Rotting Christ – The Apocryphal Spells (Album Review)

Greek Black Metal legends Rotting Christ had a productive and surprising summer by releasing a compilation of unreleased tunes that had fans clamoring to devour. The Apocryphal Spells
was first released to digital platforms, but is now available in a physical release since July 7, 2023, and can be ordered via Season of Mist.

For those who have followed Rotting Christ know that the band has always delivered, and this compilation is no exception. They have more than thirty years of music under their belt and when they tour it is standing room only. In fact, they performed in North America early in 2023 leading the Under Our Black Cult Tour, and for those who attended, it was a splendid treat. That in mind, the band has evolved, experimented with stylistic changes and have proven that their core writing skills are in tune with their intellectual interests.

The Apocryphal Spells offers twenty-one songs that are a combination of remixes, live recordings and covers. Sakis and Themis Tolis are as brutal as ever and hearing these unreleased and live bonus tracks is a real treat. “Phobia” has risen significantly with digital listens and is a strong contender for being the best song of the collection. “Astral Embodiment,” however, is an all-consuming opus that you can listen to over and over again.

As you move through the album, you are introduced to “Spiritus Sancti”… which has always been a blazing track. It stays true to the band’s formulaic sound and for me it is easily recognizable as being Rotting Christ. Fans should be happy that it is included on this release, but have to agree how good the Duality of Unholy Existence 2019 EP version split with Varathron is. “I Will Not Serve” is another eye opener as the band burns through the song. That in mind, some might also be partial to “Sons of Hell” and “Moonlight,” as each song speaks to you in a different way.

Black Metal fans come from the world over and while many are partial to Norwegian offerings, there are times when what you love the most comes from another locale. Rotting Christ have always given fans well thought out material and blistering live shows. If you have never seen them, you should. If you have never listened closely, it is imperative that you do. They have a
history of great music and they clearly have much that was not shared with us before, as is evident with this release.

One of the most anticipated releases of the year for Black Metal fans, and quite frankly it does not disappoint, because you will be playing it on repeat. Thank you, Rotting Christ…. and Cryptic Rock gives The Apocryphal Spells 5 out of 5 stars. 

Rotting Christ – The Apocryphal Spells / Season of Mist (2023)
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