Review 376 : Griffon – O Theos, O Basileus – English

Well known on the French scenes, Griffon are back with a new full-length.

Created in 2012 by Aharon (vocals, A/Oratos, ex-Neptrecus) and Sinaï (guitar, Moonreich, live for Pensées Nocturnes), the band is completed by Dino Dieleman (bass, Grind-O-Matic, Guttural Deepthroat, ex-Promethean), Kryos (drums, Neptrecus, ex-Moonreich, ex-The Negation) and Antoine (guitar) to hold French Black Metal’s colors with O Theos, O Basileus, their second album, released on Les Acteurs De L’Ombre.

The album begins with Damaskos, a song that confirms the band’s power if you already know them, or that will open you the gates of an ice-cold, melodic and tortured universe if it is your first contact with the band. Between sharp riffs, visceral screams sometimes supported by massive choirs and dissonant heaviness, Griffon deploys its full potential. The album continues with L’Ost Capétien, a both melodic but also very oppressive song. Lacerating riffs join aggressive screams (in french) before calming down to offer us a break? But saturation is never really far, and the storm quickly comes back. Régicide offers once again an anguishing ambience thanks to this introduction, but black tones return to haunt this slow song’s rhythmic. Anew, breaks allow them to use samples that perfectly fit their universe. But you don’t have to wait for the recover, and the frenchs spread again their riffs on a majestic rhythmic. Les Plaies du Trône was co-written with the french band Wyrms. So we also have Tedd on vocals, adding a sharper side to a dissonant and oppressive rhythm part. This soft dark break calls for a massive resuming that will be loved by cold Black Metal enthusiasts.
Abomination begins with a melancholic piano, then heavy tones fall upon us, while staying in an oppressive and majestic dominant Black Metal. Sharp harmonics join the mixing, and choirs strengthen the rhythmic. Piano will appear again, then riffs come back to torment us before My Soul is Among the Lions. Very dissonant, the composition is by far the most anguishing only by its introduction. It is obvious that the rhythm part keeps this dark climate as well as melodic and epic sonorities. Symphonic influences and clean backing vocals perfectly fit to this ambience, then …Et Praetera Nihil offers a moment of loosening. A short mystical composition that prepares us to the final storm. Called Apotheosis, the last song stays in mystical tones and uses impressive orchestrations to wonderfully support those dark and weighing riffs. A guttural voice sometimes accompanies those soft but yet obscure ambiences, then the band launches the final assault, composed of raw, massive and fast riffs, as well as a last heavy part.

With O Theos, O Basileus, Griffon doesn’t only offer one more French Black Metal album. It offers a dark, majestic, seizing and scary universe that only some bands master. A must hear this year.

95/100

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