Sakis Tolis of Greek extreme metallers ROTTING CHRIST, who have faced controversy due to their name, has told The Metal Tris that there has been a relentless crackdown on freedom of expression in many parts of the world, with some countries implementing repressive laws restricting speech.
"In England, you have freedom of speech, but, believe me, in other countries, you don't," he said (see video below). "It's very important for me — freedom of speech. People cannot express themselves. They have rules — different countries, different cultures, they have rules. We, the metalheads, should be heretics, should be something like… we don't go with the flow, which, for me, is very important in my life. Sometimes you cannot change the world, but maybe you can put a little brick."
Started in 1987, ROTTING CHRIST is one of the oldest black metal bands still in the business. The group has maintained a cult following despite pressure from promoters to change its moniker.
"ROTTING CHRIST, it's a quite offensive name for many people," Sakis acknowledged. "But I keep this name because I believe that all religions are rotting. [There is] a lack of freedom. Actually, I have found very interesting ideas from religions, but I don't like it when someone exploits someone else's beliefs and phobias. There are thousands of people — millions of people — that are ready to kill each other because of someone else's beliefs."
Last April, members of ROTTING CHRIST were arrested in the Eastern European state of Georgia on spurious grounds involving charges of terrorism allegedly based on the band's name.
ROTTING CHRIST's new album, "The Heretics", will be released on February 15 via Season Of Mist. The artwork for the disc was created by Greek artist Maximos Manolis.