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Rotting Christ co-founder returns to raise Hell with Yoth Iria

Yoth Iria promo pic
(Image credit: Manos Georgiou)

From early pioneers such as Necromantia and Varathron to modern day cult heroes Macabre Omen and Lucifer’s Child, Greece’s black metal scene has a long history of combining feverish occult fealty with barnstorming sonic grandeur. The flagship for the country’s contribution to the extreme metal cause is of course Rotting Christ, and if anyone can stake an individual claim to being its cornerstone, it’s their former bass player, Jim Mutilator.

Having started Black Church, the band that would become Rotting Christ after he was joined by Sakis and Themis Tolis, he was a core member until leaving in 1996 to join Varathron two years later, serving for a further five years.

Thank your fallen stars, because Mutilator has returned with another Rotting Christ alumni (and Necromantia frontman) The Magus, in the guise of Yoth Iria – a band steeped in the legacy of Greek metal, but who also, in the true nature of its scene, sound like a glorious and Babylonian new dawn.

Released on January 25 via Pagan Records, Yoth Iria’s debut album, As The Flame Withers, is the kind of chest-expanding, richly textured and groove-laden black metal that puts the ‘Hell’ into ‘Hellenic’, but also whose reach extends from the darkest denizens of the underground to anyone who just wants to bang a head, raise a fist and feel the exhilarating rush of adrenaline when you’re at the mercy of true metal masters.

Unsurprisingly taking on some of Rotting Christ’s DNA, As The Flame Withers, is a more panoramic vision, prised open by massive lead breaks and carrying some of Immortal’s elevating bite amidst its breathtakingly romantic scope.

As a foretaste, Yoth Iria are releasing the album’s second track, also called Yoth Iria, in the form of an elegantly Luciferian lyric video featuring crimson-hued glimpses of the Dark Lord rising to claim what’s rightfully His.

“The song Yoth Iria is dedicated to the entity who is our main inspiration,” the band explains. “It is the embodiment of the dark side of pre-Christian civilisations and a reference to the dark self and the Luciferian spirit. High-priest and king, demon and angel. The music itself is in essence a hymn to him who defined the musical and lyrical direction of our band.”

Mid-paced and radiantly melodic, Yoth Iria is as seductive and uplifting as infernally-charged metal gets.

Visit the Yoth Iria homepage

Pre-order As The Flame Withers in physical format from the Pagan Records online store (opens in new tab), or in digital format from the Yoth Iria Bandcamp page (opens in new tab)

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.