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I have never been a huge fan of black metal. While I do enjoy the genre very much, this past year was an off one in the BM department for me. Just when it seemed like no band could rekindle my interest in the genre- Glorior Belli (to pride yourself in time of war) released what is not only one of the best albums this year, but definitely the best black metal album of recent years. First off, black metal purist beware, this is not a straight up "kvlt" black metal album, that isn't to say there isn't a sickening amount of fury, darkness, and aggression present in The Great Southern Darkness.
The album kicks off with "Dark Genosis" a short aggressive piece that basically grabs the listener by collar and ask simply: "Are you ready for this?" Glorior use tempo changes masterfully to keep the short track from being just another black metal track. The next track, Secret Ride To Rebellion is essentially an extension of the first track. Glorior Belli show their true colors on the third track "They Call Me Black Devil" which is not only a goddammned awesome title but is one of the best songs of 2011. Glorior's southern influence is foremost prevalent in this track. Bluesy, groovy riffs are perfectly intertwined with the traditional tremolo riffs black metal is known for. The next two tracks "Negatuve Incarnate" and "Bring Down The Cosmic Scheme" both showcase Glorior's chief talents and novelties: heavy use of bluesy riffs, and a masterful use of alternating tempos and rhythmic structures. Both songs are fast as all hell and following these two perfect tracks comes an instrumental, definitely my favorite instrumental ever, the astonishingly fast, terrifyingly powerful "Chaos Manifested" a track that accomplishes just what it's name implies and then some. If not for this track the vocals would have definitely gotten a little tiring.
After the masterpiece that is "Chaos Manifested" the album takes an (unbelievable) even darker tone starting with the title track which is an instant classic in my opinion, more reminiscent of Southern Metal with a black metal influence than the first half of the album. This track is done in a moderately medium tempo which gives a heavy sort of quality. The powerful blues riffs take me back to the times spent in Arkansas doing southern things that southern people do(?). After this the album keeps itself fresh and very much alive and aggressive by alternating between it's more melodic Southern side and it's more chaotic style of black metal on tracks like "The Foolhardy Venture", "Per Nox Regna" and "The Science if Shifting" we hear Glorior Belli push themselves to the maximum in pursuit if the ultimate innovative listening experience. The album comes to a close with yet another song of the year candidate "Horns In My Pathway". The track is an ultimate blend Glorior's blindingly fast black metal style with their more medium tempo melodic southern style it's one of my favorite tracks EVER and the final 45 seconds of it are the perfect way to cap not only an album of the tear but the definite BM record this decade.