Rotting Christ’s name stirred once more controversy in their native country, with the recent cancellation of their live concert in Patras, Greece. According to the band, the organizers and the Greek media, the blame falls on the ‘dark medievalist forces’ of the Orthodox Church and the far-right.
Overlooking the fact that facebook translated ‘Rotting Christ’ as ‘Holy Christ’, the fun begins in the city of Patras, in Greece.
The communist mayor of Patras, claimed that there were technical issues in the municipality owned concert area, mainly on an electrical panel, thus he informed Rotting Christ that their live performance must be cancelled. These news didn’t fail to arouse suspicion because another concert was planned in the same place by a popular Greek artist, which had not been cancelled, regardless of the supposed ‘technical issues’. In addition to this, on the internet, politicians with supposed ties to the far-right, as well as the interesting monastery of Esphigmenoi, a ‘guerilla’ monastery that survives like Varg with no modern comforts on Mt. Athos as it is denounced by the Greek Church, have requested from public officials to address the matter of the concert. It is important to add that no Rotting Christ concert has been cancelled in Greece before.
The organizer, appearing on Greek television with a cross on his chest to appease the crowds, said that this happened due to the fact that the band’s name has been insulting the official religion of Greece and he claims to have received complains by religious groups, as well as others. Nevertheless, he has declared on facebook that he is determined to bring the concert to life.
On the opposite side, the mayor blames the leftist government (?!) of machinations against him and insists that he would allow anyone to play in this concert venue, as long as he is not aligned with the neo-nazi party of the Golden Dawn. Speaking of which, the organizers claimed that ticket selling points have been attacked by far-right extremists. We all wonder where is Kaiadas from black metal band Naer Mataron, a prominent Golden Dawn member, to act as a mediator. Jokes aside, those attacks have not been confirmed, but if the Golden Dawn was behind those, it would be hypocritical to a large extend, since the leader of the party has stressed the importance of the ‘romantic knightly temperament of Ritchie Blackmore’, in contrast with ‘degenerates’ Pink Floyd after some anti-nazi remarks by Roger Waters and has also written a prelude on a book of poetry titled ‘the Shining Dawn of Lucifer’, praising paganism against the ‘meek Christian faith’. The latter though has happened in the past, so maybe those ideals were later denounced. Regardless, the fact remains that the Golden Dawn is the ‘boogie man’ and is blamed for every threat to the status quo.
And the same is true about the spiritual benefactors of recent patriotic/religious centered uprisings in Greece, and possibly one of the most interesting religious communities in the country: the Esphigmenoi monastery. The monastery has seceded due to dogmatic reasons from the Orthodox Church and small violent incidents erupted in the past as a consequence. As of the last years, the monks live in the wild, guarding their monastery and communicating with the outside world with 4 x 4 vehicles, and are often found supporting patriotic and nationalist uprisings in Greece, as well as the Golden Dawn. Funnily, their lifestyle seems more metal than the one advocated by most boring metal bands and one monk, father Ambrosios used also to be a fan of metal music (sadly I cannot find a link with English subtitles, but you can get a glimpse of life in the monastery):
In the same way, metal has always been suspected in this small and politically polarized Mediterranean country. During the Satanist murders of the ‘90s, when a small group of teenagers raped and sacrificed some girls, the country was in unrest and the police invaded the homes of several black metal musicians, including members of Necromantia, in search of satanic connections.
Currently, the nationalist elements in metal, and mainly the fact that neo-nazi politicians are involved in black metal bands, have led antifascist organizations in Greece to accuse heavy metal as ‘a den of fascist elements’. On the other hand, a lot of Greek speed metal bands are always flirting with the left, but if they think too much, eventually the PC police is going to find them.
ATTENTION EVERYONE!!!Now what we are about to say to you is some really fucked up shit that denies us not only the…
It is needless to say that this genre, unlike punk or mainstream folk-rock, has been an ambivalent ally and enemy to both sides of the political spectrum. Also, it is quite obvious that Christianity has always been an easy target, as the church in most European countries almost never retaliates. The obsession for blaspheming Christianity, instead of the real powers at work in a global scale, those post-modern ideals, the defiance of which is more shocking and definitely more relevant, is a cliché which is often empty, especially when served with modernity’s “neopagan”TM ideological potatoes.
On the other hand, Rotting Christ have done more for their country than many other ‘’artists’’ and especially the current leadership of the Greek church. Whereas school fails to promote interest in anything but rights, rights and rights on the left hand and neurotic competition for entry into university on the other, Rotting Christ have glorified traditional music, taught Latin and ancient Greek through song and even stimulated an interest in religion. Like ancient Crete, RC are musicians inspiring ‘vir’ into a young generation on the forefront of western civilizational downfall. They have been quite persistent on their mission, although at one point during their more goth-oriented period they definitely considered changing name. Last year they were imprisoned in Georgia for 12 hours, since they were suspected of being satanists and therefore terrorists – a seemingly heroic action that nevertheless was unavoidable.
Sakis Tolis has been an important figure in the Greek metal scene, as well as a very inspirational and down to earth musician. Quite friendly, humble and accessible to all who have personally known him and extremely helpful to young musicians making their first steps. The Greek scene owes a lot to this band.
On an interview for Greek television, Sakis Tolis said:
I am very sad, because I did not expect (this) in a land wherein freedom of speech existed, although I can see this is starting to shrink. We learned what happened, there are various sites and various extreme organizations that consider our band extreme, something that is not true. They believe we promote satanism. We promote freedom of speech and religion, unorganized religion, we have no issues with whatever someone believes in, but we don’t like it when it’s organized. This will find us opposed. This apparently disturbed a lot of people and thus in 2019, after 30 years, we managed to cancel a concert in Greece also. What does this mean? Medieval times are coming. But some people must resist.
Among else Sakis mentioned that he has no ties with the leftist government – as some right-wing speculators have said.
We will continue, we will not stop. But whenever this (religion) is organized we will stand against it.
Sakis mentioned the rise of “fanaticism” in the whole word. Perhaps there is a connection to the rise of fanaticism in Greece due to a surge of immigration, as well as hot national issues. Also, disappointment with Rotting Christ’s recent output might be one reason, although this is not a very popular opinion.
It is not the first time that this happened, Megadeth has also refused to play with Rotting Christ in the past because of their band name. Once again, Rotting Christ declined any connections with Satanism.
On the other hand, Watain, who identify as Satanists, will play in Athens on May. Most likely this will go unnoticed, as many other concerts. This is highly ironic and the author finds this turn of events as well as the media wars that have resulted hilarious. What is truly unfortunate, is the divisiveness and crowdist responses from all sides, that this media ‘divide and conquer’ strategy has provoked.
Additionally, the author finds this turn of events of vast cultural interest, since (according to our not so trustworthy media) neo-nazis with pagan underpinnings and militant Christian-taliban bully a communist mayor to cancel the show of a metal band that promotes freedom of speech and religion.
In addition to this, Rotting Christ have released a new song, promoting the religious views of Nikos Kazantzakis, a most excellent Greek writer, drawing influences from Christianity, mysticism and Nietzsche. Although the song is plainly wallpaper music in the purest sense possible, it lyrically highlights the group’s and, possibly the stance of heavy metal music towards religion and God:
I believe in one God, defender of the borders, of double descent, militant, suffering, of mighty but not omnipotent powers, a warrior at the farthest frontiers, commander-in-chief of all the luminous powers, the visible and the invisible. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis, Salvatores Dei
Journalist: Father when you were young were there things that you liked, music, reading etc.?
Father Ambrosios: I liked music. Hard rock. Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Van Halen.
Did you play an instrument?
Where you in a group or did you play by yourself?
I was in a group.
What where you playing?
Hard rock. Heavy metal.
What did you do before choosing monastic life and why did you choose this path?
I was a private employee. We see everywhere what’s going on. They (the people) are all dissatisfied. Eh, and then comes the call from God ~ Vice Documentary on Esphigmenoi Monastery.
The Cry within me is a call to arms. It shouts: “I, the Cry, am the Lord your God! I am not an asylum. I am not hope and a home. I am not the Father nor the Son nor the Holy Ghost. I am your General!
“You are not my slave, nor a plaything in my hands. You are not my friend, you are not my child. You are my comrade-in-arms!
“Hold courageously the passes which I entrusted to you; do not betray them. You are in duty bound, and you may act heroically by remaining at your own battle station.
“Love danger. What is most difficult? That is what I want! Which road should you take? The most craggy ascent! It is the one I also take: follow me! ~ Nikos Kazantzakis, Salvatores Dei
Metal is by far one of the most religious genres of popular music. Not only for “satanism”, neither for the religious views of his creators. When everyone sings about “feelings” of the everyday, Obituary sings about the soul, Averse Sefira about theological anatomy, even Profanatica consists of spiritual studies in nihilism. Remember yami-Ihsahn again, talking about the mundanity of his peers that “tore his fucking heart out”. Perhaps, metal is antagonizing towards religion. But quite often it can also inspire people with religious worries to choose the path were no one goes.
Metal is spiritual, yet untamed. Its attitude is occult and perplexing for fundamentalists, since in such a view, you have responsibility for your own salvation through struggle rather than through devotion and good faith. Finally, the above events prove that metal will never be an ally, neither to the left or the right, in the way that most people conceive of them in our current times. Metal is the opponent and will never fulfill anyone’s expectations.