Rotting Christ Album Review ‘Rituals’

For almost 30 years now Greek brothers Sakis and Themis Tolis have developed the sound of Rotting Christ. The result is a unique style stretching the boundaries of several subgenres. As it always happens when a metal band cannot be clearly labelled you just call it extreme metal. And Rotting Christ’s version of extreme metal gets its thirteenth edition with their latest release ‘Rituals’.

The album title ‘Rituals’ is just logical for an album like that. The record is a coherent continuation from Rotting Christ’s previous release Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού. The album starts with rhythmic chants that bring visions of a black mass in some underground dungeon. The whole first song ‘In Nomine Dei Nostri’ stays within this basic rhythmical theme producing a rather minimal and hypnotic experience.

The whole album remains within the concept of the first song. Most songs are of slower of at best medium tempo. Rotting Christ do not need to go to extreme speed to make their music heavy and aggressive. Instead they use elements of humming doom metal riffs, slow breaks with spoken recital creating the atmosphere of dark rituals, archaic chanting and the interplay of faster outbreaks and symphonic passages. This certainly creates a unique sound and that is a lot in a world where we are overburdened with too many similar bands. When you listen to ‘Rituals’ you know that it is Rotting Christ.

The vast experience of Rotting Christ has resulted in yet another high quality release. You add in the massive production of genre great Jens Bogren (Amorphis, Borknagar, Devin Townsend etc) and guest appearances of Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes on ‘A Voice Like Thunder’ and Samael’s Vorph on ‘Les Litanies De Satan’ and you have a very mature, high quality album. The only complaint I can find is that on some songs Rotting Christ seem to overdo their minimalistic principle. A track like ‘Apage Satana’ sounds unfinished and remains a sketch of something bigger to finish.

Overall Rotting Christ have released another high quality album with ‘Rituals’. It can be seen as a logical continuation from the last record as it develops the their sound consequently. That in itself is another big plus. Even after almost 30 years Rotting Christ have the hunger to develop. You may like Rotting Christ or you may not, but you gotta compliment them the long history of pushing the boundaries of their brand of extreme metal. ‘Rituals’ is another good example of that.