Review Summary: Courage is a kind of salvation.Fact #1
: A Dead Poem
, at the time of its release, was Rotting Christ's breakthrough and is still their most commercially successful album.
: During RC's mid-period, and particularly during the conception of Sleep of the Angels
, Sakis Tolis was dealing with depression, which had a direct impact on the sound of the aforementioned 1997-99 albums.
: Rotting Christ's success, considering the circumstances in Greece during the late-'80s and early-'90s, is nothing short of a miracle, which, in large, became reality due to Sakis Tolis' courage, perseverance, and work ethic.
So when he was forced to abstain from touring as a result of the consecutive lockdowns, he had to fight depression once again and, consciously or not, decided to revisit Rotting Christ's mid-period. Therefore, Among the Fires of Hell
is an externalization of Tolis' psyche during that era and a deeply personal affair. Of course, it's also a fine slab of blackened gothic metal which will definitely appeal to those who consider A Dead Poem
Right from the bat, the title track's opening verse, "let me sleep the sleep of the angels", is a direct reference to 1999's homonymous album and a mission statement. The aforementioned track is one of the standouts, with its infectious groove and impressive leads that feel as if they're rooted in the Greek tradition. Of course, not everything is within Sakis' comfort zone. "My Salvation", for example, is the first song in his career where he utilizes only clean vocals that bring to mind Nick Holmes. This song probably describes most Tolis' state of mind during the quarantine but also features some compelling spoken lyrics. In fact, as melancholic as Among the Fires of Hell
is, it is also motivating and uplifting due to its epic guitar leads and motivational quotes in almost every song. This is a prime example of an artist communicating directly with his fans about common issues during a difficult time in everyone's lives and providing encouragement.
Now, Among the Fires of Hell
is not all about reminiscence, as it also contains elements from Christ's modern material scattered within songs in the form of war-like rhythms or vocal patterns. Unfortunately, the one occasion that seems to escape the mid-period rule, "Silence", is the EPs weakest track. Nevertheless, that shouldn't deter you from checking Tolis' inaugural release, as it's quite spectacular if you're into RC's 1997-99 material and a solid slab of atmospheric metal.