Authors: Patterson, Dayal & Tolis, Sakis
Title: Non Serviam-The Official Story Of Rotting Christ
Publishers: Cult Never Dies
Reviewed: Feb 2019
The market for books about Black Metal bands continues to grow rapidly. There have been books by (or about) Moonspell, Behemoth, Mayhem, Cradle Of Filth, and a few others and now we have the first book about Rotting Christ. It seems that Dayal Patterson and his Cult Never Dies Publishing have a big jump on cornering the market as this is their 10th publication!
As a side-note, yes, I realize that some of the aforementioned bands are, at times, not strictly ‘Black Metal’ in the purest sense of the term, but they all were once part of that great, exciting early-90’s scene along with Dimmu Borgir, Samael and Tiamat and a few others. This was an era when bands started ‘Black’ but did not stay that way for long, each evolving and exploring various avenues of musicality, incorporating industrial, symphonic or gothic elements into their sound. Rotting Christ was in this elite pack of pioneering musical artists breaking the Black Metal mold very early on and gaining a much larger fans-base in the process.
NON SERVIAM-THE OFFICIAL STORY OF ROTTING CHRIST is a nice looking paperback, that has a similar look and style to other books published by CND. It is about 300 pages long, has tons of black and white photos scattered all across the pages. There are so many photos, it is almost like an illustrated history. I would have enjoyed a few more features, like a table of contents and a discography, although the discography is heavily covered and built into the book itself, it would be nice to have a separate one. The book is credited to Sakis Tolis and Dayal Patterson and Patterson really had as much of hand in the creation of this book as Tolis did, probably more. According to the brief introduction, Patterson has always had a professional and eventually personal affiliation with the band and after some arm-twisting he got them to agree to this book. In a piece of cosmic symmetry, this book ties in with the bands 30th anniversary in 2018. It hit the stores at the tail of end of that year, just before THE HERETICS (the bands 13th studio album) came out.
The first thing that struck me was the photos. To me, I don’t know why but the band has always had this cool, shroud of mystery about them. Now, we have tons of photos that draw back the curtain, getting a look at when they were just young. The band must have dug deep into their old photo-albums! Tolis was a cute kid back in 1973, his mother must now think, what the hell happened? There are lots of great shots of the band, former members, places they used to work at, record at, stores they used to hang out at and so on. It is all very detailed and combines nicely with the narrative.
In terms of the text, the book follows a natural and predictable progression, a long and detailed description of the history of the band dating back to when the two founding brothers were just children. As the book goes on, it falls into a nice rhythm of each chapter covering one of the studio albums in detail from writing, to recording, to production, to the release, to touring and more. I’ve always felt they have had a bit of a deep and confusing discography with many re-issues and compilations with alternate art on alternate labels and this book clarifies most of the detail.
One of the components that makes this book so comprehensive is that pretty much everyone who was in the band, gets a chance to speak…including Jim Mutilator, a key member in the early days. Over time the band has evolved into the ‘Takis Solis show’, even his own brother Themis coming and going over the years, but just about everyone is given some credit. There have been about 25 people in the band over the years, including all the live musicians! Many renowned, international Metal artists contribute thoughtful, kind words about the band, adding additional weight to the argument about how influential they were in the early tape-trading days. The book takes us right up to early 2019.
NON SERVIAM delivers everything you could want about Rotting Christ and more. It is wonderful to get to see this esteemed and respected band get the tribute they deserve in this fine book.
Note: There is also a hard cover, collectors edition in a box-set with additional cool stuff for the true Rotting Christ fan! Supplies are limited get yours today!