French outfit Griffon, nowadays with current and former members of e.g. Moonreich, Neptrecus, Septentrion etc..., signed to the honest (Underground) label Hass Weg Productions in order to have their debut released the most decent way. In 2014 the band did also record and release an EP (crazily called Wig Ah Wag), but I did not have the opportunity (yet) to enjoy that material. This first full experience was recorded with mixing / mastering assistance of Déhà, you know, the entity behind projects such as C.O.A.G., Slow, We All Die (Laughing), Imber Luminis or Merda Mundi, amongst many others. It gets released in an edition of 500 copies in a so-called jewel-case with an 8-paged booklet, including artwork by Wyrms’ Tedd.
With Har HaKarmel (first price for their unusual album titles!), Griffon bring over forty minutes of melodic, atmospheric and technically skilled Black Metal. Despite the title, the lyrics (in French, for your information) do deal with a wide scala on themes and not only on religion-bounded subjects only. History, fantasy and philosophy (or at least a certain philosophical point of view on history and fantasy) are part of the game.
Griffon’s Black Metal is enormously melodic, once again strongly empowered by those powerful and harmonious guitar leads especially. The band creates a huge variety in melody, as well as in tempo. When coming to the latter, about each composition has both slower and faster parts, sometimes mercilessly nasty, then again victoriously epic, or grim and obscure. Another aspect of the inherent diversification is the addition of thrashing rhythms (like the mind-blowing opening sequences on L’Arbre Blanc), deadly outbursts (Beaume, Tout Est Accompli), lo-fi eruptions, paganised atmospheres (La Cité Est Perdue), or hypnotic excerpts (cf. the semi-acoustic dwellings on the title song, for example). For sure it is clear that quality stands high in this band’s total experience, rather than empty-brained aggression or would-be grotesquery.
Quite impressive are the synth passages, like the bombastic and orchestral intro to La Cité Est Perdue with its almost gothic-funereal ritual grandeur, or the introduction to Tout Est Accompli. But actually all aspects, once again courtesy of Hass Weg Productions, breathe supremacy. The core of all creations relies on craftsmanship and persuasion, like a big f*ck-off to all false entities poisoning the scene lately. And some listeners might surely appreciate the somewhat modernised and, why not, Atmo/Post-Rock attitude that appears via compositions like La Lisière. Why not, they’re French anyway…