Label: Season of Mist
One of the most bizarre metal-related news stories of recent weeks is that Rotting Christ have been arrested in Georgia, on terrorism charges relating to the band’s name. They have since been released, but it’s a bizarre, and worrying, turn of events. Rather than dwell on the negatives though, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how superb a band they are, and that they’re still releasing albums of the quality of Rituals even 30 years after they formed.
Upon release, I found Rituals to be a bit lacking; but, of all of Rotting Christ’s albums, this is the one that comes closest to being a grower. Repeat listens reveal an album filled with clever melodies and emotion, all backed up by powerful melodic black metal. It’s also an album steeped heavily in atmosphere, though not of the usual forests-and-mountains kind. Instead, it’s an album heavy with a sense of history, tapping in to the roots of ancient Greek myth. It’s a road that Rotting Christ have been travelling down for some time, and it gives the band a unique sense of character and sound – could any other band pull off a song like ‘Tou Thanatou’ or ‘Elthe Kyrie’? Probably not.