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The spiritual journey of Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ may be making a bid for the world’s most epic metal band, but for mainman Sakis Tolis, the only riches he’s after lie within

"I’m 44 years old, I have too many responsibilities and no free time at all. I had to beat my demons, to find some free time to escape from this life, and to create something that is unique. These are the demons you have to fight, and sometimes you don’t want to fight. But I like to fight to the end.”

It would be something of a shock to hear Sakis Tolis, the man behind a band called Rotting Christ, speak of backing down from a fight. But the name is not the story of the band. The Greeks successfully morphed from an infernal underground thunder in the early-to-mid 90s into a quasi-goth metal band around the turn of the century. They then promptly went back to acerbic viciousness for 2007’s stunning Theogonia, and have spent every record since getting simultaneously nastier and (bar 2010’s slightly mixed AEALO) better and more epic. Latest album Rituals is not the sound of a band mellowing out well into their third decade of existence, but of a dark, hypnotic exorcism of the demons within.

“When I was a kid, everyone said metal was music for kids. The more I grow up, the more appetite I have for fierce metal creation,” says Sakis. “I’m true to my own spirit, and I love what I’m doing. I take metal very seriously. Some people just think, ‘I was a kid and listened to metal – I was bad – but now I’m grown up’ and all this bullshit. I have also grown up, but I’m still into metal music because I’m faithful to my roots.”


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