Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness

Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness

Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness

The Great Southern Darkness from French black metal band Glorior Belli is a beast of a release. It’s also challenging and initially bewildering, an album that despite giving enough intrigue on the first listen to make one delve deeper, keeps its smart and engaging elements behind a veil of noise. All releases should be listened to many times to appreciate the pros and cons, but with some bands like the Paris based Glorior Belli it is even more essential. The reward for the extra attention is more than satisfying with The Great Southern Darkness and its unique blend of black magic and southern rock grooves create a distinct pleasure.

Glorior Belli consists of J (guitar/vocals) and G (drums), the duo grabbing attention since the band’s formation in 2002 with a demo and a couple of albums leading up to 2007. It was their 2009 third album Meet Us At The Southern Sign released via Candlelight Records that brought them a more intense attention, their “blend of Desert-Rock textures with the brutal, ominous, doom-laden vibe typical of Black Metal” finding an eager interest for its different sounds. Now, having signed with Metal Blade Records the band releases their new album The Great Southern Darkness to undoubtedly impress, recruit and probably confuse an even wider audience. Releases that take and give more than those with an easy, instant and often soulless charm are always more satisfying long term and The Great Southern Darkness is a fine example.

The album opens with “Dark Gnosis” and though brief it throbs with deep bass sounds and heavyweight riffs. It is defiant and boastful, leading into the next track “Secret Ride to Rebellion” eagerly. The second track assaults just as hard and firmly as the opener, but with an even dirtier black heart showing no mercy or respite in its attack. Complete with guttural growls, more pulsing basslines, and razor sharp repetitive guitars over formidable drums, the song is black metal at its filthiest.

From “They Call Me Black Devil” more variation comes in as a lighter southern rock feel plays amongst the dark powered intent. The track is intensely menacing and fused with striving guitar sounds fresh from the well of sounds created by the likes of Kyuss or of Mondo Generator.  The album brings in more varied and intriguing elements from here on in, such as the southern twang of “Negative Incarnate”, the incessant and demanding climbing intensity of “Chaos Manifested”, and the chaotic frenzy of “Bring Down The Cosmic Scheme”. All combine to create an album that, with a little extra focus, is a thoroughly impressive and enjoyable experience.

The best tracks on The Great Southern Darkness are the title track and the stunning “The Foolhardy Venturer”. The first is a blues lined mid-pace trudge graced with a clean vocal delivery before opening up into gravel vocals and forceful hard rock sounds all coated in a dark cloud, whilst the second is a hellacious inbred mix of death sludge grooves and a predatory bass riff sound. With guitars that incite and mesmerise alongside hazardous riffs, the song is a masterpiece of dark, heavy music pierced by addictive sounds.

The Great Southern Darkness is an album that demands more than just your ear to fully enjoy its wealth of treasures, but the result from entertaining this requirement is a release that satisfies deeper and longer than most.