Rotting Christ- Rituals (Season of Mist)

Rotting Christ is back with a brand new set of rituals.
Release Date: 
12 Feb 2016 (All day)

Rotting Christ is a hard band not to like (unless you’re Dave Mustaine). They’re also a band that’s hard-pressed to not rest on their laurels. After pioneering a distinctly Greek take on black metal, they went on to evolve into something even more grandiose by exploring more gothic and melodic sounds. This seemed to come to a head on their last album, 2013’s Katá ton Daímona Eaf̱toú, which delved into occult mythology from various different cultures and had a really diverse range of instruments at play. The sheer amount of detail and gravitas of that album had me worried Rotting Christ would not be able to follow it up. I shouldn’t have worried.

First off, it’s clear that Rotting Christ are sticking to their guns with the sound on their last album. The grandiose atmosphere from Katá ton Daímona Eaf̱toú is still present but somehow feels even more honed and effective than before. Which leads me to my second point; Rituals is a damn accurate name for this album. Much of the material has a pounding, rhythmic quality to it and is centred around a variety of chants which I’m sure all have whole textbooks of background to them. It’s easy to see yourself accidentally summoning some kind of demon or raising the dead if you haphazardly find yourself singing along.  

This is made abundantly clear as soon as the first track, In Nomine Dei Nostri, gets underway. The drums and riffs may be simple, but they have a way of commanding more power than the unrestrained chaos of their black metal roots. Just listen to the first single released Elthe Kyrie, the verses (expertly enacted by Danai Katsameni of the Greek National Hellenistic Theatre) show a mastery of tension, building all the way up to the epic chorus that hits like a ton of bricks. This feel is bolstered by Jens Borgren’s production which is full and modern without being too compressed.

If you have enjoyed Rotting Christ’s other recent efforts, then Rituals will be right up your alley. It may seem like they have ditched their chaotic black metal beginnings for something much simpler, but if you’re willing to look past the surface, the devil, as they say, is in the details.