When the histories of extreme metal are finally carved in stone and handed down, few bands will command the reverence and respect bestowed upon Gods of metal Rotting Christ. With a storied career spanning over three decades, the Greek titans have become synonymous with boundary-pushing creativity and uncompromising artistic vision, whatever the price. Their latest offering, Pro Xristou, stands not only in tribute to their enduring legacy but also as a pledge to their quest for musical evolution moving forwards.

From the onset, it’s clear that Rotting Christ hasn’t lost an ounce of their ferocity or innovation. The album kicks off with the hauntingly atmospheric title track, Pro Xristou (Προ Χριστού), a paean to pre-Christian deities which serves as a fitting prelude to the auditory journey that lies ahead. As the album unfolds, it becomes evident that Rotting Christ has crafted a work of immense depth and complexity, weaving together elements of melodic black metal and gothic atmospherics with effortless precision. At times the epic feel of tracks like Yggdrasil and Like Father, Like Son, even have the feel of Manowar in their structuring; However it’s questionable that the New York legends could come up with anything as vitally compelling as this in 2024.

Tracks like The Apostate and The Sixth Day showcase the band’s penchant for combining blistering aggression with intricate melodies, resulting in a sonic landscape that is as captivating as it is cathartic. Sakis Tolis‘s vocals are as commanding as ever, delivering his lyrics with a fervent intensity that is impossible to ignore.

Throughout Pro Xristou, Rotting Christ explores themes of ancient wisdom, pagan resistance, and the eternal struggle between tradition and modernity. Each track is steeped in rich symbolism and historical allegory, inviting the listener to delve deeper into the depths of the band’s lyrical tapestry. All hail the reigning kings of the first wave of Philosophical metal!

The production on Pro Xristou is nothing short of stellar, with every instrument given room to breathe while still maintaining a sense of cohesion and unity. The guest musicians, including Amdroniki Skoula on vocals and Nikos Kerkiras on keyboards, add layers of depth and complexity to the album’s sonic palette, further enhancing its immersive quality.

In a genre often characterised by its nihilism and despair, Rotting Christ offers a glimmer of hope and resilience. Pro Xristou is not merely an album, but a testament to the enduring power of music to transcend boundaries and unite listeners in a shared experience of catharsis and redemption. This truly is classic heavy metal in every sense.

With Pro Xristou, Rotting Christ proves once again why they are held in such high regard by fans and critics alike. It’s a bold and ambitious statement from a band that refuses to rest on its laurels, continuing to push the boundaries of extreme metal with each new release, even as some might note that their music has actually never been more accessible. In a world consumed by chaos and uncertainty, Rotting Christ offers a beacon of light and defiance, reminding us of the enduring power of music to uplift and inspire. HAIL!

Pro Xristou releases on May 24th.