Last night, I saw the world-renowned Black Metal Band Rotting Christ from Greece. I was really excited for this show and man, they didn’t disappoint!
First of all, the venue!
The gig was at one of the best venues in Ankara – sound system and lighting-wise – If Performance Hall. The venue which is run by Gokhan Inanc successfully and professionally, is now even better after the renovations.
It is not huge but I am one of those who prefer bar gigs to stadium gigs. I believe being within the same zip code with your favourite musicians, the chance to greet them when they are enjoying their after show beer, getting eye contact every now and again during the gig adds to the experience immensely.
After I have seen the subtle renovations brought If one step closer to the good venues of Europe I started off the night happy… and, thankfully, I kept being happy the whole night!
Before Rotting Christ, two brilliant Turkish metal bands, Sheltersiege and Raven Woods, had their impressive performances. It is endearing to see these folks doing world-class music. Of course, at this point I should say that they are not very happy with the fact that they do not get the attention they get in the world arena in their home countries. I happen to agree with them as well, you would want to have an audience in your own country! In case you are interested to hear their work, just check out their (Raven Woods) latest album, Enfeebling the Throne, released via the Italian label CODE666.
Now, on to the giants of the evening, Rotten Christ!
Rotting Christ like to renew themselves with each album, keeping with the times while at the same time keeping to their roots. What I mean is, get ready to get some extra flavour from the new album ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΕΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ, in addition to the usual Greek cuisine they integrate into their music.
I am someone who is happy to evolve with the bands she loves. I don’t get cross with bands just because they haven’t released the same thing as they did before; on the contrary, I love bands that experiment, grow, and innovate. Rotting Christ is just the band that falls within the description. They enrich their sound with each album and speaking of richness of the sound, you may have noticed that I said Rotting Christ is a Black Metal band but I should tell you that folk, gothic and doom elements are a part of their sound as well. What a tasteful blend!
Now, playing the free association game, speaking of sound, quality of production is a vital element of an album. I should confess here that I can’t go through the opening song if the production quality is low – and I am forced to put away the tens of promotional material I receive daily. In order for me to to appreciate the song writing, the mastery of instruments, quality of the vocals, the solos, the riffs, the production has to be crystal clear. Nowadays, a high quality sound and an advanced post production effort are not items of luxury anymore but the industry standards. I reckon Rotting Christ understand the importance of this aspect as on their last album, they worked with one of the most successful sound engineers alive for the mixing and mastering. Yes, ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΕΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ was mixed and mastered at the Fascination Street Studios, by Jens Bogren himself. Christ is already famous for creating rich atmospheres and Swedish sound engineer has clearly lifted the sound to a new level.
Another intriguing aspect of the album is the languages used on the lyrics. Their songs mostly talk about Greek Mythology and ancient civilisations (no, not religion as their name suggests) while the lyrics are now, on top of English and Greek, obviously, are in Romanian, Russian –I kid you not – Sumerian, Latin and Mayan.
Now, back to the show!
For their performance yesterday evening, the band had prepared an impressive and catchy setlist for the audience. I can tell you that the level of excitement was high and steady throughout the whole concert! Even I, standing at the back, critically watching everything, the venue, the show, with the anticipation that I’d be writing about it, can’t really remember at what point I was swept into the excitement and into the concert… I found myself rocking out, banging my head with a torn tendon.
At this point, I should congratulate the sound tech for a freaking amazing job! I arrived at the venue early to interview the impressing frontman, Sakis Tolis and saw everything with my very own eyes. From the sound check to the last note of the show, he was so focussed on delivering the perfect sound so that we could have one impeccable sound quality throughout. It was all CD quality and I can’t remember any problems aside from one half second feedback.
Rotting Christ had a show the evening before, but their stage show was highly energetic, they gave their all to the stage and they engaged with the audience throughout. It was clear that the two relatively new members who joined Rotting Christ in last December were at home with the band; their show and their interactions were highly organic or at least, as a member of the audience, this was my impression.
The Rotting Christ show yesterday evening is one of the best shows I had the chance of seeing within the last 12 months, with the crazy, crazy amount of applause after each track, the beautiful and impressive drum work by Themis Tolis, delicious guitar sound, tasty solos, Sakis’ constant interaction with the audience as well as his modest and friendly demeanour after the show…
I wish you were there!
Oh, before I forget, as you can see in the featured image I interviewed the talented musician before the show, which you will see on these pages soon. I couldn’t ask my usual lady O questions though. You know I like digging deeper into their music. Who knows, maybe I can get another interview some time soon. Finally, expect an album review too!