Like a shot across the bow of some nefarious ghost ship, the opening notes of Glorior Belli‘s The Apostates summon the woozy nausea of impending doom. But black metal traditionalist be warned – there is more to this album than oscillating blasts and rhythmic hyper strums.

These French black metallers – Billy Bayou (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, music and lyrics) and Arthur (bass, backing vocals) wire the album-opening “Sui Generis” with a menacing pressure that forms, crests, and breaks in shadowy waves. The title track boasts a traditional rock approach through its intro and opening guitar solo, but the growls and left-hand themed lyricism drag the instrumentation back into the darkness. “Hangin’ Crepe” furthers the unique mash-up of black metal and rock and roll with its carefully chiseled riff that serves as a centerpiece and sets its meat hooks bone deep. The album closing “Rebel Reveries” encapsulates Glorior Belli‘s compositional dexterity with a somber verse and arena-ready chorus, further defying the constraints of their black metal bloodline.

Glorior Belli’s The Apostates is groundbreaking in its embrace of musical elements that are rarely painted with such a pallet of black and grey. Does it work? Most of the time, although its occasional accessibility may draw ire from the trve crowd. All told, this willingness to color outside the lines makes for an unexpectedly digestible opus from these dark lords.

The Apostates is out April 6 on Season of Mist. Buy it here!


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