By Laura Wiebe Taylor
Rotting Christ’s first DVD (In Domine Sathana) is barely a half decade old but the band’s 20th anniversary seems reason enough for another multimedia release. Non Serviam is a weighty package: two DVDs and two CDs of material arranged around a monumental live centre-piece – a two and a half hour performance in Athens, Greece, recorded at the end of 2007.
The concert explores a wide range of material, covering selections from every major Rotting Christ release, all clearly identified (by subtitle). Theogonia (their most recent) gets a lot of attention, but no more than the early full-length records, each of which rate a four-song nod. By comparison, the band’s middle to later years are nearly ignored – just a song or two to acknowledge each album from A Dead Poem to Sanctus Diavolos. With this much history, hours on end of live Rotting Christ is a definite visual treat but not what it could have been. The sound is a little sterile, like it’s straight off the board with no ambient noise mixed in. You can see fans packed in like sardines, heads, arms and bodies moving with every beat, but you can barely hear them. The ‘liveness’ factor is muted, which gives the performance an odd detached kind of vibe and puts a slight damper on the aggression and excitement.
The second disc is more a grab bag of material. Lo-fi bootlegs run next to official video clips, and two separate tour features mix live footage with off-stage antics, a few testimonials, and recording session footage. The opening feature here is “The Rotting Tale,” a band biography narrated by guitarist/vocalist Sakis. It’s an informative piece, but not in-depth, probably more satisfying to someone less familiar with the band than to a dedicated fan. The segment isn’t that viewer-friendly either – subtitles are sub-optimal, the tale telling is a little dry and stiff, and the artwork / song clip interludes just emphasize the low-key presentation.
Two CDs complete the package with an audio-only version of the concert plus some extra live tracks. It’s not enough to raise the whole thing above average, a decent collection of material and a well-chosen concert, but not the multimedia treatment Rotting Christ deserves.
(Season of Mist)