There is no greater satisfaction than hearing a highly anticipated album for the first time and being reassured that your faith was rightly placed as said album is better than great, maybe better than the best the band has put out and, quite possibly, best of the year. And it’s only February.
But I digress.
Rotting Christ returns on the strength of 2016’s Ritual with their 13th full-length, The Heretics, which is an album destined to be a defining moment in the Greek Black Metal pioneers storied career. Beginning with the bludgeoning anthem that is “In The Name Of God”, Rotting Christ show off their evolution from Ritual by infusing these huge Gothic elements and choir-like vocals alongside a heavy pummeling from the brothers Tolis (Themis on drums, Sakis on guitars and vox).
“Vetry Zlye” is a little more straight forward but still just as brutal, with female vocals to break up the sonic battering and adding more depth to Rotting Christ’s sound catalog. Released as a single, “Heaven and Hell and Fire” is great and all (Especially with Vagelis Karzis’ bass at the forefront) but “Fire God and Fear” which preceded it as the lead off single definitely shines more. With Themis Tolis’ thump propelling the song forward as Sakis barks lyrics building to a churchly chorus, the song easily epitomizes modern Rotting Christ. And holy shit, is that guitar solo that screams through the mid-section from George Emmanuel so unique and striking or what?
But before the barrage of “Fire…” drops, “I Believe” enters a new plane of awesomeness for RC with this shreddy masterpiece that’s almost an interlude and never stops moving forward with Sakis delivering a spoken word performance in Greek.
Later, “The New Messiah” is the dirge you never knew you needed on an album filled with them (“Hallowed Be Thy Name” is another great one here) as Sakis Tolis going for the low end vocally before “The Raven” brings the ultimate Rotting Christ album to a stellar and fitting conclusion.
The Heretics is out through Season Of Mist on February 15th. Pre-order options are available by clicking here or here. For the latest on Rotting Christ, including live appearances and a just announced appearance at this year’s Psycho Las Vegas Festival, head on over here.