Rotting Christ | Interview with Sakis Tolis

[Rotting Christ]

Twenty years after they began their epic and arduous journey through the darkest and heaviest side of metal music, Greece’s Rotting Christ remains one of the most consistent and interesting bands of nowadays, always sticking to their guns creatively and gradually building their successful career without missing a step. Their latest work “Aealo” is already regarded as one of 2010 greatest works and quite possibly their finest and most complete album to date.
Vocalist, guitarist, main composer and mastermind Sakis Tolis must be vindicated and feeling proud of what he and his mates have accomplished throughout the years, principally considering they had to face many trials and tribulations due to their ostensively blasphemous moniker. Scratch the Surface had to find out more about “Aealo” and where comes the fire that keeps the Greeks going and inspires them to produce such great and strong music, so we approached Sakis through e-mail for a little chat. Read on…

You’ve been doing this for 21 years, what would you say is the key to Rotting Christ's longevity?

“Our deep dedication to the Metal way of life, I can’t think of any other reason. Let me think…hmmm no money, no comfortable life, many sacrifices…hmm… We are addicted to Metal bro!”
I remember Tom Araya from Slayer once stating in a interview that he didn’t imagined himself growing old and playing this type of music, even though right now he is running up to his 50 and still there’s no sign of wearing off or slowing down.
Do you have any plans of stopping and doing other styles of music, or are you just going indefinitely with Rotting Christ for as long as possible?

“Such personalities give me power to keep on creating and when sometimes I have those strange feelings about life…what am I doing, why I am doing this, I think of such musicians that even some of them are reaching the age of 60 and still rock and I say to myself…I will keep on struggling. My goal is to die on the stage!”

Going into more specific about the new album, you must be pretty pleased with the critical response so far, I mean it was album of the month in several publications like Terrorizer and Metal Hammer?

“Yes that makes me proud, I do not hide. I am really honoured that our new album ‘AEALO’ has been embraced from the audience worldwide in a really positive way. That’s my goal and that’s why I am still creating music. To talk to people souls and it seems that ‘AEALO’ has managed to do so.”

“Aealo” displays a marked progression for the group and introduces new elements into their sound, it could be described as a more diverse and adventurous album with the band further exploring new levels of melody and new arrangements. There are a number of diverse layers and different instruments included, and a dash of classic metal riffing and various vocalizations that add a sense of drama to the songs, without a doubt their most Mediterranean work to date.
What were the predominant inspirations and driving forces behind the creation of "Aealo", I’ve heard that it was a difficult album to piece together?

“Yes it was a really difficult album. As an artist I had to surpass my abilities. So I took really seriously the composing process and I isolated for more than a year in order to find out a way for unexplored paths of my soul. I worked different this time, I was based more on the thoughts and less on playing guitar, I philosophized a lot, I slept a little and I finally came up with ‘AEALO’. An album that I want to believe that will bring the band a step up and judging by the first feedback I think that we did managed to create a worthy and maybe better work than ‘THEOGONIA’, where we started heading towards this Greek direction. ‘AEALO’ is our most Hellenic outcome ever and opens a new era for the band.”

“Aealo” which translates as destruction in Hellenic is a concept album (a first for Rotting Christ) revolving around war and the feelings that emanate in a battlefield. The band aimed to convey the new album with the various feelings and emotions that only a catastrophic experience like a war can create, just like a soundtrack to an epic war movie. If “Aealo” could be compared to a classic war movie, what would it be?

“It is a soundtrack brother…Nothing to do with a warlike album though. It just trip you into a battlefield, something like the ‘300’ movie if you want to reference it to a movie picture. It’s all to do with art here and there are no political things or such bullshit.”

So now that “Aealo” is available to the public, what do you think is the next step for the band? There’s a new European tour with Bolt Thrower already lined-up for the promotion of the album right?

“Hitting the road performing in every corner of this planet where a metal heart beats.
The ‘AEALO’ tour will pass through many places from various lands and I am pretty sure that will pass through your land too. Till then…KEEP THE HORNS RISING”

David Alexandre

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