Vera : Rotting Christ happens to be a band after my own heart, under perseverant guidance of Sakis (vocals, guitars) and Themis (drums) Tolis. They have gone through different styles and eras and when they celebrated their thirtieth anniversary, it was crowned with the book Non Serviam, The Official Story of Rotting Christ, written by the English journalist Dayal Patterson and Sakis. In the meantime the latter one also concentrated on writing the fourteenth album of the Greek dark metal band. The Heretics, with the different religions of mankind as main topic, will be released mid February and shows the band (with guitarist George Emmanuel also involved in the recording process and bassist Vangelis Karzis) in optima forma, yet more accessible with more guitar oriented songs.
These compact songs are relished with overtones of orchestration and massive choirs by producer Jens Bogren, but it never gets too cinematic. Momentous quotes of epoch making men are inserted in the songs as well. But it is above all the rebellious death growl of Sakis that rules vocal wise, standing at the barricades with his mates to protest against the bad things on this planet. Although the band remains quite objective, more than trying to preach. That is why this Mediterranean metal stays raucous and spontaneous. The first impression is that this album is less ethnic and ritual than its predecessors Kata Ton Daimona Aeytoy (2013) and Rituals (2016). When diving deeper into the matter it appears that we got some ethnic relied things though. For instance the song Vetry Zlye in which the female singer Irina Zybina from the Russian band Grai contributes any vocals and Sakis invited Ashmedi from Melechesh for any Arabic flavors in The Talk Of The Universe. The catchy riffs of songs like the opening track In The Name Of God, the hacking Dies Irea and the dramatic, epic occluding track The Raven are irresistible. In Hallowed Be Thy Name a grim atmosphere sends shivers down your spine, while the song Fire God And Fear already got its live premiere during the tour with Watain and it instantly haunts you. The Heretics is a complete spectacle you cannot put in one pigeonhole, but it surely creates a strong dark atmosphere with food for thought about many things, however without being too complex.