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Album Reviews : Rotting Christ – Rituals

By on February 10, 2016

210110In a world where religion and tradition are often regarded as a source of negativity, there remains a single entity that brings out the beauty of religious ideologies while simultaneously disregarding it’s overrated importance. Hailing from Athens, Rotting Christ have, for almost 3 decades stood their ground, creating music that is genuine and diverse, despite facing an abundance of criticism.  The pioneers of  Greek extreme metal have returned once again in 2016 with their astounding offering of ‘Rituals‘ to the world, an album that emanates a regal charm in the most brutal way possible.

With an aura of such magnificence, this musical journey begins with the mighty sounds of ‘In Nomine Dei Nostri’, captivating you instantly with it’s energetic tribal vibe, epic riffs and revered chants in the name of Satan taking occult music to a new level. The blending of Latin and English, and lingering background melodies that soar with the chorus couldn’t make for a better album opener. Creating an intense atmosphere is the slow and hypnotic drone of ‘Ze Nigmar’, written in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. It eventually builds up into a mid-paced track filled with down-tuned guitars and low raspy growls.  The combining of extreme elements with their signature deep chants is certainly one of the things that makes this band stand a class apart – simple yet glorious. (A band named Rotting Christ that writes a song about the history of Jesus last seven sentences. Take that.)

Elthe Kyrie‘ forges ahead  with an incredible ferocity boasting some brilliant instrumentation, especially crushing blast beats courtesy of  Themis Tolis’. The sheer emotion in guest female vocalist, Danai Katsameni’s voice throughout the song that leads into an excellent chorus of Sakis’ brutal, dynamic growls prove to be a beautiful combination and provide the theatrical element to the album. The guitars also pick up a middle-eastern sound in between which is a nice touch. The title translates to ‘Come Lord’ which was influenced by the tragic ancient of Greek poet Euripides and more specifically his creation ‘The Bacchae’.  ‘Apage Satana‘ continues in the vein of the first track , the drums possessing a march-like quality and vocals coming out in spurts. There’s a sudden transition right in the middle, from massive heavy tones to an airy section of primarily drums and whispered chants while french-inspired ‘Les Litanies Des Satan’ (you’ll hear Sakis‘ multi-linguistic abilities appear once again) and war-anthem ‘For a Voice Like Thunder’ with it’s soaring riffage and undeniable groove, will definitely make your brain rattle.  There may not be too much going here in terms of lyrics, but the music does more than speak for itself. Musically, these tracks are reminiscent of Kata Ton and even some of Rotting Christ’s older material but are more melodically driven for the most part.

Sakis merges his voice with the mood of the track in the most beautiful way possible. The sheer soundscapes that surround these tracks are so intense, it draws you in. It is at this point in the album that you realize how bloody versatile they are, creating a musical experience for the listener like nothing you’ve ever heard before.  ‘Komx Om Pax’  begins with the slow chugging bass lines of Vagelis Karzis, and ventures more into the black metal realms. The background chants, odd time signatures and barrage of relentless riffs fill this track with an atmospheric elegance that will haunt you in your sleep. The rhythm takes you back to ‘In Yumen Xibalba‘, as the song sort of jumps out at you and takes a life of it’s own. What’s probably the best part  is that without warning, the  bridging riff you hear on the very first track features here, merging with the chorus of Komx Om Pax. Completely unexpected but absolutely ingenious.

Following the madness that has ensued thus far, comes one of the highlights of the album for me, personally. Being an Indian girl that comes from a fairly orthodox Hindu family but has an undying love for heavy music is something that has always made me a walking contradiction of sorts from one aspect. As proud as I am of my heritage, it brought tears to my eyes when I heard the next track ‘Devadevam‘, one whose atmosphere is pure, extreme and truly ritualistic. The intro begins with the Gayatri Mantram , a very powerful chant from the Vedas and slowly transcends into eerie whispers followed by some very sublime chanting of the Mrtyunjaya Stotram by Kathir from Rudra who steps in as the guest vocalist for this one. The composition of Sanskrit-growled chants, heavy guitars, and lingering sound of classic Indian elements such as the sitar is absolutely enchanting to say the least. ‘Tou Thanatou‘ picks the pace back up, this time with a more traditional Greek ambiance and a stunning chorus.

Right to the last song on the album,  ‘The Four Horsemen‘ which will certainly send chills down your spine with it’s sinister quality, Rotting Christ have composed a series of great tracks which will take you on a musical journey that is dark and mystical. Firm believers in simplicity, they have not only created what I believe is a masterpiece of an astounding versatile nature but created something that consolidates their creativity and passion towards combining extreme music with the beauty of ancient cultures and the occult. Despite the use of several languages on ‘Rituals’, the Greek metal overlords  prove that their belief in music being the greatest language of all.

 

 

About

Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.