Edgar Allan Poe’s oft referenced poem The Raven, gets the Rotting Christ treatment in the 3rd single from their soon to be released album, The Heretics.
The iconic black/death metallers 13th studio album is due out on February 15th via Season of Mist. We have been treated to two absolutely brilliant singles so far. The first is Fire God & Fear and you can read our review of it here. The second is Heaven & Hell & Fire and you can read about that one here.
Having formed way back in the 80’s, Rotting Christ have proven to be one of the most consistent bands in their area. As years have passed, they have also shown themselves to be one of the most creative and expansive bands within the genre. They are metal icons in every sense of the word. Their consistency in part comes from them managing to keep the backbone of the band together since the beginning. On lead vocals, rhythm guitars and keys we have Sakis Tolis and on drums, his brother Themmis Tolis. Both original founding members. They are joined by lead guitarist, George Emmanuel and bassist, Vagelis Karzis who both joined in 2012. Being such a multi layered band, all members add backing vocals as well.
So, to The Raven. While hardly a unique subject to cover, Rotting Christ apply their unique sound to the poem. At just under 5 minutes long, it is the longest of the singles realeased from the Heretics thus far. Mainly as the original, released in 1845, is a long poem. As you would expect The Raven is dark and multi layered with all of Rotting Christ signature style lashed upon it. Thick atmospherics chanting/backing leads into a thunderous drum beat and dollops of bone shaking bass. The guitars play a higher, ominous riff as the rough and powerful vocals spit fire over the top.
After the first verse, the lead guitars take off a bit and the drums pick up pace while the vocals switch to spoken word. So far we have a stanza of the poem in uncleans and then that is followed by a stanza in spoken word. This pattern continues for the next part with an aggressive verse followed by a spoken stanza. It works really well. After the second set of mixed verses, we move into a layered instrumental with a lovely chugging riff. This picks up power and volume as the rest of the poem is relayed over a thick mix of guitars, bass and atmosphere. It builds and builds before heading into a superb solo. The solo then builds into a gruff verse jam packed full of power and intensity before the final verses of the poem are spoken over a soaring lead line.
Rotting Christ don’t do things by half do they. Though covering a well covered subject, they absolutely make The Raven their own, making it sound fresh and exhilarating. The vocals are powerful, the guitars sound amazing but it is the full, atmospheric soundscape they create that excites. Everything has a place and every instrument, every note, works as one. This is why they are so well respected, this is why their previous singles are so good and this is why The Heretics could well be the best album you will hear in 2019.
Grab a copy of The Raven at all the usual streaming platforms now. Preorder a copy of The Heretics now at Season of Mist by following the link. Keep up to date with Rotting Christ news at their website and on Facebook and keep a watch out for more from the new album. It is shaping up to be a banger.
Rotting Christ have also been announced as the Thursday night headliner as 2019’s Bloodstock Festival. You won’t want to miss that! Grab your tickets from here.
The Raven by Rotting Christ (The Heretics)
The Final Score - 9/10