ALBUM REVIEW: Rotting Christ – The Heretics

Here I review the new album from the legendary Greek Black Metal band ROTTING CHRIST! Out on February 15th via Season Of Mist!

1. In the name of God begins with haunting religious chants, something Rotting Christ have been known to use to create the dark atmospheric touches to their music. The spoken word added sounds wicked too. Blasting into furious drum patterns, intricately grooving riffs and total madness, the melodic guitars soaring and vocals growled over the top, our soundscape is set. The truly impeccable sense of ferocity Rotting Christ create with an astonishingly gorgeous progressive flourish to it while retaining total darkness is wonderful. The huge sounding opening piece is beautifully anthemic and a fantastic start to the album.
2. Vetry Zlye (ВЕТРЫ ЗЛЫЕ) comes back with killer drums and blistering guitar riffs that are filled with empowerment. The monstrous groove of the track is certainly a spectacle unto itself. The clean female vocals and folky melodies add a glorious nuance to the otherwise unrelenting attack of the band. Brilliant grooves coupled with melody and intricately written music is the hallmark of Rotting Christ, something that really shine through on this unique piece. Excellent.
3. Heaven & Hell & Fire once again utilises some pretty horrific sampling and spoken word to set the hideously dark undertones for the piece. Chugging riffs and stampeding drums follow up the introduction with full throttle and accompanied by chanted vocals that sound totally hellish. The cascading darkness, carefully cast from the lead guitars completes the mix with excellence before we are thrown into convulsive and menacing sections of purely wondrous Extreme Metal. The spoken word section was gorgeous as was the fantastically played guitar solo, filled with soul and melody. Totally glorious!
4. Hallowed be thy name slows things with sampled howling wind and groovy drum beats. The church bell chime, menacing guitars and chants bring us into more doomy territories. The huge atmospherics of the song are very well executed while the music itself is relatively simplistic for the band. This song worked as a really cool piece that felt like an interval but still retained the awesome momentum of the album perfectly. Great work.
5. Dies Irae hits us with punchy riffs and storming drums, once more. The chants also sounding fantastic again with the absolutely gorgeous riffs and drums backing them up with full force. This track is a really unique and interesting addition to the album that is filled with melody but also monstrous attack, adding diversity and plenty more aggression to the album but also a beautifully laid back feeling to it too. A totally haunting piece.
6. I believe (ΠΙΣΤΕΥΩ) starts off with more spoken word (I believe in Greek, that would make sense) followed by epic guitar build ups that truly elevate the atmosphere in an intense fashion. Blistering tremolo picked riffs and blast beats with synths create a gorgeously upbeat Black Metal soundscape with some excellent clean singing over it, there is a truly tribal feel to the sound of this piece which I love. A truly epic piece yet again.
7. Fire God and Fear begins with fantastic spoken word over gorgeous chanting before dropping into blistering riffs. The upbeat punchiness of the song is totally killer. The whiplash rhythm beats out total ferocity with a tight precision, captured by the wonderfully high end production. A surging piece of spiritual darkness that sounds absolutely huge. The guitar solo reminded me of the one from “demonon vrosis’. Another really awesome track with an extremely catchy main riff.
8. The Voice of the Universe * starts rather unexpectedly with a quick bit of speech before storming riffs, atmospheric synths and more wonderful drum patterns, retaining the tribal feeling of the album mentioned earlier. The soaring, glorious vibe of the song is absolutely gorgeous with a truly epic, battle-hardened feel to it. A blasting cacophony of sheer darkness and extremity that truly belts out rhythm, soul and exquisite musicianship in a beautifully progressive and well thought out manner. Excellently put together.
9. The New Messiah progresses into folky vocals over absolutely brilliant guitar riffs that has a transcendentally sublime to sound to it over the forcefully rhythmic drums. The surging pace of the track is both tranquil and punchy with a really in your face beat to it. The more melodic-death style guitar leads are super catchy and really fun to listen to, giving a more cheerful addition to the sound of the album while being just a piercingly harsh. To me, the sheer diversity and brilliant songwriting definitely puts this up as one of the best from the album, by quite far.
10. The Raven is certainly a really interesting way to close the album with a Metal rendition of Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic masterpiece. Opening with ambience and melodic riffing, the mood is set for one last delve into total darkness, a gothic masterpiece is surely about to unfold. The song is surprisingly upbeat which I found to be a curious decision, one that pays off with the glorious pacing and mesmerising flow of the track. A fantastic way to end a beautiful album.

Rotting Christ are back. This new album is a fantastically epic, brutally heavy and furious journey into darkness, spirituality and skilful musicianship. The best from the band since “Aealo” in my opinion. -7.5/10

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