Rotting Christ have even managed to scare Megadeth.
ROTTING CHRIST with MANTIC RITUAL, EPICUREAN and PANZERFAUST at the Annex Wreckroom (794 Bathurst), Monday (January 12), 7 pm. $23.50. 416-870-8000.
As far as metal band names go - the kind designed to shock some, appall others and excite a few more - Rotting Christ pretty much have a lock on it.
Although some rival the name's visceral hostility (Impaled Nazarene, Nun Slaughter and Satan's Almighty Penis, for example), Greece's trailblazing black metal icons have, over their 20-plus years together, gone from merely attempting to make abstract enemies of Christianity to becoming one of the longest-running bands in the genre. They're also largely responsible for their country's thriving and diverse extreme music scene.
They aren't just a one-trick pony, either. Musically and topically, Rotting Christ have always eschewed cartoonish blasphemy in favour of mystical, classical and literary themes. The influence of H.P. Lovecraft is hard to miss in their earlier works, while their latest, Theogonia, tackles primitive Hellenic mythology.
But they also know that calling themselves Rotting Christ will probably gain them some attention. They were vilified by a media-savvy/desperate-for-a-platform Republican trying to win his party's nomination as president in the run-up to the 2000 election. Then there was that highly publicized tiff with Megadeth's Born Again Dave Mustaine, who flat-out refused to play some festivals with the band and demanded they be dropped from the bill because, in his words, he'd "prefer not to play on concerts with satanic bands."
Whether you give a shit or not about their beliefs, two decades' worth of music is admirable in itself, and Rotting Christ deserve kudos. Just don't expect to see them playing a church basement any time soon.