"The Apostates"

By Lord Randall

The day in 2007 when GLORIOR BELLI’s “Manifesting The Raging Beast” was a good day. While still at its core a shining example of French black metal, shades of not only orthodoxy, but a strange flirtation with US Southern blues rock poured through my speakers, setting me on a path of support I would proudly trod until 2013’s “Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls” nearly sent me packing. All the “correct” boxes were checked as to reasons why I “should” enjoy it, but as an album it failed, and miserably. Thankfully, the duo largely regained their footing with an album between GR, CU and their newest, so “The Apostates” will either have reason to be lauded or a lot to answer for.

While I wanted ‘Sui Generis’ to blast out of the gate all hellfire ‘n’ brimstone, instead we get mid-paced rawk which, while not bad, fails to ignite. This is saved for the incendiary ‘Deserters Of Eden’, one of the most straightforward black metal tunes GLORIOR BELLI has pulled off in some time, the only Southern element being a brief, blues-tinged solo. Midway through the title track the swamp begins to churn, and it seems we’re back in the land of cypress and sour mash once more, and – with other instrumentation or arrangement – ‘Bedlam Bedamned’ could’ve been an outtake from the much-underrated “The Full Intrepid Experience Of Light”. ‘Hangin’ Crepe’ is a shitkicker in the most backcountry of ways, sure to rise to the top of the Country charts, were it not so damn devilish, while ‘Split Tongues Won’t Atone’ is a blend of what’s come before on “The Apostates”, pummeling rhythm and rollicking riff joining together as they do well when Billy & the boys are firing on all cylinders. 

Ending with the unexpectedly plaintive ‘Rebel Reveries’, GLORIOR BELLI has, with “The Apostates”, gone a fair distance towards reestablishing the band – or Billy Bayou, as it were – as both creative and reliable. Now, how about another 11 AS IN ADVERSARIES album?