When asked about which countries have the greatest Metal bands, Greece certainly has a few that really stand out, with Rotting Christ maintaining their position as the ultimate standard bearers, particularly after the phenomenal success of their previous release, Rituals. All of which piles extra attention and pressure onto their latest album, The Heretics (Season Of Mist), proving their thirteenth album has a tough act to follow.
And true to form, it is the atmosphere that hits you from the get-go, with the band easing into the Blackened Gothic epics. Anthemic ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ is a great track that, while fortunately not an Iron Maiden cover, certainly kept my attention, with a repetitive riff and lyrics proving enchanting, while still feeling fresh and enjoyable. ‘Fire God And Fear’ may be the best track on the whole album as it gives you everything Rotting Christ has to offer: darkened atmospheres and riffs, that builds up to a great guitar solo. Once more, the overall tempo is just perfection, while the last track ‘The Raven’ is the perfect closer. As assumed, it is a song that is about the same named poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The tempo of this song is also perfect, right in the middle of the spectrum. The guitar solo is also of a majestic nature that gets lodges in the brain, being whistled even hours after the song and album ends.
The album takes a while to pick up, easing in rather than hitting its stride from the off, but each track is enjoyable and stands on its own right. The Heretics may not quite hit the heights of its predecessor, but the decision not to rehash and capitalize on their previous work is to be applauded. A strong and solid outing, this Dark Metal group has certainly delivered yet again.
7 / 10