Rotting Christ - Sanctus Diavolos review


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Band: Rotting Christ
Album: Sanctus Diavolos
Release date: September 2004

01. Visions Of A Blind Order
02. Thy Wings Thy Horns Thy Sin
03. Athanatoi Este
04. Tyrannical
05. You My Cross
06. Sanctimonius
07. Serve In Heaven
08. Shades Of Evil
09. Doctrine
10. Sanctus Diavolos

Along with the Norwegian scene in the late 80s/early 90s there was another scene that was trying to get out of the lairs of darkness, the Greek black metal scene. To some of you might sound funny, "the Greek black metal scene", but there were bands just like Rotting Christ, Necromantia and Varathron that had their very own style setting the flames of Hell alight in the South along with their black metal brothers in the North. The years were passing by and Rotting Christ after they formed a cult name in the underground black metal scene, they reach nowadays, being a well-known and respected band in the extreme sound, with "Sanctus Diavolos".

"Sanctus Diavolos", Saint Devil in other words, the Devil as a holy figure, a God in the place of God. In nowadays' society where everything is collapsing, love, ethics, beliefs, emotions and the only real god is fame, money, luxury and God in Heaven has formed his very own system from which he receives the earthly delights without any shame i guess it isn't bad to serve the Devil, a figure that "opened" the eyes of the human race by giving them the "forbidden fruit", utter knowledge, the knowledge that the "loving" Father had forbidden. The Devil, a misunderstood figure throughout the centuries, the seeker of utter wisdom, the one that defied the "written" rules of the Father to finally know, to finally see blinded no more

"Sanctus Diavolos", many steps forward for the sound of Rotting Christ, an elegiac work in which Necromayhem and his companions rise from the abyss of their souls evoking an intense dark feeling, an evil atmosphere taking the darkness of "Khronos" many steps further sounding more affected since Septic Flesh's Chris Antoniou has arranged the orchestrations of the choir taking part in the album. The guitars keep the characteristic sound of Rotting Christ but in this album the guitar parts sound a bit different, harsher and having a raw sound. Concerning the vocals now, Necromayhem howls in the renowned way that he always did but sounding more aggressive this time bringing forth memories of the glorious past; also in this album there are moments with the vocals being back in the production or sounding distorted while reciting evoking an eerie feeling in the air making the whole atmosphere more intense. The rhythm section, in perfect harmony with the vocals, the guitars and the choir and synth moments, lends groove to the compositions holding them tight. And now we reach the cover and generally the pictures forming the booklet of the album, ideas and memories coming from the abysmal imagination of Seth (vocalist and bassist of Septic Flesh) pacing with the whole atmosphere of "Sanctus Diavolos". "Here shines the sun of a lower God, the light of Sanctus Diavolos…"

… fiery continuing guitar riffing opens the album with "Visions Of A Blind Order", a composition with awesome guitar work and Necromayhem sounding quite different than before whether he recites with a clear voice or howls with the vocals being back in production. Some symphonic melodies that echo from beyond along with crying guitar sounds, different from the riffing, that enter the song here and there evoke a dark feeling that continues with the operatic beginning of "Thy Wings Thy Horns Thy Sin". The difference from Rotting Christ's previous releases is quite obvious from the structure of this composition that sounds aggressive yet at the same time the choir and the synth-born melodies evoke an intense dark epic feeling in the air. "Athanati Este" follows and continues the album with wonderful lead guitar melodies and static guitar riffing and the ancient Greek recites make the whole atmosphere darker along with the mystic drumming rhythm.

The album flows in up-tempo speed with "Tyrannical" and "You My Cross", two fierce compositions with sharp guitar riffing with the first being more aggressive and the other continuing in a strong way but having also a strange sense of melody with Necromayhem sounding grimmer and more evil in both songs. "Sanctimonius", an instrumental classical composition continues the album with operatic voices echoing and Necromayhem reciting in distortion "Rex Grandis Adustrum, Malum Ab Erevum" to slowly reach "Serve in Heaven" which continues the album with stunning guitar riffing and inspired lead guitar ideas and Necromayhem's eerie interpretation. "Shades of Evil" that follows continues the album in utter darkness with a mystic feeling in the air being evoked by the operatic voices and some synth-born melodies that just evoke atmosphere.

"Doctrine" is a masterpiece and I'm sure it will take its place amongst other great Rotting Christ compositions! What to say about the inspired riffing, Necromayhem's expressive interpretation exuding dark visions, the operatic voices that echo here and there, the whole evil feeling that overruns you while listening to this awesome composition! The album reaches its end with the homonymous composition, "Sanctus Diavolos", the song that touched me most from all the song that consist of the latest dark opus of Rotting Christ. A composition filled with a strange epic melancholy and intense lyricism evoking a mystic feeling in the air based on the operatic voices and the unerring guitar riffing. Necromayhem's interpretation is utterly descriptive evoking the sorrow of the one that chose to defy God, the one that chose to be equal, to know…

"Sanctus Diavolos" is one of the finest releases in the world of extreme metal for 2004, a masterpiece and a wind of change for Rotting Christ. It seems that with every Rotting Christ release Christ keeps on Rotting more and more…


Written on 24.09.2004 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."

Guest review by
GODlike †
The year is 2004 A.C. in a small planet called earth; a minor a dot in the universe, a triviality. But it's also the kingdom of the social species called… humans. In this particular time one man expresses his psychological self with a tribute. A tribute to the evil powers… a tribute to darkness… a tribute to "Sanctus Diavolos." He manages to overcome the triviality of his physical world… he gives color to this world… black… he escapes…

published 14.06.2006 | Comments (2)

Guest review by
In the beginning, the canvas is pure white, the color of an angel's wings.

Then the music starts, staining the purity with evil.

Swathes of dark grey are painted in thick, harsh strokes by guitars, creating a haze of engulfing smoke. The strokes are applied fast, but with cold precision, creating a swirling cloud on the canvas, a picture of calculated chaos - the meat of the unhallowed creation.

published 01.02.2013 | Comments (1)


Comments: 6   Visited by: 122 users
04.04.2008 - 21:10
Well this is indeed a great album, one of the best i've heard from them. Its very strong along the way. You have songs like "tyrannical" and "doctrine" which are quite mindblowing, not literally of course. Rotting Christ is one of the few black metal bands I cherish very deeply. And the fact that they seem so grounded is even more appealing. The bottom line, though, is that they have great albums, and this one is just another great Rotting Christ's album.

Highly recommended to everyone. Good review.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.
14.05.2009 - 16:45
I don't like so much this album... I really don't know why. I may find it slow (for black metal) some times...
Υou've sold your human essence to the cold world of dead and empty things... You're SOLD!
01.11.2009 - 01:11
Great album, but I didn't apreeciated some tracks...
21.11.2009 - 22:22
Liver Failure
Not such a masterpiece imo. It has great moments, but my favorites albums from RC remain in their mid-era.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
02.08.2010 - 13:57
This album is what Rotting Christ is, along with Genesis. If you listen through all RC's albums in one session, you'll hear how the sound develops to harsher and more melodic each time. But when you reach Theogonia you realize that the band kind of abandoned the past and leaped into new age. And if you happen to listen Aelo after all the others, your WTF-meter goes through the roof.

[Should be noted that Sanctus Diavolos: 9.5, Theogonia: 8.7, Aelo: 7.0]
Coffee for power
Music for creativity
Sarcasm for fun
13.01.2015 - 22:38
Stamp Tramp
Huge influence from the Septicflesh contributions. I dig. I'm sure their early stuff was great for the time, but I just can't get into it the way I can with oldschool Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal, etc. For these guys, I much prefer this style.
Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.

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