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Glorior Belli: The Great Southern Darkness

When it comes to Black Metal, one band many fans of the style are quick to name is the group Glorior Belli. One of the examples given is the more experimental album issued through their “side project” titled 11 As in Adversaries. The album, The Full Intrepid Experience of Light, earned the group plenty of fans, as well as some rather negative press towards the release. However, with the group going back to their Black Metal roots, and the fans of the style frothing at the mouth, I couldn’t help but prepare to sink my teeth into the three song sampler sent to me by Earsplit PR for Metal Blade Records. And after sitting down with it, I still continue to ponder: “What exactly is the big draw with Glorior Belli?”

Consider me old-fashioned in my love of first and early second-wave Black Metal, or even jaded due to how much time I have spent recently with “kvlt” Black Metal recordings, developing a greater understanding and appreciation for that underground approach in the past few months then I ever had. But, I’ve never quite understood why Glorior Belli is really put on such a high pedastal. Granted the band’s more Southern approach to Black Metal works very well and gives a rather unique sound, but this isn’t the first Black Metal band to do it, or to even do it right. Lord Foul immediately comes to mind with their impressive Southern soaked Black Metal ideas, as well as plenty of others.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t my saying the band is bad in any sense. I’m just not as moved by their works as other apparently, and that fact seems to ring true with The Great Southern Darkness. Included on my sampler were the tracks “Secret Ride to Rebellion”, “Negative Incarnate” and the the title track “The Great Southern Darkness”. Of all the songs, the slower paced Southern-rich “The Great Southern Darkness” was one of the more interesting tracks just in the manner it built up from a slower song to a much louder, heavier Black Metal track, and varying between those two elements. When you think Southern inspired Black Metal, this is the kind of song you would really expect to hear. It’s done well with plenty of great shifts between the built up heavier moments and the slower, less rich elements that have more of a regional input in comparison.

The rest of the material just feels like a traditional more modern Black Metal sound. There’s a great deal of energy and aggression in the music, as well as the screaming rhaspier vocals, especially in “Secret Ride to Rebellion”. There’s also some more technical groove elements to the track in the guitars that make it stand out, but it’s nothing that special. Other then that more energetic output, the song isn’t anything all that special. “Negative Incarnate” has some good atmosphere to the track, but again, it’s just nothing all that special. Both the songs are good, but I felt like after I heard them a second time, it was enough. I had, nor do I have a real interest in going back to these sampler tracks. Maybe in the full-length they’ll fit better, but overall I’m just not that impressed outside of “The Great Southern Darkness”. It’s solid Black Metal, the songs are well done, but outside some Southern rich elements, which “Negative Incarnate” gives a backseat to what seems like a more haunting or even gothic atmosphere, it’s not the most jaw dropping couple of tracks you’ll hear.

I can’t sit here and say I’m not a fan of Glorior Belli, but neither can I say I am. I’m more impartial to the group. They have some good material I enjoy, and then there’s stuff I’m just not the biggest fan of. The Great Southern Darkness is another effort by them that, if you like the band’s previous releases, chances are you’re going to like this one. It’s nothing that special that will win over any new fans already on the fence about the group, but there’s clearly a good deal of effort put into these songs, which basically have me believing that The Great Southern Darkness is going to be a strong album either way with strong music. I’m personally anxious to hear what else the band has in store for this release, especially considering how impressive the title track was to me, which is the only song I can really see myself going back to or miss not hearing after a little while.

Article based on digital review material provided by Metal Blade Records.