Rotting Christ

Godset, Kolding - 2019

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

One of the biggest disappointments of this summer, was that we weren’t able to see the entire show Rotting Christ played at Metaldays. Now, we were finally about to make up for that.

“Alright, Danish Viking metal warriors! Are you ready to fight!?”
- Sakis Tolis (vocals/guitar)


Rotting Christ stood out from the other bands of the evening in more than way. For one thing, where both Silver Dust before them, and Moonspell after, used costumes and theatrics to enhance their shows, Rotting Christ just went on stage and performed. Tight pants and leather vests is all it takes.
Neither was the stage elaborately decorated like with the others. A The Heretics backdrop, and the Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού demons decorating the twin bass drums, that was all.
What Rotting Christ didn’t bring in stage dressing and superfluous decorations, they brought home with pure presence instead. Presence, and a good measure of positive mood.

The band opened with the slow chant-like ΧΞΣ, which was followed by Sakis Tolis saying a version of Revelations 13:18, more commonly known as the speech at the beginning of Iron Maiden’s The Number Of The beast.
After this, we were lead fast into dub-saĝ-ta-ke, and here the action began to take form. More headbanging erupted, and the band truly got to show their form. Kostas Heliotis (bass) and Kostis Foukarakis (guitar) both proved to be well integrated in the band, delivering music, backing vocals, and energetic performances on level with Sakis Tolis. Heliotis was more inclined to connect with the audience than Fourakakis, but that’s ok, a bit of dynamics have never hurt anyone. Sakis Tolis on the other hand was all smiles, when not singing, and he walked, jumped, and lived the music in a manner that left little room to think that he did anything less than love every minute of this. Themis Tolis was a bit more anonymous, hidden as he was in the back, and while the playing was on point, I wouldn’t have minded a bit more active participation in the performance as well.

There were definitely more people around to watch Rotting Christ, than there had been for Silver Dust before them, yet while there were good cheers between songs, and a good deal of headbanging in them, the crowd simply couldn’t deliver the same amount of energy that the band did. The most evident example of this came when Sakis Tolis called for a wall of death at the start of Societas Satanas. The crowd split willingly enough, but when the countdown was done, and the song shot off, people were simply standing still, looking bewildered as to what to do next. Finally, one guy sauntered out onto the floor, and was followed by three or four more, who proceeded to get a small but effective moshpit going. Well done by them, but it could and should have been wilder, considering what the band was bringing to the table.

Rotting Christ soldiered on however, and gave us a good length setlist with a variety of songs. Surprisingly, only two songs were taken from The Heretics, whereas the strong Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού had the most entries of the night. No complaints from here though, the only addition I would really like to have had, off the top of my head, would have been Ἐλθὲ κύριε (Elthe Kyrie).
This wasn’t the strongest Rotting Christ performance I have ever seen, but they did a great job nonetheless, and they delivered the most engaging show of the night. Not bad, because they had some strong competition in the other bands.

Setlist:

ΧΞΣ
dub-saĝ-ta-ke
Fire, God And Fear
Κατά τον δαίμονα του εαυτού
Ἄπαγε Σατανά (Apage Satana)
Dies Irae
The Forest Of N’Gai
Societas Satanas (Thou Art Lord cover)
Δαίμονων Βρωσης
In Yumen-Xibalba
Grandis Spiritus Diavolos
Non Serviam

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