ritualistic multiple vocal harmonies wrapped by an amazing production and a massive bass sound. Of course, the guitars proudly carry the ROTTING CHRIST torch, while Sakis is still trying to do more with his singing, something that works extremely well here. “Elthe Kyrie” is one of the immediate album favorites (translated as “Come Lord”), featuring the guest singing/narrating by Danai Katsameni, and I am sure you’ll feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing up the whole time. The way she is spitting the lyrics climaxing during the “elthe kyrie” chorus will make your skin crawl and then push you into headbanging mode under the compelling tsambouna (this is the Greek bagpipe) sounds. And the good things keep coming; the French “Les Litanies De Satan (Les Fleurs Du Mal)” with Vorph’s characteristic vocals, “For A Voice Like Thunder” with Nick Holmes' British narration (amazing) and I am sure some of you will try to locate their vocals in “Apage Satana” if you were one of those who sent your singing/screams to the band. This is some short of an exorcism (following the orthodox beliefs) but I am not sure Satan will oblige to this, despite the chilling whispering by Sakis (yeah, this is an orthodox prayer he reads).

I think this is the first ROTTING CHRIST album featuring two covers but believe me, these are equally amazing. The first is “Tou Thanatou” where the band pays homage to the Cretan singer Nikos Xylouris (singer and skilled player of lyra, a type of Cretan fiddle) but unfortunately the lyrics are in Greek, so some of the magic is getting lost, if you don’t speak the language. The second one is on APHRODITE'S CHILD’s “The Four Horsemen” which starts with a “In Yumen / Xibalba” vibe before unfolding into a powerful song (the rhythm section is amazingly bone-crushing), fitting perfectly to the album’s thematology. Sakis attacks the vocals from a different angle and reveals that he can sing melodies equally good to grunting. I think this can be the perfect soundtrack for the beginning of the Apocalypse, and headbanging is the best way to welcome it... By the way, be ready to listen how Hinduism enters the ROTTING CHRIST realm and become equally evil with the rest of the material. Like I said, the evil does not care about religions, and once you get this, all the doors will be unlocked.

I will admit that the times I listened to “Rituals” were just enough to put together these words and express my initial feelings on this new ROTTING CHRIST epos, because I am sure lots of (mainly dark) things will come to mind after more careful spins of the double vinyl edition. After all, performing ritual is nothing to be handled lightly... Thank you, ROTTING CHRIST for keeping the flame alive!





01. In Nomine Dei Nostri
02. Ze Nigmar
03. Elthe Kyrie
04. Les Litanies De Satan (Les Fleurs Du Mal)
05. Apage Satana
06. Tou Thanatou
07. For A Voice Like Thunder
08. Konx Om Pax
09. Devadevam
10. The Four Horsemen


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