A band that mixes the sound of desert rock with the ‘brutal, ominous, doom laden vibe typical of black metal’, how could I not be interested. French four piece Glorior Belli, consisting of the mysteriously named J (guitar & vocals), H (guitar), T (bass) and G (drums), have got to be one of the more unique bands that I have come across this year, which is always a good thing.
“The Great Southern Darkness” is the bands fourth album and their first for Metal Blade Records after previously working with such labels as Southern Lord and Candlelight, and right from the very start, it lives up to the promises boasted on the press release. The intro of album opener ‘Dark Gnosis’ is a slow burning laid back riff that introduces the first collision of the two very different styles that work so well on this album. ‘Secret Ride…’ is a much more frantic tune, with more of the bands Black Metal leanings coming through, although still featuring some of the fine blues influenced stoner grooves that filter through this album.
The title track is one of the stand-out songs on this offering. Beginning with an impossibly laid back guitar lick, featuring clean vocals but still has the dark side that lurks menacingly in the wings waiting to take over. In a similar vein the closing track ‘Horns In My Path’ treads the same path, with clean vocals throughout and marks a full transformation from blackened metal to Southern rock and it is done with extremely well. There is also what is purely a stoner instrumental offering in the shape of ‘Per Nox Regna’ as well as ‘Chaos Manifested’ which although instrumental is played a breakneck speed highlighting the other side to this schizophrenic and highly listenable band.
In a similar way to Kvelertak’s 2010 debut, the way Glorior Belli have mixed up some very different genres is what makes this album work so well. The general pattern for each of the tracks on here is vaguely similar. The guitars of J and H range from Kyuss to the more necro end of the scale. Offering up riff after riff of sumptuous guitar work, whilst the drums of G and J’s abrasive vocals are the cornerstones of the more extreme influences on here. An excellent album, one that has caused me to invest in some of their earlier work, one that should appeal to a wide range of fans of different styles of music.