Greece's black metal ambassadors Rotting Christ will release The Heretics, their 13th studio album, on Feb. 15. They've already debuted the first single, "Fire, God and Fear" and are offering another album preview with the lyric video for "Heaven and Hell and Fire," premiering exclusively here at Loudwire.

The track, which furiously combats militaristic chugging patterns with the fluid, memorable melodies Rotting Christ are renowned for, is bookended by two quotes. The first is by the famed English poet John Milton, best known for authoring the epic Paradise Lost.

“The mind is universe and can make a heaven of hell a hell of heaven," is recited at the song's beginning, taken from the aforementioned work. Commenting on how this quote influenced the band, Rotting Christ stated, "The eternal war between good and evil always ends in fire."

“I do not believe in the creed professed by the church, by any church that I know. My own mind is my own church," closes out "Heaven and Hell and Fire," taken from Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

The Heretics comes out Feb. 15 through Season of Mist. Pre-order the album here and check out our interview with frontman Sakis Tolis below.

Rotting Christ moved away from melody a bit on the last two albums. What was the reason for this and why did you return to writing more melodies on The Heretics?

I feel that as a band with 14 albums and a 30 year career that we had the right to experiment a little bit with our writing and composition process. That sort of experimentation allowed us to develop ideas and capture inspiration instead of just focus on riffing.

It seemed to us that the great majority of metal fans out there appreciated that we did that, but now it’s back to the basics with The Heretics. Back to the riff and melodically-based songs.

We feel that The Heretics is a great mix of everything we have experimented with through the years. It’s an album full of dark and apocryphal songs for sure.

Why did you return to recording as a full band in the studio instead of just you and Themis?

We didn’t have any change in the recording process this time. We recorded in our guitar player's (George Emmanuel) studio – Pentagram — in Athens. I produced and recorded the album and, of course, my brother Themis played the drums. This has been our procedure since day one, more or less.

Recording in Pentagram made things easier and more practical than ever. If I had a late-night idea it was simple. Call George and go to the studio!

This really helped us capture all the ideas quickly as they came to us. It also allowed us to record a high-quality and spiritual album.

The Heretics is centered around quotes from famous philosophers. How have these philosophies influenced your personal thinking?

The Heretics was inspired from quotes and statements from the big so-called “heretics” throughout history. Writers, poets, and people whose ideas helped shape and move humanity forward against the resistance and oppression of their local church and political system(s).

In preparation for this album I read a lot before I started writing and realized that the path I have chosen (not only me but perhaps all the black metallers and more) is quite similar to the path chosen by those men who preceded us.

So yes, I am a Heretic and I wanted to create an album that illustrates and embodies that.

How does "The Raven," inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, fit into the theme of The Heretics?

Edgar Allan Poe was a heretic of his time. It’s a tribute to him and allows us to celebrate one of his most famous and lasting creations.

Will there be any 25th anniversary concerts to celebrate the 'Non Serviam' album?

There will be special 30th anniversary shows instead of special album anniversaries concerts. We celebrated the 30 Year milestone of the band with quite a lot of releases this year including the release of the first ever book documenting the history of the band.

Are there any plans to make a new Thou Art Lord album?

Thou Art Lord is inactive at this moment. I believe the five albums we left stand proudly in the Black Metal scene.

Please check out The Heretics and catch us on tour in the new year.

See Rotting Christ in the Top 30 Black Metal Albums of All Time

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