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Rotting Christ: Theogonizing black metal

Rotting Christ: Theogonizing black metal
BANDS : Rotting Christ

We talked with Sakis, vocalist and guitarist of Rotting Christ, about the latest record of the band, Theogonia: "first came the idea, then its manifestation", he said. He told us everything we wanted to know about the ancient spirit of their black metal:


Andreas, Sakis, Themis, George


Hello Sakis! How is Rotting Christ doing these days?
Hello there… I guess we are doing something like you or like everybody is doing… Running and running in order to catch time but unfortunately we can not. So you can guess things are quite busy down here.

You have a new record, called Theogonia. What is the concept of the new album? Is there a definite theme that links the songs together?
The whole concept of the new album was inspired from the ancient Greek myth about cosmogony. And in particular from Hessiod’s  book Theogonia which so visually expresses the genesis of cosmos, the genesis of Chaos, Night, Erevos, Titans, Phobos, notions that can so easily be adapted into Rotting Christ lyrically and musically. [It is a] dark and apocryphal concept. So, the genesis of Chaos, the nothingness out of which the first objects of existence appeared, gave us inspiration to write the song  ΧΑΟΣ ΓΕΝΕΤΟ (The Sign of Prime Creation). The same goes with Erevos (the darkness of the underworld) or Tartarus (a place of eternal torment and suffering). Meanings like the birth of the titan Phobos made us reveal our most hidden feelings and write a song about Phobia (fear).

Some of the song titles are not English words, why is that, and what is their translation? (Keravnos Kivernitos, Nemecic, Enuma Elish, Gaia Tellus, Rege Diabolicus, Helios Hyperion…)
Yes, we used names from ancient civilizations. Names like those you mentioned above, that are taken from the ancient Greece, the Roman empire, the Sumerian empire. We put this ancient spirit in our music because we simply felt like creating something like this.

You produced and recorded Theogonia entirely by yourselves. Tell us more about how this album was actually written and recorded. Are you satisfied with the final result?
I can proudly announce that Theogonia is an 100% Rotting Christ product, as I did the composing process, the production, the mixing and the mastering exclusively by myself. Having been working with so many producers all these years and having studied sound engineering, I think that I have reached the level of doing the job by myself.  A job that ONLY me should worry about and not a producer or a manager.

Which are, in your opinion the main differences between Theogonia and Sanctus Diavolos?
Less diabolical, but more soulful and occult; less dirty production-wise, but more clearer, with more emphasis based on the guitars and on our trademark melodies.

Last time we spoke (Sanctus Diavolos era), you said that you will probably use some ethnic elements on your future albums. Theogonia proves you were right and some of the new songs are featuring choirs and traditional instruments. How are you going to play those songs live?
Yes, we used quite enough traditional and ethnic elements on our new album, inspired mainly from the ancient Greek culture, as well as from the Mesopotamian civilization. It is a pain to perform that live properly, but we synchronize everything with click and we do it successfully. Keep an eye, or  even better, keep an ear open when we will play in your country this April.

How was the feedback regarding your last album until now?
Having somehow grown immune to reviews through the years, this is the first time I can say that the great majority of the reviews we have received are positive and that makes me at least proud that, after 10 albums, the band can still release an album that attracts the listeners.

Looking back on your discography retrospectively, what is it that makes Theogonia different from the albums you have done before? What is the step forward?
The addition of the ethnic and traditional elements that are in connection with our country’s ancient history, as well as the emphasis we have given to the guitars. I do not know if Theogonia is our best record to date, but it definitely is our most soulful.



Were you the only composer of this latest album? Have you isolated yourself in order to come with something new, some fresh ideas?
Yes, that’s true and I paid a lot of attention to the composing process. I spent more than a year in this process in order to get ideas for the new songs. It was too easy for me to just grab my guitar and to start writing some new riffs. This way, I could have finished a new album in couple of months. But I actually wanted to create something different, something that can put something more into this edifice that is called Rotting Christ. So, my first worry was to catch the idea of a song, to see if there was a reason that should be created something that woke me up and being sometimes my nightmare when it was time to sleep. I have found myself waking up suddenly into the night, with an idea that came to me all of a sudden, then I grabbed my guitar and tried to give a life to that idea. So, first it was the idea and then its manifestation.

In our previous interview you told me that your new album will feature a bonus free DVD with lot of live material. All the Theogonia formats will include this DVD or it will be only a limited special edition?
Yes, the DVD includes parts from our last worldwide tour as well as the making off the album as well as our new video clip.

Theogonia features a new guitar player in the band. Tell us about how you met George. Could you give us a few details about his musical background?
George is a brand new member that joined permanently after doing a couple of tours with us. Besides his great abilities on the guitar, he is a personality that can fit well with the rest of bands’ members. He also used to play with Nightfall.

From where do you draw your inspiration to write such amazing songs? Isn’t it hard to compose a different new album talking into consideration the fact you already did this ten times before?
Yes, I do not hide that the composition process turns to be more and more difficult, as I have to create something that can move the band a step forward, without recycling old ideas. I am some kind of an anxious personality and this drives me to keep searching and searching well hidden parts of my soul that I have never disclosed before. If one day I will wake up and realize that I came to the end of this selfexploration, then I will quite the band… But for now, it seems that the path is long…

You have now a record deal with Season of Mist. Why did you choose this label and why didn’t you extend the validity of the contract with Century Media?
Yes, after a 10 years cooperation with Century Media, our deal has expired and we have split up in a really friendly way. I did not have any real problem with our relationship, but time has come to breathe some fresh air and to try something different, on a smaller, but really promising label, that fits our music better. We can have a more direct touch and the priority they will give to the band is the biggest possible. We are looking forward to see how the relationship with Season of Mist will turn out, but so far, it seems that everything will go well.

Anti-Christian attitude is usually used by black metal bands to shock the audience and draw their attention. But your motivations seem to go beyond this need for attention, since your band has gradually established a reputation and a wide fan base. What is it that is still fueling this unfriendliness of yours towards religion?
Religion is the biggest and the most organized deception controlling the masses in the contemporary human history... So, as anyone might have guessed just by looking at the band’s name, our view is definitely negative on any kind of religion. We support the freedom of the mind, something that no religion around encourages, and something that [Dave] Mustaine does not accept. Ok, he was the headliner of that festival, so he was in the position to choose the opening acts, but as metalheads we keep on fighting against any kind of gagging.

How is the band regarded as in your home country? You are one of Greece's biggest musical exports, a country that is known as very religious, yet you are spreading an anti-religious message.
Yes, we still keep the spirit alive and spread the message from inside a fundamentalist country. And even if our name has been shown on the news and in the newspapers, we keep creating our “cursed” job.

I know fame has no importance for you but your band's following is quite large, do you consider yourselves to be some kind of underground rockstars (ha ha)?
We consider ourselves underground, we follow our roots and we have an anti-rock star attitude, something that fits well with our personalities. We do not play music to be famous, we play music to reach into other people’s hearts…



How important are the lyrics for you? Are they just some words, just to have something to sing about, or is the attitude and the concept as important as the music is?
It is an important matter, but not that much as the music… If all of the world was speaking the same language, then yes. But who can understand a death metal band, for instance, when he sings in English?

Back in the days you started the band, Greece did not have an important heavy metal scene or tradition for playing heavy metal. Did you ever see this as a drawback for the career of the band?
Yes, it is a kind of a drawback… If our band came up from Scandinavia, then things would be much better for the band, but what can we do… We were born on this side of Europe and we keep on with much strength. And believe me, generally, people that are not that much advanced for any reason are forced to work harder than the others and that makes them better…

What kind of music are you listening to nowadays? Do you consider Dimmu Borgir still a black metal band?
I am trying to follow the scene as much as possible, so I spend most of my time listening to new albums as well as to the newcomers on the scene. When I’m not listening to Metal, I am searching for traditional, soulful music, local music from strange countries… For instance a song from a village in Andes can influence me….
Concerning Dimmu Borgir now, yes, I do believe that they play black metal and I really like what they are creating.

I know you are planning two extensive European tours, which will include a lot of countries and venues. But I can’t find on your travel map a Romanian town. Don’t tell us Rotting Christ will miss Romania in this trip, because a lot of metalfans want to see you playing here again.
We have just confirmed the last part of our tour and we hit Balkans on the 14 of April and specifically Bucharest so all you metalfans see you there! [meanwhile, the concert date has been changed to April 11th]

Are you planning to record a new full DVD maybe after this tour?
Yes, a DVD that will be shot in Athens in October and it will also include many hours taken from our long history as a band. We will try to make it as detailed as possible.

Thank you very much for this interview and we hope to see you live soon

Till 14th of April… [it's April 11th, actually]





Autor: Klawz, Dragos P.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Rotting Christ

   February 02, 2007  | 7 Comments  | 35533 Views « BACK

Comment on: Rotting Christ: Theogonizing black metal

  • Bai ei zic ca vin dar pe site-ul oficial nu zice nimic...

    1. Posted by Sparky | 07 Februarie 2007 18:23
  • comentariul meu: mai uitate o data...baietzii sau tzinut de cuvant...:D...o sa fie pizdos concertu...

    2. Posted by kHristian | 20 Februarie 2007 00:21
  • super tare o sa fie concertul care imi da mai multe informatzi??? intratzi pe id meu ironmaiden_eddie18

    3. Posted by eddie cannibalu' | 11 Martie 2007 14:11
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