The religious jury is out on Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ who are set to make their appearance in South Africa in July 2016. Organisers of the event, Witchdoctor Productions, had to change the band’s name for the sake of outcry from the uniformed public. Despite protests and a petition, Rotting Christ are more than eager to visit sunny South Africa. Vocalist, Sakis Tolis made time for a quick Skype chat with The Metalist za to set the record straight…



rotting-christ1How has your tour been going so far?

We have some shows and a very long tour ahead. There are shows all around the world so where there are metalheads – Rotting Christ will be there. We’re looking forward to bringing our metal.

What has been the highlight of your tours so far?

It’s hard for me to say because highlights take place almost every night. Wherever we go, we see all the people coming to our shows and for me that’s a big honour knowing that our music speaks to someone’s soul and that’s very important to me. When I see a smile in front of me during our performances then that’s a highlight for me.

What has been the lowlight for you on tour?

I really hate airports and aeroplanes. Living in Greece we always have to take flights and the whole process of waking up early, getting to the airport and all of that is the worst part for me.

Have Rotting Christ faced any problems in Christian dominated countries during touring?

Of course! We always face problems – we’ve played in many venues and faced restrictions and problems because of our name. But we keep on going because it is important for us to be on the front line. Metal isn’t just about music, it’s about the freedom of speech and the mind. So if there is a problem, Rotting Christ will always be on the frontline in the battle field.

Why is Rotting Christ always in the front line?

First of all our name is a big problem – Rotting Christ. After being on the road for more than 25 years we’ve kept to our ideals that we initially set out to achieve. We’ve never broke-up and we still keep going plus we play to more than 1200 souls a night which is very important to us.

Are you aware of what’s been happening since the announcement of Rotting Christ’s tour to South Africa?

I have received news about us not being very welcome but you know that happens everywhere. This is a very long story about religions that cannot be described here but everyone has a right to do and fight for what they believe in. In South Africa, they can disagree and protest against us but this is a persistent reaction. We will still play – under a different name – for legal reasons but we will be there and give our best show. We will play for our metalheads and fight back for the sake of freedom of speech. For me this is important as I have travelled the world and I respect every culture but I don’t respect religion. The reason I don’t respect religion is because for me it’s something likened to a company or an organisation. However, I don’t have any problems with religious people but I will still be there to play my music and I hope the metalheads that show up will receive their monies worth.

What can we expect from the show when Rotting Christ appears in South Africa?

 We play dark music, black metal and we express the extreme part of metal. You have to see it to experience it.

Rotting Christ are one of the first black metal bands in the scene – will the band ever move into a new genre?

We are walking on the dark side and our music has and will always remain like that. There are other musicians that walk in our genre and we continue to remain on that same dark path.

Tell us about the album Rituals that got released this year?

This is the album that got released in February this year with 11 songs and each600x338xrotting_christ_hb_110216.jpg.pagespeed.ic.BNDEUC5HRB song stands for a ritual. It’s our darkest album, perhaps not in
music but maybe in lyrics and the atmosphere. For me, it is one of the darkest releases that we have done and people have reacted quite positively to it so we’re glad that the music has spoken to their soul.

What do you hope to see when you’re here in South Africa?

It will be our first show in South Africa so of course I would like to see the cultures. And it’s just not about being a classic tourist – it’s about adjusting to a place, learning about the history, making the best of the shows and get the feel about the way people live in South Africa which is more important than seeing lions.

Would you like to add any last words?

The spirit in extreme metal is something unique and that’s the part that fights for the freedom of speech. I would like to invite all the free-thinking metalheads to come experience Rotting Christ in July 2016.


Interviewed by: Lav Nandlall (more from Lav)

Date: 4 April 2016


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