Fans of Greek black metal, rejoice!
If you ever wanted to know the detailed story behind the legendary Rotting Christ, author Dayal Patterson has put together the ultimate tome of evil existence! Cult Never Dies, Dayal’s black metal publishing machine, will release Non-Serviam: The Official Story of Rotting Christ on November 30, 2018. The book is a joint operation between Dayal and Sakis Tolis, the guitarist and vocalist (who’s also the brother of drummer, Themis).
Despite being the most highly influential and recognized member of their scene, Rotting Christ still doesn’t get quite the accolades they deserve. I’d say this is broadly true of their countrymen in Varathron, Kawir and other bands as well, as the Greek scene tends to get overshadowed by those of colder climates. But perhaps if more people could learn the details behind the band’s origins and style, this might begin to get rectified. Indeed, the band’s sound is highly recognizable, regardless of the what era it comes from: their early mish-mash of grind/goth/death-ish black metal, their stellar mid-90s run, or their modern theatrical records. They’re also a fantastic live act, as I witnessed back in 2016 on tour with Carach Angren and Necronomicon.
In his first book, Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult, Dayal dedicated an entire chapter to Rotting Christ and gave a solid, high-level accounting of the band’s history up to that point. But when I talked to him, he made it clear to my why the story merited it’s own volume:
It was obvious when I was writing ‘Evolution Of The Cult’, that one chapter would not be enough space to tell the story of a band that has existed for some 30 years, and which has more than 10 albums in their discography. And so over the next year or two I would mention the idea of writing a full-length book about the band whenever I spoke to Sakis – which was fairly often, often enough at least for him to eventually be persuaded that the idea could work.
The group’s discography and ever-evolving sound would be enough to create an interesting book, but Rotting Christ’s journey as a fiercely underground band to something close to a mainstream extreme metal success story, complete with line-up changes and plenty of internal and external conflict, makes this an even more compelling tale. We worked for three years in the end, along the way bringing in co-founders Jim Mutilator (who hadn’t really given interviews since leaving the band) and Themis Tolis (who never gave a full interview in 30 years!) to be part of the project, alongside Morbid, George Emmanuel, George Tolias and members of Watain, Death Courier, Mystifier, Moonspell and many more of the band’s peers.
He went on to talk about his hopes for the project, now that it finally happened and is all set for release:
It was a huge amount of work, but I think the finished tome is absolutely worth all the effort, and I hope will be something special, not only to Rotting Christ fans, but fans of the Greek scene, the late 80s/90s underground metal scene, black metal generally, and anyone who has ever wondered what it is like to sacrifice everything in your life in pursuit of a single creative dream.
We all owe a great debt to the band that produced Thy Mighty Contract, Non Serviam and The Triarchy of the Lost Lovers. And we all owe a debt to Dayal and Sakis for pulling this story together. You can order the book at the Cult Never Dies webstore. It’s available as a standalone paperback, or as a box set that includes a t-shirt AND a certificate of authenticity signed by Sakis and Themis (that’s pretty rad!)