Greek brothers Sakis and Themis Tolis initially founded Rotting Christ as Black Church in 1985. It was around that very time that the Second Wave of black metal was beginning to miraculously emerge over 2,000 miles north in Scandinavia, making the duo a most unlikely and unexpected musical force. Rotting Christ might be from warmer climates, but they have a rightful stake for their influence in evolving black metal sounds and have gained equal – if not more – notoriety than most black metal acts for their band title over the years, with certain Government authorities forcing them to cancel performances and other angered fundamentalists turning up to protest their shows. But all of that hasn’t and still isn’t getting them down. More than 25 years on from their formation, they have completed and released album number 11, with the stunning ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’. Just hours before its European release, I talked with frontman, guitarist and main composer Sakis Tolis about the new direction of the album, the financial turmoil in Greece and the controversy that has followed them across the globe.
Belgian black metallers Saille first appeared on our radars when they released debut album ‘Irreversible Decay’ in 2011. The symphonic sextet are reappearing on our radars again in 2013, not as a mere metallic blip on the horizon, but as a cyclonic force, with the strength of unstoppable second record ‘Ritu’ backing them. I interviewed vocalist Dennie grondelaers, guitarist Reinier Schenk and founder/keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen about ancient paganism, death rites and the recording of a masterpiece.