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Griffon - De Republica review


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Band: Griffon
Album: De Republica
Style: Black metal
Release date: February 2024

01. L'homme Du Tarn
02. The Ides Of March
03. La Semaine Sanglante
04. A L'insurrection
05. La Loi De La Nation
06. De Republica

With Sacred Son’s The Foul Deth Of Engelond and now De Republica, metal’s most provocative genre is now finally dabbling with some genuinely revolutionary lyrical matter.

Griffon are a French black metal band on a very French label in Les Acteurs De L'ombre Productions; their previous releases haven’t so strongly reflected this (as titles such as Har HaKarmel and Ὸ Θεὀς Ὸ Βασιλεὐς reflect), but De Republica is a record firmly rooted in the band’s national heritage. An ode to the French Revolution and the French Republics that arose from it, this new release incorporates some historical-inspired melodies into its meloblack framework, earning genre tags such as ‘medieval black metal’, but the record is predominantly modern in its approach.

There is a certain theatricality, albeit minor, to Griffon’s songwriting approach on De Republica; after a prolonged ambient intro, album opener “L’Homme Du Tarn” features a brief snippet of marching song before things kick off in earnest with blasts, sharp melodic tremolos and shrieks backed up by symphonic and choral flourishes. Griffon’s meloblack is firmly blackened, but also uncompromisingly melodic, and the group bring the virtues of both aspects to the fore on this record. Having said that, De Republica is by no means entirely blackened; “L’Homme Du Tarn” pushes the folk hints further with a segment of sorrowful violin, and the track also features a very satisfying clean sung chorus (delivered in a tone not all that far from some Vintersorg tracks), not to mention a soft atmospheric black in the second half featuring spoken word.

“L’Homme Du Tarn” is the longest song here, and thus the one with the most capacity to explore the various facets of Griffon’s sound. The shorter songs later on the album perhaps prioritize some aspects over others, but “The Ides Of March” is almost as multifaceted as the track that came before. What’s more, it also introduces the first of several examples of the lead guitars exhibiting classical inspiration, as a guitar solo around the midway mark has a hint of classical music to a descending melody; “A l’Insurrection” similarly has a touch of the baroque to some of its guitar motifs. Another distinctive feature of this latter song is a passage later on during which the tempo is turned right down for a doomy trudge; with the symphonic layers backing it up, it sounds suitably grandiose.

Most of the elements that will appear in the second half of the tracklist have been introduced by this point, but there are a few surprises left, such as the use of post-rock tremolo late in “La Loi De La Nation”; in truth, while I wouldn’t call this a post-black album, the range of dynamics and the flow of several songs do place it within that ballpark. It’s possible that this plays a part in the extent of my enjoyment of De Republica, but it’s more so the melodic side that has really won me over; this is one of the meloblack releases I’ve enjoyed the most in recent years, and given the consistently strong output year-on-year in the genre, that’s no small feat.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 19.02.2024 by Hey chief let's talk why not

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