Monday, June 24, 2013

Metal on the Side Mondays: Rotting Christ

Perhaps the first thing most people notice with Rotting Christ is the name. They must be some crazy Christian hating black metallers! And while they are black metal (some of the time), the band isn't quite what you'd expect.

What are you looking at?
Staying on the topic of the name for a bit though, they have indeed gotten a lot of slack. The name Rotting Christ was chosen with the thought "we'll see what happens" as far as I can tell. The band wasn't really looking to directly offend anyone, but at the same time they kind of were. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth fame refused to play with them purely because of the name. These guys have been doing it for longer than anyone though - 25 years. It makes you wonder how Rotting Christ lasted so long with a name like that. They got picked up by Century Media just 3 years after releasing their first album though, which probably played a big part in keeping the band around. I mean, the only band I can think of with a more offensive name is Anal Cunt, and they only lasted 23 years on and off. But they disbanded because their vocalist died, so I guess it's kind of insensitive of me to bring it up... Anal Cunt was also chosen as the band's name purely because it was the most offensive thing Seth Putnam could think of.

Lyrically, Rotting Christ likes to mix things up with all sorts of themes. They range from the typical anti-Christianity to occultism and even Greek mythology. The lyrics are also sometimes in Greek, the band's native tongue and country, just to be a bit different. Truth be told, there aren't too many metal bands from Greece (Firewind is the only one I can think of off the top of my head), so that already makes Rotting Christ a bit more unique.

With a Rotting Christ song, you never quite know what to expect. The band has gone through a few styles, from grindcore to black metal to gothic/dark metal and back to black with some folk influences. Songs sometimes include chanting, delicious clean vocals or wonderful growls on behalf of vocalist/guitarist Sakis Tolis. Just as an aside, brothers Sakis and Themis (drums) have been in the band for the entirely of its 25 year existence. That's a pretty big feat in the metal world! Getting back to the music, the riffs are also probably unlike anything you've heard. Rotting Christ just has their own unique sound and I can't think of any band to compare it to. The only thing I could say to give you some idea is that their riffs sound like they have a bit of Middle Eastern influences. But I could be completely mistaking Middle Eastern with something else. Needless to say, the music is good. Some songs are catchy and have you chanting along while other songs just create a sombre atmosphere. It's worth mentioning that you should listen through an entire album before making a judgment. That being said, every album has its own feel (and usually a different genre) and these guys have released 11 albums so I won't mind if you just stick with a couple albums for now. In fact, their most recent album, Kata ton Daimona Eaytoy, is pretty darn good and worth a listen or two.

Even a typical Rotting Christ song doesn't stay with one style. They'll usually start with one riff or chant or slow buildup. Then, just when you're getting sick of it, the song will completely switch pace and never use that riff again. This can be found in both songs above. Rotting Christ does have a tendency to repeat riffs for a bit too long, but this is easy to forgive when it's only used for a part of the song.

If you can find another band like Rotting Christ, I'll eat my own hat. These guys are just so unique and cover so many different styles that unless you're offended by their name, they're definitely worth checking out.

You can find Rotting Christ at:

-Zombie Viking

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