Greek metal titans ROTTING CHRIST are now announcing a North American headliner with support from label-mates CARACH ANGREN and GAEREA as well as Eisenwald artist UADA! The “Under Our Black Cult” trek will kick off on February 16 in Houston, TX and will lay waste to the nation until the final curtain draws on March 14 in Orlando, FL! The full itinerary, ticket links, and information on the bands can be found below!
Prior to the tour, ROTTING CHRIST will be performing two pummeling sets on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise, including a very special anniversary set for their seminal album, ‘Thy Mighty Contract.’ The ship sets sail from Miami on January 30 and will return to port on February 3!
ROTTING CHRIST (Under Our Black Cult Tour w/ CARACH ANGREN, UADA, and GAEREA):
02/16: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live (Studio) [TICKETS]
02/17: Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live [TICKETS]
02/18: Dallas, TX @ Amplified Live [TICKETS]
02/19: El Paso, TX @ Rockhouse Bar & Grill [TICKETS]
02/20: Mesa, AZ @ Nile Theater [TICKETS]
02/21: San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick [TICKETS]
02/22: Los Angeles, CA @ 1720 [TICKETS]
02/23: San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge [TICKETS]
02/24: Portland, OR @ Bossanova Ballroom [TICKETS]
02/25: Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theater [TICKETS]
02/27: Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall [TICKETS]
02/28: Denver, CO @ Oriental Theater [TICKETS]
03/01: Kansas City, MO @ BLVD Nights [TICKETS]
03/02: Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theater [TICKETS]
03/03: Chicago, IL @ Reggies [TICKETS]
03/04: Detroit, MI @ The Sanctuary [TICKETS]
03/05: Toronto, ON @ Lees Palace [TICKETS]
03/07: Montreal, QC @ Studio TD [TICKETS]
03/08: Quebec City, QC @ Imperial Bell [TICKETS]
03/09: Boston, MA @ Middle-East Downstairs [TICKETS]
03/10: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater [TICKETS]
03/11: Philadelphia, PA @ Warehouse on Watts [TICKETS]
03/12: Greensboro, NC @ Hangar 1819 [TICKETS]
03/13: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (Hell) [TICKETS]
03/14: Orlando, FL @ The Haven [TICKETS]
ROTTING CHRIST have reached another peak in their long career that now spans over more than three decades. The Greeks have literally stood the test of time. With a steady core line-up and their well-honed live delivery, ROTTING CHRIST are filling concert halls and reap enthusiastic crowd reactions wherever they go. This demonstration of love from their followers is not just driven by nostalgia as the band has managed to evolve and grow, while staying relevant beyond the classics with their highly acclaimed latest albums such as ‘Aealo’ (2010), ‘Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού’ (2013), and ‘Rituals’ (2016).
Now, with the new offering ‘The Heretics’, ROTTING CHRIST are opening a brand new chapter. With confidence and skills derived from experience, each song represents its own sonic universe. Guitarist and vocalist Sakis Tolis in collaboration with his brother Themis on drums achieve a perfect balance of amalgamating their classic and unique style of riffing and rhythm with exciting new elements sprinkled in to keep their material exciting and fresh. The experienced is enhanced by Jens Bogren’s equally clear and transparent yet also massive as well as sombre mix and mastering at his widely renowned Fascination Street Studios (AMORPHIS, BORKNAGAR, MOONSPELL, DEVIN TOWNSEND, and many more).
ROTTING CHRIST were founded by Sakis Tolis and his brother Themis in the year 1987. Starting out on a basis of death and grind, the Greeks had already embarked on a darker musical journey by the time their debut full-length ‘Thy Mighty Contract’ (1993) was revealed. On the following seven albums covering a ten-year period from ‘Non Serviam’ (1994) to ‘Sanctus Diavolos’ (2004), ROTTING CHRIST steadily defined their own distinct style by experimenting with elements from death, heavy, and gothic metal without betraying their black roots. At the same time, the band went from underground heroes to headliner status. With the highly acclaimed ninth album, ‘Theogonia’ (2007), the Greek stalwarts added an unmistakable native element to their sound, which has remained with them as a signature trademark ever since. Exploring the mythical legacy of cultures around the globe led to ROTTING CHRIST‘s massively successful latest release, ‘Rituals’ (2016). With more than 30 years, 13 studio albums, a dozen EPs, singles and split releases, as well as more than 1.250 shows under their belt, 2018 marked the year of ‘Their Greatest Spells’ (2018), where they musically revisited their exciting legacy to connect their past with the present.
‘The Heretics’ marks another step in the evolution of the Greek masters. Buckle up for a fascinating musical ride through the woes of religious wars, Zoroastrianism and the eternal war between good and evil. Metal at its best!
Sakis Tolis: Guitar/Vocals
Themis Tolis: Drums
Kostas “Spades” Heliotis: Bass
Kostis Fouk: Guitar
The Dutch masters of horror are back with their most flamboyant album so far. On ‘Franckensteina Strataemontanus’, CARACH ANGREN resurrect the gruesome story of troubled soul ‘Conrad Dippel’; the inspiration of Mary Shelly’s novel ‘Frankenstein’.
CARACH ANGREN have extended all the sonic colours on their established palette to dazzling effect. Their trademark whipping guitars are weaving harsh melodies and sinister soundscapes, which are beautifully contrasted by opulent keyboards and majestic orchestrations. That Till Lindemann (RAMMSTEIN) and Peter Tägtgren (PAIN) have called upon the composition talent of Clemens “Ardek” Wijers is a telling sign of his outstanding mastery of the craft. Another signatory counterpoint is provided by Seregor’s fierce rasping and shrieking vocals. Adding to the impact, Namtar has become a relentless driving force with his hart hitting yet intricate drumming. Each track on this album is a highlight on its own, while combined ‘Franckensteina Strataemontanus ‘ simply shines.
CARACH ANGREN set out to tell ghost-stories with a set of paranormal cases recorded on the demo ‘The Chase Vault Tragedy’ (2004). This was soon followed by the official release of the ‘Ethereal Veiled Existence’ EP (2005) as a prelude to the haunting ‘Lammendam’ (2008). The Dutch had a clear vision of combining a dark baroque style of metal with horror based lyrical concepts. Their sophomore full-length ‘Death Came through a Phantom Ship’ (2010) witnessed the band setting sail to bring their eccentric and capturing live performances to audiences and festivals all over Europe. In the wake of third album ‘Where the Corpses Sink Forever’ (2012), the haunting had reached the Americas and started to spread rapidly. This record added a serious side to the lyrics of CARACH ANGREN. While firmly remaining in the horror genre, their tales revolve around the evils of war. This mature streak was taken a step further with the fourth full-length ‘This Is No Fairytale’, which is on the surface a darker variation of the “Hansel and Gretel” story from the Brothers Grimm collection, but also deals with the too real topic of child abuse in a dysfunctional family. With ‘Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten’ (2017), the band returned to pure story telling with episodes that are centred on a girl playing a little too long with her Ouija board.
Now, CARACH ANGREN return with the monster ‘Franckensteina Strataemontanus’, where the Dutch have pushed their unashamedly theatrical style to a new intense height. You do not believe us yet? Press play and have your soul transferred with this new elixir of life!
Style: Symphonic Horror Metal
Behind black shrouds of obscurity and desolation, the men of GAEREA deliver their odes in cascading maelstroms of aggression and beauty. Emerging from the age of pandemic to whatever awaits humanity next, the Portuguese horde remains on the frontlines of the next generation of extreme metal. With an EP and two albums to their name, GAEREA has rapidly distinguished themselves from the thousands of bands toiling away in the underground. Brewing their cauldron of sound from a recipe of pounding black-metal blast mixed with a touch of harrowed, reflective longing, many devotees of the darkened arts have flocked to their banner. With the emergence of third full-length album Mirage, those numbers are sure to grow.
Underground metal itself is a strange and cyclical beast. Trends come and trends go. But at no point in the genre’s history have we borne witness to what happened to the world in 2020. GAEREA met this challenge by releasing their second album, the aptly titled Limbo, to excellent world reception. In the meantime, they found the total suspension of interactive life as it was previously known to be the perfect breeding ground for further creation and making. As the troupe’s main songwriter elaborates, “I lost two precious years of my life, years that I would rather have spent touring and growing as an artist. But they were crucial for us, these years, because not too many bands stayed relevant and productive. The pandemic gave us the time to make the best release we could. All the promo-shoots, interviews, videos, we all had time to prepare for everything. Mirage was the product of a sudden inspiration. The basic parts were written over about two weeks.”
Such a stunning admission goes to show that art is fickle, and the artist is merely a vessel through which the sweet sorcery we call music may flow. It can mute itself to frustrating silence – or it can explode into being regardless of all consideration. For this band on the rise, it is most certainly the latter. Sizzling with ambition from day one, GAEREA may present one unique face to their audience, masked and enshrouded, but the truth is they have not remained changeless. “We are not the same band who recorded Limbo,” he insists. “We are more eager to take on the world. If the pandemic taught us anything it is that nothing is certain.”
This lack of certainty plays heavily into newest creation Mirage. As its name suggests, the inability to trust what our senses are telling us could be construed as one of the album’s central themes. Rather than constrict their art to mythological references or anti-religious tropes, GAEREA instead plumb the depths of the human experiences of isolation and suffering. “The concept, the subject, of each song is everyone, you, me . . . if people were alone together in Limbo, in Mirage they are truly alone. Nobody is truly real until they are alone.”
If existential dread could be turned into sound, GAEREA have carved their own philosophical path through its stygian tunnels. It isn’t Satan, demons, death, or even suicide that is waiting for us there. “What if people finally reached their goal,” he posits, “to end their suffering, and instead of dying they find themselves in a new reality, lost in a big city they were once a part of – they don’t know if anyone else is still alive. They are alone inside their own world.” This theme of being alone in a world full of familiar scenes, unable to end things and unable to reach anyone else, might well terrify the listener more effectively than any glimpse into the imagined hellscapes of our nightmares. Being isolated in your own world is the real nightmare, and GAEREA strum the chords of this horror with nuance and a miserable grace.
Boasting a superior production that threads the needle between clarity and causticness, GAEREA unwaveringly admit their loyalty to countryman and producer Miguel Tereso of Demigod Recordings. “Miguel is fantastic,” enthuses the band’s primary composer. “He comes from a brutal death metal background. I thought if this guy can pull off a punchy, modern, but still authentic production with a slam / death metal band, I wonder what he can do with a band like GAEREA. He has a vision for a sound, and that is what I really like. He is not a black metal fan, but it’s this very external set of ears and eyes from a guy who really knows his craft, and he brings all of that to our sound.” The fruits of this union are quite evident, as the turbulent moods of the title track are so wonderfully tossed between tension-building moments, and the explosive payoffs which set GAEREA apart from so many who try but come up short.
Tormented leads and building riffs sit atop some seriously explosive drumming, waxing and waning, on “Arson,” a tempest of moods and one of the album’s centerpieces. Emotion, at times sounding triumphant in brilliantly wrought guitar leads, is skewered by vocals that bustle with shattering despair. The dichotomy is magnificent to behold. GAEREA’s composer makes no mistake. “I want to hear the throat on the album, and if we are a vocals-driven band, I don’t want to over-process them during the recording. Striking that balance is one of the beauties for me in this record.”
In a world that increasingly elevates the shallow and the narcissistic, GAEREA pursues an artistic struggle of inward isolation, honest self-examination, and a dogged refusal to bow to the void that awaits. Thus, the persistence of their shadowed visages, draped in the masks which codify their anonymity while also creating a reliable extreme metal brand that fans can appreciate, especially in the live setting. “GAEREA are truly ourselves when we put these masks on, and we transcend into something different, and primitive,” he asserts. “It still makes total sense, and this band would not be a band anymore if we ever dropped the masks.”
As GAEREA prepares the release of Mirage, the world has resumed functioning, and as it lurches onward into its bleak future, one could stipulate that the pressure may be on to continue its rise amid the clamor of this renewal of activity. Does this challenge intimidate GAEREA? “We want to do better, but I don’t feel any pressure because we are in very good hands with the people we work with. We are building a strong team that really cares for us, stage-wise, promotional-wise, website and sales-wise. We are building a very structured confident teams that aims for the same goals we do. What I truly care about is continuing our ever-growing concept of the band GAEREA, and not becoming sterile, and I would not want people to be unaffected by our music. In the end we’re trying to express something within ourselves, and I don’t want it to be too complicated.”
The beauty of GAEREA lies in the directness and simplicity found within their florid tapestry of extremity and aggression. Whether it is in the less-polished aural dynamite of their self-titled EP, or in the lustrous textures of Mirage, GAEREA is building a mighty edifice of underground metal. With talons dipped in the inky blood of black metal and scraped across the flesh of human suffering, GAEREA is leading a charge into the future of darkness, and all those who find beauty and power in the dark side of existence would do well to take heed.
Style: Cathartic Black Metal