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I’d like to see myself as a rather open-minded person considering music. When I’m searching for and listening to some new bands and artists, I prefer to give my attention to those who have something fresh and original in their music. For example, even though the debut album of Impaled Nazarene is a masterpiece, there is no point in making a replica of it. Why reinvent the wheel when you can craft something of your own?
That being said, everything has its limits. Some borders are not meant to be crossed, and some musical genres are not meant to be mixed together.
The name Glorior Belli was somewhat familiar to me before listening to Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls, so I really didn’t know for sure what to expect. But upon hearing that their newer material should be a mixture of black metal, stoner and southern rock – all of which I highly enjoy – a shadow of skepticism started creeping up my back; can this ever work properly throughout a full-length release? So, for the sake of open-mindedness, I decided to give this album a fair chance to prove my preconception wrong.
This time I was only fifty percent right; the album is not total crap, but it’s not really good either. It’s rather confusing and oddly piled up, made up of components that refuse to work together, yet at the same time, even when you tear the pieces apart, you notice it’s all kind of boring and predictable. The black metal-influenced parts have been heard so many times before that you can nearly always guess exactly how they are going to end or what note is coming next. And with the stoner/southern rock passages, the problem is precisely the same, although some riffs do have a pretty nice and fluent groove going on. It sounds like composer Billy Bayou can’t decide what kind of music he wants to go after, so he tries to grab ingredients from all his favorite genres and concoct something far beyond his reach.
The best this album has to offer are the lyrics, which clearly have more idea and identity than the music itself. The spirit of orthodox/religious black metal shines through, and they’re actually quite interesting to read, which is an achievement in itself nowadays in a sub-genre suffering from substantial inflation. With this in mind, it’s kind of sad to admit that the vocals are almost ruining the atmosphere in the lyrics, as Billy sounds more like he’s recording a metalcore album. I honestly think that his voice isn’t suited for black metal, and even less so for stoner or southern rock! While not a bad vocalist at all, he just seems out of his element here.
Having now listened to Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls for perhaps the tenth time, I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on. Musically, I really can’t identify what Glorior Belli is trying to achieve, or why. Clearly Billy Bayou has skills and talent as a musician, but if only he could concentrate on one style at a time… In the end, could I really see him as a revered musical genius in the future, famous for his fluent fusion of multiple contrasting genres? Doubtful.
Originally written for Enslain webzine: http://enslain.net/blog/