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Music / Rotting Christ

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Rotting Christ are a metal band from Athens, Greece. Founded in 1987, they were one of the first bands of the Black Metal scene in Athens. Their first couple releases showcased an aggressive, Venom-influenced black metal sound, though as time went on they began to mellow out and mix in elements of Mediterranean folk music, creating the unique sound they are regarded for.

Current Lineup:

  • Sakis Tolis – guitars, vocals (1987–present)
  • Themis Tolis – drums (1987–present)
  • Van Ace - bass (2014-present)
  • George Emmanuel - guitars (2014-present)


  • The Mighty Contract (1993)
  • Non Serviam (I Will Not Serve) (1994)
  • Triarchy of the Lost Lovers (1996)
  • A Dead Poem (1997)
  • Sleep of the Angels (1999)
  • Khronos (2000)
  • Genesis (2002)
  • Sanctus Diavolos (Holy Devils) (2004)
  • Theogonia (2007)
  • Aealo (2010)
  • Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού (Against The Demon Within Thyself) (2013)
  • Rituals (2016)
  • The Heretics (2019)
  • Pro Xristoy (2024)

This band contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Black Metal: Their later material blends this with Folk Metal, Gothic Metal, and Melodic Death Metal.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: They have a number of songs that are primarily in Greek or some other language with a section in English or vice-versa, such as "Elthe Kyrie".
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Their adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" excludes the passages that mention Lenore and adds original sections that change the story from being about a mourning lover to one about a person tormented for being cast out of heaven.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: "In Nomine Nostri" is a chant summoning many of the classical ones. A good deal of their songs deal with Satan as well.
  • Folk Metal: Expect to hear lots of bagpipes, lyres, and chanting.
  • Genre-Busting: If it wasn't obvious already, their genre is very hard to pin down.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death: Can you believe a band called Rotting Christ doesn't write gore lyrics?
  • Heavy Mithril: Much of their material is about world mythologies and esoterica.
  • A Hell of a Time: Perhaps not literally, but they frequently quote excerpts from William Blake and Paradise Lost in their songs that suggest Heaven may be no better than Hell.
  • Horrible History Metal: Their cover of "Orders From the Dead" by Diamanda Galás, which is about the Greek genocide.
  • Live Album: Lucifer Over Athens and Early Days, the latter of which is a 2022 re-recording of the band's earliest material live in studio.
  • Metal Scream: Sakis is somewhere between a Type 1 and 3, with the group's earlier material more clearly exemplifying the latter.
  • New Sound Album: Their sound evolves so often that every album sounds distinct in its own way. However, there are a couple standouts:
    • Triarchy of the Lost Lovers significantly toned down the aggression of their first two albums in favor of more melodic and atmospheric guitar work.
    • Sanctus Diavolos melded the grim, hellish atmosphere of their early material with the melodic approach they've followed since Triarchy, as well as experimenting with Industrial Metal.
    • While their earlier material occasionally dabbled in Mediterranean Folk Metal, Aealo established it as a core part of their sound.
    • Rituals borders on Doom Metal at times, being significantly slower and more massive production-wise than anything they've written before.
  • Omniglot: Besides their native Greek and English, they've written songs in Latin, Spanish, Russian, Sanskrit, French, Romanian, and German. This is justified, as Sakis Tolis enjoys traveling the world and has likely picked up on bits of languages besides his first and second tongues.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Or Greek chanting.
  • Religion Rant Song: Downplayed, despite what you'd expect from their name and Sakis' open atheism. They didn't start writing explicitly anti-Christian songs until Khronos, and even then they never included more than a few per album. Post-Aealo they've pretty much dropped this subject matter entirely.
    • Then there's The Heretics, which is an entire album dedicated to the brilliant minds of history who were persecuted by Christians and is heavily laden with atheistic overtones.
    • Sakis Tolis's solo album, Among the Fires of Hell, has these as its sole subject matter.