Review 2082 : Griffon – De Republica – English

History is written with a capital letter for Griffon.

Founded in Paris in 2012, the band carved out a reputation in the local scene, released an EP and an album, then signed to Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions with a split in 2019. In 2024, Aharon (vocals, A/Oratos, ex-Geisterfels), Sinai (guitar, The Order of Apollyon, ex-Moonreich), Kryos (drums, Azziard, Hats Barn, Neptrecus) and Antoine (guitar) announce the release of De Republica, their third album.

The album kicks off with L’Homme du Tarn, retracing the work of socialist deputy Jean Jaurès with fury and heaviness, as well as sharp melodies. The sampled parts (taken from the man’s speeches) contrast with the visceral screams that haunt the most frantic and weighing passages, sometimes strengthened by impressive keyboards, as on the melancholic choruses, also found on The Ides of March, the following track, which takes advantage of the haunting ambience to unveil its fiery riffs. The lyrics, in English and Greek, resonate as if in a much darker vein, while the jerky rhythmic pattern constantly suffocates us, allowing only a few more dissonant, airy passages before giving way to the vindictive La Semaine Sanglante and its danceable harmonics that lead the charge. Here, the band sings of the Trois Glorieuses with raw sounds and numerous choruses, recalling the strength of a united and unchained people before the final vocal sample puts an end to it, finally allowing us to catch our breath to begin A l’Insurrection. Quietude is quickly and unsurprisingly trampled by a wave of fury depicting the situation in Paris in 1871, and despite the calmer break, the tension is palpable within the instrumental and its elusive melodies. The final’s heaviness is barely soothed by keyboards, while darkness resurfaces on the opening notes of La Loi de la Nation, letting melancholy guide us as we join the oppressive rhythm, symbolized by the battle between Church and Republic. There’s a certain suffering in the voice that brings this new reality to life, surrounded by the overwhelming rhythm, then the musicians return to a more recent period in the country with De Republica, contrasting it with an icy and sometimes impressive Old School approach while keeping its chaotic leads before closing the album with a massive theatrical final.

Griffon had already demonstrated their evolution with their previous album, and the band now confirms their position as spearheads of French Black Metal. De Republica couples a unique melodic approach with an expressive and accurate narrative, making this album both musically indispensable and a compendium of history.


Version Française ?

A few questions for Aharon and Sinai, respectively singer and guitarist of the Melodic Black Metal band Griffon.

Hello, and thank you for your time! How could you introduce the band Griffon without using the usual labels of musical styles such as « Black Metal »?
Aharon: Hello Acta Infernalis. Well, it’s a band made for teachers and fans of Heroic Fantasy.
Sinai: Hello, I’d say it’s a band for people who like melodic music, are interested in history and enjoy soundtracks.

How do you relate the name Griffon to your music?
Aharon: The griffin (“Griffon” in French, ed.) is a legendary creature that has been a constant presence in many civilizations throughout history, from the Achaemenid Empire in Persia to ancient Egypt, right up to the Western medieval period. Even today, the griffin remains a powerful symbol of contemporary fantasy. In choosing him as the symbol of our music, we are determined to transcend geographical and historical boundaries, crossing eras and cultures with him, accompanying humanity.

De Republica, your new album, is about to be released, how do you feel about it? Have you had any feedback on it yet?
Aharon: Honestly, I’m feeling pretty tired. The release is imminent, and as always, it’s been a long and tedious road to get there. We’ve put a lot of time and energy into creating this album, and now we’re immersed in the whirlwind of promotion. As for feedback on the album, we’ve had some so far, and it’s been generally positive. But right now, our main concern is to finalize the last details and make sure the release goes as smoothly as possible. Once we’ve done that, we’ll finally be able to take a breather.
Sinai: I’m tired too, especially as we have so many orders to complete right now. The feedback has been positive in terms of music, concept and writing. New people are taking an interest in the band and validating it. 

How would you sum up De Republica in three words?
Aharon: I will be clear, this album can’t be summed up in three words.
Sinai: Musically, I’d say melodic, dramatic, powerful. Otherwise, see Aharon‘s answer.

De Republica comes out four years after its predecessor, ? ???? ? ????????, how did its composition go? Did you notice any changes, or evolutions in your creative process?
Sinai: The composition went differently. I touched my guitar a lot less and tried less to find riffs. I tried more to write what I wanted directly, rather than testing things out and seeing what came up. So a less haphazard, more precise approach with stages. See things in a global way at the level of the piece, then structure it, give its orientations by part. Then work in more and more detail, setting limits to achieve the final project for the piece. Antoine (the band’s second guitarist, ed.) didn’t compose as much for this album, but he’s still very important in the composition. The arrangements came last, at the same time as the lyrics, and continued right through to the mix/mastering.

You chose L’Homme du Tarn as the first track to be unveiled, as well as being the first track on the album. Why did you choose this particular title? Does the order of the tracks have any importance for you?
Aharon: We chose to open the album with it because it’s probably our best track ever. Clearly, the order of the tracks is crucial in the preparation of an album. It’s all calculated.

Although this element has been present with you for some time, I noticed that vocal diversity was really emphasized on De Republica. How do you work out vocal placement within the band?
Aharon: When I write the lyrics, I plan parts for the back-voices. We work on vocal placement beforehand, discussing different ideas. Once in the studio, we continue to refine and perfect the vocal arrangements together, experimenting with harmonies and textures.

I know this is a tough question, but do you have a favorite track on this album? Or the one that seemed the most natural to compose?
Aharon: For me, it would be L’Homme du Tarn without too much hesitation.
Sinai: I’d say the same for L’Homme du Tarn. It’s a set of layers (guitars, vocals, orchestration etc.) that are simple, successful and effective, and that make sense together.

The artwork was created by Adam Burke (Nightjar Illustration). What were your requirements for De Republica?
Aharon: All our covers are the result of a collaboration between us: Sinai and myself. We then contact the artist with our requirements. However, once we’ve communicated the symbolic aspects we wish to incorporate, we give the artist total freedom of expression. We firmly believe it’s essential not to interfere with the artistic process, in order to preserve its integrity.

De Republica is released on Les Acteurs De L’Ombre, which has been following you for some time now. How is the collaboration with the label going?
Aharon: LADLO has been a great help in difficult times. We’re very happy with our collaboration with them. 

How did you discover Extreme Metal, and more specifically the Black Metal scene? In your opinion, which are the scene’s must-have bands?
Aharon: The first Black Metal band I had to see live was Watain. It was a great moment of revelation. Otherwise, my vocation came from attending UG concerts in Paris. In particular the Battle’s Beer and LADLO events at the time.
Sinai: I discovered Extreme Metal when I was 15, through a friend on the web. After that, I spent most of my time at concerts. In Black Metal, I’d say it was Gorgoroth and Watain who made the biggest impression on me (2007/2008). Today, I wouldn’t know, I don’t go to concerts as much.

Do you have any plans for the future of Griffon? In the short term or longer?
Aharon: We’re already going to release the album, do a few promotional concerts and then see what happens to us.

The album also marks the departure of your previous bassist. Will you be replacing him for the live shows?
Aharon: Leo is now in A/Oratos. He will of course be replaced by a session musician for the live shows, but the four of us will continue to work together on the compositions.

I’ve already had the chance to see you on stage several times between 2017 and 2023, but how does a Griffon concert go from your point of view? How do stage costumes and make-up help you perfect your shows?
Aharon: We attach great importance to creating an immersive atmosphere for the audience at our concerts. Our aim is to transport them into a specific universe and keep them captivated until the end of the show. This immersion is essential if we are to bring our music to life in an authentic and memorable way, and that involves all these tricks.
Sinai: We use the tricks we have at our disposal, but if the band grows we’ll certainly invest in more staging.

Are there any musicians or artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Aharon: I’ve got a couple of things in the pipeline, but unfortunately I can’t say too much about them right now. We’ll reveal that when the time comes.

Do you think you’ve improved as a musician with this album?
Sinai: I’m a better composer, but not really a better guitarist. My technical level is stagnating, but I’m more precise in my basics. I’m also more solid live. But that’s down to the live experience with all the bands I play in.

Which bands do you dream of playing with? I’ll let you imagine a date for the release of De Republica with Griffon opening, and three other bands.
Aharon: Bigger than us, then? I’d say Stormkeep, Hypno5e and Watain. It wouldn’t make sense as a line-up.
Sinai: Ferriterium, Ungfell, Summoning, Lorna Shore and Blackpink.

That was my last question, so I’ll leave you with the last words!
Aharon: Thank you, see you soon.

Laisser un commentaire