Rotting Christ / Varathron – “Duality Of The Unholy Existence” split 7″ EP (Hells Headbangers)
Battle Helm Rating
Oh wow – the gods of Greece have returned – and together! Both pillars of the Hellenic metal scene since the late 80s, Rotting Christ are credited with defining the Greek black metal sound prevalent in the early 90s but today incorporate greater melody as well as goth atmosphere into their music while Varathron, largely keeping to their core style, have also added more melodies into their music. However, the one constant in both cases is the strong Hellenic vibe, be it through epic riffs befitting their ancient gods or Greek pagan folk that really gives their material a discernible flavour. Comprising of one new track a piece on this split single, Rotting Christ open up on ‘Spiritus Sancti’ with hammering double bass beats, flowing atmospheric keyboards, mesmerising black guitar melodies and Sakis Tolis’s dry rasping chanting incantations and verses, all of which add up to a highly epic number that truly breathes catchy fire and energy amid haunting choirs until its explosive culmination! Opening more quietly is Varathron on ‘Shayton’, although their use of tranquillity in some places and irresistible Greek folk melodies definitely have an alluring pagan charm added to brilliantly by the throat spat vocals from Stefan Necroabyssious. Despite its deeper passion, the heavy bass and mid tempo double bass beats (which occasionally go into overdrive) have no less of an effect than the first track. In fact, what truly impresses about both bands is that despite both of their songs being around the 4 1/2 minute mark, the flow of the music and moreover, their epic effect make them sound a lot longer. Such is the power of Greek black metal as presented by these pioneers on “Duality Of The Unholy Existence”, with only 222 copies pressed on gold vinyl and 777 copies on black vinyl!