There are not few name bands that, at some point in their career, have recorded a record that somehow went to break sharply their established style. Almost always, at the time of the release, the expressions of dissent exceeded the praise, not so much for the intrinsic value of the work as for the momentary inability of the most ardent fans (and even a good part of the critics) to accept the fact that for any artist should be a normal fact, every now and then, try to experiment with something different. This happened in particular to four historical names of metal, all in the last two years of the last millennium, as if in that period the air was permeated by a creative urgency that pushed the musicians to dare more: Moonspell (with Sin/Pecado), My Dying Bride (with 34.788%… Complete), Kreator (with Endorama) and Rotting Christ (with Sleep Of The Angels). And it’s of this last album that we have the chance to talk again, thanks to the re-release edited by the Hellenic label Sleaszy Rider: let’s say at once that, compared to the mentioned examples, Sleep Of The Angels appeared much less a gamble, showing if anything a greater openness towards a gothic sound that went to soften not a little the black pulsions of Sakis’ band, a process that had already shown signs in the previous A Dead Poem. Undoubtedly, compared to the electronic turn taken by Moonspell and My Dying Bride and to the abrupt passage from the tetragonous thrash of the Teutonic school to an elegant gothic sound by Kreator, Rotting Christ‘s one appeared above all the landing to a greater catchiness linked to the greater use of those melodic progressions of guitar that have always been, however, trademark of the Greek band. It’s no coincidence that, while all the other bands mentioned above, starting from the following records, reversed the course to return to sounds more in line with their history, Rotting Christ, while returning to exacerbate the sound, with Khronos and Genesis did not go completely to abjure what was done with Sleep Of The Angels. All these records, so to speak controversial, after nearly twenty years have been unanimously re-evaluated and considered by fans as excellent works, even in their discontinuity: for Rotting Christ the matter is different, since the black metal of ours has always been sui generis because very personal and, therefore, the opening to more catchy sounds corresponding to the publication of Sleep Of The Angels was not experienced as a betrayal, but as a natural stylistic progression; not coincidentally, a track like After Dark I Feel is still counted among the battle horses of Sakis and members. Sleep Of The Angels is an album that should be made to listen to those who do not know Rotting Christ, either for the lack of attitude to extreme sounds, or for the impact undeniably exerted by a “heavy” moniker: in this case it could be the ideal picklock to access the discography of one of the best bands that have sailed along the last three decades of metal.
2016 – Sleaszy Rider Records