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I might not have come away from The Full Intrepid Experience of Light with an eagerly positive reaction, but the French side project is certainly successful in one region: proving that there is still much left to accomplish, much left to hybridize, to bastardize and explore with the extremity of metal serving only as a foundation. This is an aural tangent created by J. and G. of Glorior Belli, featuring some guest vocals courtesy of Niklas Kvarforth (Shining, Skitliv, etc.), and they run all over the board with influences that range from the deft and schizoid stylings of Voivod, Arcturus, Virus and Ulver to a healthy infusion of indie rock, post-hardcore and progressive rock across several decades.
They also throw all these disparate elements into their songs without any visible strain, without any threat that the seams are about to burst, and for that, they deserve some credit. "Verses from Which to Whirl" shifts from choppy thrash to huge atmospheric walls of guitar sheen, spooky bass to a lumbering, percussive breakdown with death howls. "Agitation in the Glorious Theme" condenses cerebral, flowing guitar funk with a measure of aggression that is pulled off like a metallic Mars Volta. "The Night Scalp Challenger" seems a little closer to their mainstay, with dark atmospheres through the jangling, fragmented guitars and another solid bass curve, and this is perhaps my favorite song on this album, though the 13 minute title track also has several moments of glorious abandon that will pull you straight through reality into a surreal, scatterbrained tandem, with tasteful little guitar licks cycling against an abstract harmony, the bass thundering through its own dimension, a French Nothingface?!
Yes, 11 As In Adversaries is indeed interesting, and sets the mind to reeling, but the ultimate product didn't leave a major, lasting impression on me. I'm not saying that this is different for difference's sake, because that is not the intention of the band, but to explore their other influences out as far as they might take them. While The Full Intrepid Experience of Light will likely spin the heads of anyone into the other artists I've mentioned here, or similar, eclectic aberrations, it does seem to lack enough of the defining riffs and sequences that arc such a work into the annals of legend. Sporadic moments of greatness devolve into engaging, forgettable patterns, and the controlled chaos never quite manifests into a tirade of genius. But perhaps these gentlemen are only warming us up, because using this as a base, who knows what asylum of sound they might go trampling through next?