Music Review: ROTTING CHRIST Pro Xristou

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These individuals from Greece have fearlessly delved into the extensive pool of deeply anti-Christian black metal for many years, challenging the dominant Greek orthodoxy. With their distinct sound and sharply harsh lyrical content, Rotting Christ have come back with another soon-to-be timeless masterpiece that will undoubtedly be loathed by Dave Mustaine and religious political contenders alike. However, admirers of black metal will undeniably adore it.

Pro Xristoy (translation: Before Christ) witnesses the group staying true to their more current sonic direction, wholeheartedly embracing clear, melodious baritone vocals (with a distinctive Greek accent), Benedictine chants, and numerous pinch harmonics. If you appreciate later Rotting Christ albums like Rituals and The Heretics, you will find much to truly admire in this latest record.

Following a slow, gloomy introduction with the title track, we swiftly move into “The Apostate.” This is a classic style tune for Rotting Christ. Abundant melody paired with choral, sung vocals in the backdrop with Sakis Tolis delivering spoken word on top. It’s a breathtaking track that sets the tone for the remainder of the album.

“The Apostate” is an incredibly grandiose track. It might seem hard to surpass, yet our favorite Hellenes manage to do just that with the subsequent piece, “Like Father, Like Son.” Melodic from start to finish, the listener is transported to a scenic Grecian mountaintop, envisioning the beauty of paternal kinship. Additionally, the accompanying video is simply divine.

“The Sixth Day” proceeds similarly to the initial two tracks. It also incites thoughtful contemplation and presents more critical religious lyrics, as expected. “The Sixth Day” is stimulating, yet also quite exquisite simultaneously. These three tracks together on the album are likely some of the finest metal I’ve encountered this year.

Rotting Christ shakes things up a bit by the fifth track, “La Lettera Del Diavolo.” This one is somewhat darker, more dreadful. “The Farewell” also shares a somewhat gloomier soundscape. The band takes you through a plethora of emotions throughout the album. It’s a series of highs and lows that maintain its allure and engagement.

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Within an album full of exceptional tracks, “Pix Lax Dax” appears to be a piece that I repeatedly revisit. I adore the subtle tempo changes, the pinch harmonics reminiscent of John Christ, and the chorus that compels me to sing along in the car. Atmospheric, stunning, and energizing all at once. This composition will undoubtedly send shivers down your spine.

This is yet another absolutely remarkable album from Rotting Christ. While The Heretics was undeniably captivating, I may just favor Pro Xristoy a tad more. Nevertheless, you can’t go wrong with either. Personally, I find these recent releases more appealing compared to their earlier work.

The album is brought to a close with more epically-inspired riffs in songs like “Saoirse,” and bonus tracks “Primal Resurrection” and “All for One,” which are consistently outstanding. You definitely won’t want to miss out on the bonus tracks.

Even after an awe-inspiring thirty-five years and fourteen albums, Rotting Christ may very well be at their pinnacle right now. This is a challenging record to surpass.

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