Vera : Glorior Belli – being the musical vehicle of Billy Bayou – has followed a self-willed path we really appreciate since their inception in 2002. They are generally considered being a black metal band – hailing from Parisian suburbs – but soon they started to experiment with different styles. On previous albums one could find traces from southern rock, blues, sludge, doom and classical heavy metal. The fine thing is that this musical Kalergi plan of the main man results in mostly very interesting albums.
That is also tenable of this seventh feat ‘The Apostates’ on which Billy did all vocals and instruments. He only got some help from bassist Arthur (also backing vocals). It happens to be a raucous album, defined by current times. Even though they do not focus on maximum velocity, yet songs like opener ‘Sui Genesis’ with its storytelling telling tinge and the mid-paced raging ‘Deserters Of Eden’ pierce you to the very marrow without scrupulous feels. The title song deals with the topic of apostates, quite metaphoric in a city as Paris. With slightly distorted guitars it has a drawling vibe, going in crescendo towards a celebration of fervent guitar solos and brutal black metal. The sounds that surround Billy Bayou are sometimes genre different and really refreshing. They rock firmly with occult gravel throat in ‘Bedlam Bedamned’, while ‘Hangin’ Crepe’ recalls any affinity with marginal punk. The gravel-throated vocals of Bayou dominate the songs, but guitars always take the freedom to contrast with this brutality. ‘Split Tongues Won’t Atone’ even has a semblance of Solstafir in it and ‘Runaway Charley’ has a clean sung chorus; heralding the musical switch in occluding track ‘Rebel Reveries’. This song is really different from the rest of the material – with smooth backing vocals of producer Frédéric Gervais, Marco and Jérémy – and one may call it a ballad with emotive clean vocals in the old fashioned American way, yet reminiscent to the style of Black Label Society or alternative rock bands. Thus finally a proper link with southern rock… Conclusion: an album that goes way beyond orthodox black metal.