Rotting Christ – Pro Xristou

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The legacy of the Hellenic black metal masters Rotting Christ has never waned through time. Since the onset in 1987 Sakis Tolis (guitars, vocals) inspired generations of bands in Greece and the international arena. The enduring style of black metal was prominent in their early studio albums like 'Thy Mighty Contract' and 'Non Serviam' the evil façade then had gone through some change in direction towards gothic signature melodies. The 14th studio album 'Pro Xristou' maintains their professional skills and carries on in the direction of the predecessor 'The Heretics', but with compelling song structures.

While focusing on the choirs and chugging riffs, each song is brimmed with extensive rhythm textures. Thus, the use of the sonic embellishment draws one’s attention; the hail of thundering riffs provides an epic intro on the album’s title track ‘Pro Xristou (Προ Χριστού)’. Rotting Christ overwhelmingly focuses on the flow of atmosphere with the riffing being kept as a kind of catchy frill, carefully blending powerful riffs held by the rhythm section on the opening of ‘The Apostate’.

The magic of the new songs lies in the swagger and the pompous riffs without adding elements that would have overwrought the bombastic tones. They know exactly when to unleash the melodic patterns. Instantaneous guitar hooks become prominent in the opening of ‘Like Father, Like Son’. The compelling driven riffs of Kostas Foukarakis are cohesive and simultaneously melodic. The hammering drumming of Themis Tolis is just remarkable and merges so well with the haunting vocals of Sakis.

Invoking the rich gothic melodies seems like another surprising element that underscores the impressive guitar work on tracks like ‘The Sixth Day’ by channeling the ethereal synth and just when that fucking signature riff kicks in through multiple hooks, it immediately recall the memories of a classic albums like ‘A Dead Poem’. Rotting Christ takes us on an epic journey on its 14th studio album.  The songwriting harmonizes to a great effect the balancing of the songs on slow to mid-paced tempo.


The lead guitar is always on the spot soaring high and unleashing some of the most jaw-dropping guitar work. Other tracks like ‘La Lettera Del Diavolo’ convey a tribal feel and the chugging riffs give a different perspective to the song arrangements: from the ethnic choirs to the thundering riff swagger and steady bass guitar of Kostas Cheliotis the rampaging drums kicks hard allowing the atmospherics to add textures to the mantra of Sakis’ vocals.

The flamboyant guitars etch out the classic trademarks of Rotting Christ’s signature sound. There is also a theatrical, if not bombastic energy that reverberates on songs like ‘The Farewell’ which showcases dynamics and virtuosity, all at once. The swirl of the pounding riffs emphasizes dark melodies as the song takes a mid-paced tempo while keeping the melodies upfront. The guitar solos stem from the roots of heavy metal. The epic beauty of the choirs brings a luxurious feel to the music when these elements are combined, they merge so well with the soaring melodies.

Pix Lax Dax’ presents the glorious triumph of the Hellenic majesty. This song trumpets loudly with its striking riffs, double bass and soaring female vocals which emphasize the splendid cadence marching between the heaviness of the turbulent riffs and the unique melodies.

The album’s theme evokes ancient mythology and the glories of the pagan kings but beautifully weaves cinematic landscapes through several songs like ‘Yggdrasil’ which is more of a choir-based track backed by the backdrop of the soaring choir and guitar riffs. The epic odyssey echoes with a passionate and glorious call and delivers some powerful riffs on the war anthem track ‘Saoirse’, Rotting Christ extends its grip on the cinematic atmospherics by making some improved changes in the structure of the songs.

The aesthetical quality is steeped in the same prospect: hooked to the repetitive guitar lines, sweeping synthesizer, and spoken words, it captures the ethos of the previous studio albums. Rotting Christ has always been a band that truly expanded its creativity. Therefore, some moments allow the songs on this album to shine.

Their grip on creating mystical and melancholic melodies is a great example of how Sakis still finds his inspiration from channeling the style of the band’s mid-discography. ‘Pro Xristou” feels like a legitimate marriage between the modern and gothic melodic sound of Rotting Christ. Everything from the quality of the musicianship, chugging riffs, beating drums and swaggering melodies has that unique trademark that transports the listener back and forth in time.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 10/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 10/10
  • Originality 10/10

‘Pro Xristou’ captivates the listener from start to finish and never loses its immersive, intense experience. Rotting Christ proves to be master of their craft and one of the best bands in Greece besides Varathron and Septicflesh.

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