‘Rituals’ is the latest and probably last addition to what we can now officially call the ‘ritualistic’ period of Rotting Christ, alongside ‘Theogonia’, ‘Aealo’ and ‘Kata ton Daimona Eautoy’. The record maintains the multicultural and linguistically diverse character of its predecessor, submerging the listener in a mystical journey, while also having the best production and most impressive guests in the history of Rotting Christ.
It is obvious that on this album, more so than ever before, mainman Sakis Tolis prioritized and emphasized on the vibe of each individual composition, to the point of ‘sacrificing’ some of the band’s classic traits in order to accomplish a personal, esoteric vision. ‘Rituals’ is a rewarding result. How many bands can successfully incorporate Euripides, Blake and Baudelaire in their music? What other artist pays tribute to important parts of Greek musical heritage the way Sakis does in ‘Tou Thanatoy’ and ‘The Four Horsemen’?
Some may claim that they want some great riffing in the story, and I would agree. A record with 10 ‘Apage Satana’ type songs would be one-sided. That’s why there are moments like ‘Ze Nigmar’ or ‘For A Voice Like Thunder’, which, besides being amazing, maybe give us a glimpse into the band’s future.
Adjectives such as ‘dark’ and ‘atmospheric’ are often used in reviews of heavy metal albums; ‘Rituals’ forces us to redefine those terms.