Rotting Christ’s The Heretics is a contender for extreme metal album of the year

Greek masters Rotting Christ dive into the ancient mysteries and deliver unto us an extreme metal classic

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Rotting Christ – The Heretics


1. In The Name of God,,,
2. Ветры злые (Vetry Zlye)
3. Heaven and Hell and Fire
4. Hallowed Be Thy Name
5. Dies Irae
6. Πιστευω
7. Fire God and Fear
8.The Voice of the Universe
9. The New Messiah
10. The Raven (by Edgar Alan Poe)

Whatever label you care to place on their blasphemous machinations, there’s been no denying the power of Rotting Christ’s continued evolution into an ever more challenging and riveting form.

While their 13th effort is a natural successor to 2016’s Rituals, The Heretics’ empowering proclamation still sees the Greeks shattering all notions through its 10 tracks that are both grim and grandiose, impenetrably dense yet impossible to escape.

Continuing with an increased use of the compelling Orthodox chants alongside melodies and languages seemingly transported from throughout the ancient and medieval world, the Tolis brothers again conjure all manner of esoteric atmospheres and forbidden realms while bludgeoning away with the finest distillation of extreme might honed over their 30-year voyage.

The choral opulence builds through Heaven And Hell And Fire and astoundingly epic The Voice Of The Universe alongside Sakis Tolis and George Emmanuel’s regal guitar melodies. It then takes centre stage on the unsettling heights on the Dies Irae’s nefarious summoning, while Hallowed Be Thy Name sounds like Manowar fronted by a Benedictine choir.

Whether it’s Vetry Zlye’s haunting majesty, Sakis’s spoken word on the nihilistic black metal evocation of I Believe or the monolithic spells cast by Fire God And Fear and the giddying rapture of The New Messiah, these are not just exhilarating heavy metal tracks, but tomes of vast depth and mystery to endlessly lose yourself in, and only come up for air when the true meaning of their Ancient mysteries seem tantalisingly within your grasp.

While a repeat of using poetry over a fairly simplistic refrain – swapping Rituals’ William Blake for Edgar Allan Poe – on The Raven finishes proceedings on a relatively mundane note, The Heretics is otherwise so affirming in its scale and sheer will that it’s already a contender for both album of the year and Rotting Christ’s finest collection to date.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.