Rotting Christ - Satanas Tedeum review



Reviewer:
N/A

21 users:
7.90
Band: Rotting Christ
Album: Satanas Tedeum
Release date: June 1989


01. The Hills Of The Crucifixion
02. Feast Of The Grand Whore
03. The Nereid Of Esgalduin
04. Restoration Of The Infernal Kingdom
05. The Sixth Communion


Exactly 30 years have passed since the first black metal release from Greece came in the form of Rotting Christ's Satanas Tedeum demo. The Hellenic black metal scene is pretty well-known today among the extreme metal circles, but the journey was not an easy one. In order to understand how influential and pioneering this demo was, you have to be aware of the circumstances and the era in which it was unleashed.

Imagine a time with no internet, no mobile phones, when metal music could only circulate through tape trading, scarce radio shows and fanzines. Greece was a rather conservative place to be back then, a Christian Orthodox country where the church was very powerful. Merely having long hair, wearing tight jeans and black t-shirts with band logos was enough for someone to be considered an outcast or a junkie, as far as public opinion was concerned. At the same time, metal and hooliganism used to go hand in hand in the 1980s; in fact, it was quite common for a concert to end with fans assaulting the riot police and vice-versa.

In this unfriendly climate for metal, the band had the courage to choose the name Rotting Christ and they began playing in an attempt to emulate their idols at the time: Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Possessed, etc. After a brief take on grindcore, which spawned two rehearsal demos, they changed their sound to a black/death hybrid that was put on a tape, entitled Satanas Tedeum. The music in it cannot be called brutal (although it is the most brutal thing the band ever did), but it was definitely extreme and had this occult atmosphere that was going to become a trademark characteristic for the local scene in the years to come.

The sound of this demo was so raw and muddy that only trained ears could stand it even back then, but those trained ears would hear that Rotting Christ had the potential to become a truly unique band. Sakis (Necromayhem at the time) spits out the words in an often unintelligible way with his thick Greek accent that has remained roughly the same through the years, although his delivery here would maybe fit better a death metal band. The eerie and mysterious keyboards are also present and sometimes have a choir-like effect, while faint glimmers of melody peek out from time to time. Some hooks are clearly there as well, but the riffs' complexity is largely nothing to write home about, and the same goes for the drumming because the Tolis brothers were not exactly proficient musicians in the beginning of it all. The bass is very audible at times, especially in the opening track, "The Hills Of The Crucifixion", but just seems to hide behind the super-fuzzy guitar in other instances.

Despite the shortcomings, that mainly have to do with performance and sound, the songs are actually quite good and the frequent change of pace in Satanas Tedeum makes it an interesting listen, not solely for historical purposes. Its raw enthusiasm and evil atmosphere marked the beginning of a new black metal movement around the same time when Norwegian black metal was being born. The two scenes undoubtedly influenced each other; according to Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver fame, Euronymous had told him about the slow, dark and sinister "Feast Of The Grand Whore" that it had 'the most evil riff ever'.

Indeed, it did and was the sign of greater things to come.


 



Written on 10.08.2019 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 31 users
10.08.2019 - 18:43
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Oh Lord, will my notifications be mostly Rotting Christ reviews from now on?

Because I certainly don't mind
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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10.08.2019 - 18:44
Netzach
Such an account of this band's cultural standing, and whatnot. You know what I mean. This is a really great write-up!
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What can change the nature of a man?
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10.08.2019 - 18:54
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by RaduP on 10.08.2019 at 18:43

Oh Lord, will my notifications be mostly Rotting Christ reviews from now on?

Because I certainly don't mind

Not mostly, but you'll get some of those too in the future
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10.08.2019 - 19:01
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 10.08.2019 at 18:54

Not mostly, but you'll get some of those too in the future

Assuming you're going chronologically, are Passage To Arcturo and Thy Mighty Contract next or are you doing that Monumentum Split and the Ade's Winds demo too?
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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10.08.2019 - 19:01
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Netzach on 10.08.2019 at 18:44

Such an account of this band's cultural standing, and whatnot. You know what I mean. This is a really great write-up!

Thanks for the feedback, I really do appreciate it. This band holds a very special place in my heart, ever since the day I heard "The Nereid Of Esgalduin" on the radio and the producer who presented the show had a worse accent than Sakis
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10.08.2019 - 19:14
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by RaduP on 10.08.2019 at 19:01

Assuming you're going chronologically, are Passage To Arcturo and Thy Mighty Contract next or are you doing that Monumentum Split and the Ade's Winds demo too?

I probably won't go chronologically and certainly won't do short releases with songs that are also featured in full albums. Thy Mighty Contract has a very good staff review already so there is no need for another one. The next one is probably going to be Triarchy Of The Lost Lovers. Passage To Arcturo will also definitely get a review at some point.
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10.08.2019 - 19:25
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 10.08.2019 at 19:01

Thanks for the feedback, I really do appreciate it. This band holds a very special place in my heart, ever since the day I heard "The Nereid Of Esgalduin" on the radio and the producer who presented the show had a worse accent than Sakis

When was that exactly?
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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11.08.2019 - 02:20
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by RaduP on 10.08.2019 at 19:25

When was that exactly?

1990 probably.
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12.08.2019 - 14:03
Bad English
Masterchief
Greece still is ortodox country and those days hehe hooligans well illiapolos remember it in volos. Somehow there was less metal bands in pre i net days, but their quallity was better, as now when we have more internet bands
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Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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