Sakis Tolis – Among The Fires Of Hell [EP]

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Here is something I did not expect to see from the leader of Rotting Christ, a release as a solo artist. Because let’s not forget, Sakis has been the only lyricist/composer of his main band for many years now, something that, as expected, gives him an artistic freedom to do whatever he wants.

So what is the difference between this EP and the works of Rotting Christ? In a few things I will say, except that we do not see his brother Themis in the drums. The six songs of “Among The Fires Of Hell” follow the same philosophy that Rotting Christ have in recent years, with similar sound to the amazing “The Heretics”, combined with late-90s memories from “A Dead Poem” and “Sleep Of The Angels”. That is, the most gothic and less black moments of the band.

The compositions are exclusively mid-tempo, full of atmosphere and of course with these so characteristic melodies that are a trademark of Sakis and some simple, but awesome riffs. Like I said above, do not expect something you have never heard before, but that does not mean that the EP is mediocre or bad. On the contrary. He states that the songs were written during the difficult, for all of us, lockdowns of 2020.

Apart from Sakis (who has taken on vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and production), Fotis Benardo (SiXforNinE, Nightfall, ex-Septicflesh etc.) participates in drums, Angelos Karatzas (Domination Inc.) in additional keyboards and in narrations Stratis Steele (Endomain) and Andrew Liles. Fotis also did the mixing, Angelos was a sound engineer with his brother Aris (Domination Inc.) and George Nerantzis supervised the mastering.

Of the six songs of the EP, I was impressed by “My Salvation” which has no extreme vocals at all but only narrations and choirs and “Ad Astra” whose icy melodies made me feel that it was forgotten material from “Non Servian”/“Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers” era. The EP was supposed to be released only in digital form but in was printed in CD given only by Metal Hammer magazine, as a gift from Sakis to those who have been following his music for so many years.

A really great release, with the only downside being of course the duration, since it is a little less than half an hour. But still, it is something to keep company to all the fans of Rotting Christ until the next work of the band. Which I wonder how it will sound and if it will follow a different direction from “Among The Fire Of Hell”.