After listening to a beautiful album like the debut solo Sakis Tolis is inevitable to wonder what drove the leader and founder of the historic Rotting Christ to publish a work under his own name in which, in fact, the deviations from the mother band are almost zero; a possible answer could be the will of the Hellenic musician to give vent to an inspiration with a more direct connotation compared than the ethnic and choral cues (here found only in the conclusive Nocturnal Hecate) that have marked the last phase of Rotting Christ, the one of the four albums released from 2010 onwards, all of high thickness and enriched and, at the same time, made a bit dispersive by the contribution of a considerable number of guests. Considering the first three full lengths (including the immortal masterpiece Non Serviam) as another phase of the band in its own right, the possible key to understand Among the Fires of Hell is found by imagining that Sakis‘ intent was to propose sounds that represent a synthesis between the gothic catchiness of A Dead Poem / Sleep Of the Angels and the intensity of Genesis and Theogonia; a tracklist full of captivating songs branded by the peculiar style forged by our since the last century (with honorable mention for the title track, We the Fallen Angels and Ad Astra) photographs the full achievement of that goal. Tolis does not skimp on the usual guitar progressions that have made the fortune of Rotting Christ and, on the other hand, who else but him can afford to do so without someone having to argue? In fact, it’s not for everyone to propose such a convincing album after a long career and really nothing more to prove, even if I think that in his heart Sakis believes that not always his band had received the honors and attention (especially at the level of critics) that would deserve those who have written fundamental pages in the history of extreme metal in Southern Europe (and beyond). Among the Fires of Hell is the welcome gift of an honest and genuine musician, to whom should be paid the undying gratitude by the fans of metal in the broadest sense.

2022 – Independent