Rotting Christ – The Heretics
A new album from Greek veterans Rotting Christ has arrived. This is a band that’s been around for over 30 years and that have explored an array of different styles, including grindcore, raw black metal and goth among others. Lately they’ve settled into something that could be described as very melodic and accessible black metal (with a pretty generous use of the term black metal). The sound manifests through a lot of choral arrangements, an epic atmosphere and heaps of melodies. Think of something similar to a mix between Moonspell and Satyricon with a lot of choir vocals.
“The Heretics” picks up where “Ritual” (2016) ended and to be honest not much has changed. Rotting Christ deserves all respect and are both resilient and competent as a band, but this album doesn’t break any new ground or consist of any top notch composing. The best moments are when the choir is the driving force and the music slows down to a half-doomy canvas, on which the Tolis brothers paint some epic melodies of grandeur. This is mostly prominent in tracks like “Heaven and Hell and Fire” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” (not a cover of Iron Maiden). Tracks like “Πιστεύω” on the other hand hardly adds anything to the mix and feels like transportation without any substance.
The musicianship leaves little to be desired, for example the solo in “Heaven and Hell and Fire” is great and some of the vocal melodies stick like glue, but the song writing in general seems to be limping a bit and mainly repeating the framework of the last album. I’ve also never heard anyone use the word “Fire” as many times as this on the one and same album… Even on an album with the theme of historic atheists and free-thinkers there must be some limitation to the use of that one word. All in all this isn’t really bad, I’m sure that some people that are already sold on the latest Rotting Christ sound will be satisfied, the problem is that it isn’t really that great either. Even if the album has some nice hooks and potential, it lacks as a whole and it doesn’t entice you to listen again and again.
Artist: Rotting Christ
Album: The Heretics
Label: Seasons of Mist
Date of release: 2019-02-15
Number of tracks: 10
Running time: 43:06
Standout tracks: Hallowed Be Thy Name