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Review: Grand Belial's Key - Mocking the Philanthropist
Grand Belial's Key
Mocking the Philanthropist

Label: Wood-Nymph Records
Year released: 1997
Duration: 65:56
Tracks: 14
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: August 26, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Mocking the Philanthropist


One of the, if not the first serious USBM band, GBK have earned respect from "die hard" Black Metallers over the years, and incidentally became a target of all the politically correct groups out there - from problems in releasing the first album that led to their label's bankrupcy, to boycotts and cancellation of their live shows in more recent times(...) The fact that a member is in a couple of NSBM bands not helping matters either... But that's another story.

GBK like it raw and play it raw - very minimalistic Black Metal (although I have seen some bands push that even further), it's surprising after a few songs to see some preponderant keyboards kick in out of nowhere. Slightly depressing and sometimes a bit church-like, I still could have lived without these on the album, as I don't find they really add anything, maybe they even take away a little. At least they're not "gay-sounding", unlike many other Black Metal bands that overdo this stuff to the point of extreme annoyance - I must point out that the keyboards in "Demonarchy" are not only useless (in my opinion anyway ;)), but sound a bit too happy for their own good. Kind of weird when the songs here are essentially dark with a very depressing, cold atmosphere, courtesy of the guitars and drums and despite the keyboards, with help from a slightly raw production.

The vocals are low-key BM vocals, mixed a bit low for good effect, letting the music do its job - can't complain here, just don't expect any clean vocals. The cover art is once again GBK's trademark non-flattering biblical art, which one must admit stands out more than some cold northern forest. ;) This album is not GBK's best, maybe a bit too long for its own good and suffering from a bit too many inequalities in song quality - good thing they didn't use too much keyboards. Not perfect but definitely a worthy purchase for fans of the genre.

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