Rotting Christ/Varathron - Duality Of The Unholy Existence

In the fall of the 80's in Greece a bunch of newly formed bands using elements from bands they were listening to and adding their own character and personality, managed to create a wave while each band kept their personal sound. The so-called Greek sound was born! There are many bands who rose at that period. Rotting Christ and Varathron were definitely 2 of the pioneers. They even shared common members in the beginning. Jim Mutilator was the first bassist for both Varathron (1988-1993) and Rotting Christ (1984-1996), being a founding member of the latter. Rotting Christ drummer Themis Tolis played drums also on Varathron (1990-1992). Captain Death who was responsible for early Rotting Christ lyrics was also Varathron's drummer (1988-1989). A Varathron split with Rotting Christ was discussed within the metal circles in Athens, Greece (and abroad) from the early 90's, but never happened. Until now!

Let's get things straight! This is not old material here; this not any kind of leftover music; this is not a split to fill the gap between the bands' album releases; and most importantly this is not an attempt to get back to the 90's and release what could have been then released. This is a pure, honest and from heart collaboration between 2 of the most aknowledged perveyors of black metal and extreme music worldwide.

Rotting Christ need no introduction! Having released another excellent record briefly and most accurately entiled "The Heretics", they seem to be in an artistic orgasm in their successfully long career. The recent line up changes have kept the band busy, but their summed up in their "Non Serviam" motto nonwillingness to surrender drives their mastermind Sakis Tolis and the whole Rotting Christ panzer!

Rotting Christ's side of the split is an exclusive to this release song entitled 'Spiritus Sancti' which means 'Holy Spirit' in Latin. The general feel and sound of the song leads me to assume this was a "Heretics" outtake. Another assumption is that while recording for "The Heretics" the band already had in mind the possibility of a split with Varathron!
Enough with assumptions. The certainty here is that 'Spiritus Sancti' is another brilliant song of Rotting Christ!
At the very beginning of 'Spiritus Sancti' Rotting Christ set the dilemma "Serve in Heaven or Rule in Hell"? The choice is yours! The song is an excellent sample of the Rotting Christ sound as it was developed after "Theogonia" and features the trademark palm muting of Sakis Tolis and the trademark drumming of Themis Tolis.

The songwriting is of another dimension and for me after an excellent new album "The Heretics", 'Spiritus Sancti' is simply another diamond in the diadema of the Kings of the Stellar War! The song is absolutely no filler. It could have easily make it to "The Heretics". 'Spiritus Sancti' melodies are memorable and distinct because only Rotting Christ have this trademark songwriting. The repetitive themes are by no means boring. On the contrary, they increase the tension of the song and combined with operatic vocals give an epic touch. It is known that Rotting Christ crafted their own sound. Rotting Christ shall always be the most successful band from Greece. Deservingly. ‘heir complete work is an artistic proposition that cannot be overlooked! One of the most honest bands ever!

Varathron released their latest full length "Patriarchs Of Evil" in 2018. "Patriarchs of Evil" is an excellent album and placed them in the elite of the black metal releases for 2018. It also gave them the motivation for further touring. I had the chance to see Varathron live in Athens recently and believe me they are one of the most professional, passionate, effective and honest bands you will ever come across. Their passion on the scene is unmatched! Stefan Necroabyssious on stage is a human beast looking for prey, yet he is always very warm with the audience. His vocal performance is always beyond amazing! Varathron part of the split is also an exclusive to this release song entitled 'Shaytan' and is a deep dive to the abyssic black cult of the 90's. The opening riff melody recalls the memories of the utter connection between Greek black metal and classic heavy/speed metal. Most old Greek bands have worshipped bands like Omen, Manilla Road, Manowar and Running Wild. Varathron is no exception to that rule. Stefan Necroabyssious vocals intertwined with the melodies reveal the occult mystical aura that bands had in the birthrising of the Greek sound. At some point the riffs brought to mind Necromantia with whom Varathron had released my all time favorite black metal split "The Black Arts/The Everlasting Sins" (1992). The acoustic part with countless melodies/harmonies in the middle of the song is not only memorable, but a piece of Higher Art. Varathron is in excellent performing and songwriting state balancing with excellency their melodic and speedier themes.

For all vinyl fetishists Hells Headbangers released "Duality Of The Unholy Existence" split 7" in 999 copies (777 in standard black vinyl and 222 in gold vinyl). The 7" vinyl comes in a gatefold jacket and the artwork is truly magnificent! Get yours now and enjoy 2 amazing and exclusive tracks of 2 bands whose names shine in the pantheon of black metal!


1. Rotting Christ - Spiritus Sancti
2. Varathron - Shaytan