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Interviews : Rotting Christ (Sakis Tolis) – 22/04/2010

By on April 22, 2010

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Rotting Christ – Sakis Tolis

Metal Obsession recently had the pleasure to speak with Sakis Tolis, about Rotting Christ‘s new destructive album, Aealo. We also got his thoughts on the recent Rotting Christ tour of Australia earlier this year and his plans for the future.

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Metal Obsession: How has the reaction been from fans and media with the new album, Aealo?

Sakis Tolis: The reaction has been great. This is our 11th album and when the majority of our audience views it as our best in our long history, you can guess that this make us happy. It has also been voted album of the month in several magazines worldwide and that makes us feel honoured. It gives us strength, it makes it worth the struggle to keep on going in a really weird and difficult era.

MO: What does ‘Aealo’ mean?

ST: Aealo, in ancient Greek means thresh, capture, destruction. It’s a title that I wanted to reflect the atmosphere of the album.

MO: What was the main inspiration behind ‘Aealo’?

ST: Aealo is a reflection on the feelings of a warrior in battle. Weird feelings, strange feelings, feelings like the feeling of anger, the feeling of fear the feeling of grief and so many other feelings and emotions that can a warrior experience in battle. I was feeling really angry during the composition process …I do not know why. Maybe a way of life that makes you feel that every day is a battle. Maybe AEALO is the transfer of those but do not misunderstand it. It is not a warlike album…I think it is the opposite. When you end up listening to it you feel relieved, like you have escaped from the trials that only a war can create!

MO: What inspired you to get the female choir and use of keyboards for this album?

ST: My country’s rich, ancient musical history. The choir is called PLEIADES and specialise in lament songs. They have their musical roots in ancient Greek music, a tradition that goes back thousands of years. They replaced keyboards to an extent and they made the album sound more organic, and of course they added to the dark atmosphere that I wanted as a creator of AEALO.

RottingChrist2010-3MO: Were the lyrics inspired by the legends of ancient Greece? If so, which stories were the inspiration?

ST: Not exactly. The lyrics do not refer specifically to the legends of ancient Greece but as I mentioned before Aealo is a reflection on the feelings of a warrior in battle. Being the only composer of the album I was definitely inspired by my ancestors, but musically I am more inspired by the ancient spirit when I do compose, I did not want to create the musical equivalent of a tourist attraction.

MO: Were there any traditional Greek musical instruments used on ‘Aealo’?

ST: Yes, one that is called zampouna [pan pipes] and an ancient Greek guitar. Otherwise the usual drums, bass, guitars and vocals. It is an Epic Occult Metal album and not folk as some people believe.

MO: How did you get Diamanda Galas on board as a guest on the album?

ST: I sent her an e-mail with my idea and she responded positively. It was a challenge to cover one of her songs, it is about an historical event and as we are both Greek [Diamanda Galas is American-born of Greek immigrant parents] and we can feel these events, so we went ahead with this collaboration. It was one of my highlights as a composer, and I am proud that she was pleased with the result! Check it out. It is one of the most soulful songs generally!

MO: You will be playing the prestigious Wacken Open Air festival this year, how does it feel to be on the bill for a festival as big as Wacken, and especially alongside the other big-name bands that are playing Wacken this year?

ST: This is the second time we play Wacken Open Air and we are honoured that the festival organisers included Rotting Christ on this year’s roster. We have a very hot summer festival schedule this year, we plan to participate in Wacken Open Air and many other festivals.
We will be on the road for more than one year doing shows and festivals worldwide

MO: You toured Australia for the first time on the Screamfest tour and the sideshows with Dark Funeral. How did Australian audiences react, and will you tour Australia again?

ST: We would love to be back in Australia because we had a great time celebrating New Years Eve in Sydney and performing there for the first time in our career. I would like to thank Just Say Rock for this and hope to get the opportunity to return because you guys keep the metal flag flying. Till next time…

MO: Any last comments?

ST: KEEP THE HORNS RISING!!

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Metal Obsession Review: Rotting Christ – Aealo

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Q’s: Megan Masters
A’s: Sakis Tolis
Date: 19/04/2010
Origin: Greece