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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

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (36 Votes)

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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