For some unknown reason, I’ve never read before an autobiography of a band or an artist. But it didn’t take me long to get my copy for the book of my favorite Rotting Christ, just a few days after it was translated into Greek. The English version was already available some months before. The author is Dayal Patterson, a British writer who published three other books about the black metal genre. This is the first one centered around a single band. With the big help of Sakis Tolis (among others), the 300 pages of the book flow easily and it took just a few hours to finish them.
It stars with the childhood years of the original members and it takes us up to this day. We read about what happened in the band year after year. There are detailed information for all their releases with comments of the members for them (some will surprise you), for the feedback each one had, for what came next, for the shows or tours they made promoting them and all these with many details and historic pictures. Of course, we learn about every musician that ever played with them, either as permanent or session member.
A big part is centered around their first years, because they were the hardest. A big help to this comes by Jim Patsouris a.k.a. Mutilator (Medieval Demon, ex-Varathron) and George Zacharopoulos a.k.a. Morbid/The Magus (Necromantia, Thou Art Lord, Principality Of Hell) who give valuable information, besides of course the Tolis brothers. The feeling of the era, the legendary Storm Studio, the record store Metal Era, they all come alive through the pages and gives us a perfect insight on how Greece was during the 90s. Also, there are comments by musicians of huge extreme bands (Moonspell, Samael, Watain, Immolation, Behemoth, Enslaved, Immortal) who remember the great impression that Rotting Christ made to the underground with their first releases.
In all this thirty-year old journey, we can clearly see something. Something that most of us now already. The philosophy of Sakis and Themis and what made them become what they are today. The romance of past years, the stubbornness, the many mistakes, the many temporary jobs they did in order to make a living and the harsh reality that almost broke them up, more than once. But also, the way they treat the band until now. For example, the fact that they never turned down an offer for a live show, with a result of having given almost 1500 to this day. That of course caused them a lot of problems, like in South America when even their lives were in danger. An impressive fact is that they never had (nor have) a manager. This Non Serviam cast of mind that rewarded them and made them the biggest metal act from Greece and paved the way for many more bands to follow. A necessary reading for every fan of them and also for anyone who wants to see how the hell these guys with (probably) the most extreme name in the history of metal managed to become what they are today.