Rotting Christ
The Heretics


3.3
great

Review

by Simon STAFF
February 16th, 2019 | 80 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rituals 2.0

You don’t need to hire Columbo to discover The Heretics is a deafening echo of Rituals. It’s not a galloping stride into the unknown, nor is it an album that looks into their illustrious past. No, The Heretics, for all intents and purposes, is still very content with exploring the same sounds forged back in 2016 – largely procuring the album’s bombastic crescendos and weighty atmospherics – and it isn’t ashamed to admit as much. The purpose this time around is to manhandle Rituals’s ceremonial hymn style and make a more palatable album out of it. Just as concept-heavy as its predecessor, The Heretics’s central focus is set around various heretics from across history. Still keeping to the same simplistic and repetitive writing style; still employing ritualistic chants; and still delivering the album’s themes with exaggerated absurdity. If these qualities failed to brush you the right way last time, I can’t say there’s much hope for you here, either. This album is the sonic doppelganger of its former; from note sequences and stomping drum work, to compositional transitions being mirrored to eerie extents. Its cannibalization of previous works comes as a large distraction at times, but it should also be understood that this record intentionally grabs Rituals’s structure and works at it from a different angle. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it does leave a lot of room for valid criticisms.

The record has a frustrating infatuation with taking two steps forward and then one step back. Cathartic, energized guitar solos are in abundance here, saving the day more often than not: the commanding fret shredder on “Heaven and Hell and Fire” pulls the roof off the entire song, and makes the simmering verses feel like warranted and justified building blocks; the delivery and passion felt on “Fire God and Fear”’s solo; and “The Sons of Hell”’s melodically sound lead makes the track a far more memorable one. The crux is that, unfortunately, these guitar parts play into a distracting deja vu that deflates some of the punch they could have had. Further problems surface on repeated listens, revealing a dreaded homogenization the more you go back to it. It’s no secret that it’s down to the way Sakis has intentionally written the album, continuing to put his attention on narrative and concept than intricate or colourful riffs. The marching, rhythmic guitar chugs pad out most of the runtime here the same way Rituals did, the difference is they become a detriment to the record’s replayability. The payoff just isn’t as frequent. Luckily the songs don’t suffer too badly from this preference of writing. There’s only one serious misfire here: the prosaic black metal tune “I Believe”, which is an absolute chore to get through after half a dozen listens, not only restraining the band’s creativity, but crushing some of the momentum the album is trying to build upon.

That said, even with the flaws plaguing The Heretics, it’s still a very fun album to listen to. The atmosphere is as oppressive as ever, the sprawling and epic build-ups are still something few bands can craft as well, and the overall theme – though superficially touched on in my opinion – serves as a worthy linchpin to the album’s aesthetic. Stellar highlights prop up in the form of “Fire God and Fear”, which explores groove in a way that is effective and beneficial to the song but adds a new facet to the band’s standard practices. However, these moments are few and far between. You can’t really argue with anyone who wants to call The Heretics out for sounding recycled and derivative, but equally, credit should be given for the way they’ve made these elements enjoyable – in spite of its autopilot approach.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶/̶/̶V̶A̶R̶I̶O̶U̶S̶ ̶B̶U̶N̶D̶L̶E̶S̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://www.heavymetalonline.co.uk/rotting-christ/



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Chart.
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
February 16th 2019


9896 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice review & accurate summary. More ecclesiastical and less tribalistic than Rituals, but it’s definitely a continuity.

Digging: Aoratos - Gods Without Name

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2019


11555 Comments


Nice read! Agreed Notrap, gonna be interesting to see where these guys go from here.

Digging: Airged L'amh - One Eyed God

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2019


137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Was just about to sit down and do a write up for this. But, I honestly have nothing new to offer after reading your review other than I really hate it when bands put spoken word passages over otherwise brilliant songs like they do in The Raven.

TheNotrap
February 16th 2019


9896 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@manosg

I think they need to turn the page next time

manosg
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2019


11555 Comments


Yup, same here.

necropig
February 16th 2019


5153 Comments


Rituals 2.0?

Count me out

Digging: Gomorrah (CAN) - Gomorrah

Hawks
February 16th 2019


68364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love Rituals so I’m sure I’ll love this. Sweet review bro.

Digging: Akasha - Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity

garas
February 16th 2019


237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is awesome.



In my opinion: the guitars could have been a little bit more "dominant", but I still like this.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2019


15209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Cheers guys. Yeah I loved rituals too hawks, let us know what you think of this. It’s good, but sits way too close to the last one imo

Azog
February 16th 2019


121 Comments


In one ear, out the other. Nothing sticks. Formulaic, derivative, and fucking boring.

Avoid.

Hawks
February 16th 2019


68364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You people suck.

chrzn
February 16th 2019


7 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

For the guys that think the album is great, i urge you to listen to the albums prior to kata ton daimona eautou. This and rituals is a commercial pile of turd and an insult to the band's discography

0GuyMan0
February 16th 2019


1790 Comments


lol

rockandmetaljunkie
February 17th 2019


7755 Comments


Sakis Tolis & Co. are still going strong in 2019.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2019


15209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Yeah, 32 years in the game is pree crazy

TheNotrap
February 17th 2019


9896 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Sounds of perseverance

Dedes
February 17th 2019


6321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Only 2 tracks in but Vetyr Zlye vox rule

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2019


15209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I wish hawks would give me his rating, I’m dead curious haha

Dedes
February 17th 2019


6321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Seems like something he'd dig quite a bit if he was a fan of Rituals.

This is a little too simple for it's own good but I'll always have a soft spot for Rotting Christ. Aside from Behemoth they were p much the first legit bm band I got into.

Hawks
February 17th 2019


68364 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hahahaha haven’t jammed yet bro I’m with the gf she’s not with this type of music lmao.



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