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A foul stench. - 40%

Diamhea, July 12th, 2016

I was quite partial to Gloria Morti's earlier output, especially Eryx, but their more recent stuff feels rather wanting from a diversity standpoint, to say nothing of the perceived dearth of theatrical upper hand that they formerly presented as some sort of x factor. Kuebiko feels hollow and empty, despite being as loud and/or verbose as any of their other releases - and certainly more than many of their peers. The cyclical misdirection granted by endless upper-mid tempo blasting, droning dissonance and featureless compositions drags these Finns down like nothing before, not even their weaker fare like Anthems of Annihilation.

On paper, this presents itself as a less opulent alternative to Polish black/death metal bands like Vesania, Hate, Zyklon and to a lesser extent: Demigod-era Behemoth. Only without the eccentricity of three of those four acts (exonerating Hate for the time being); Kuebiko feels like unnecessarily vexated hand-waving, boasting at best a smattering of burly chugging amid the choking din of dissonance like during the brief but effective release of tension that "The Termination of All Bonds" wisely rides out on. Shame that it takes the band over twelve minutes to deliver something truly engaging and worthy of their earlier near-masterworks. Elsewhere, Gloria Morti fall prey to pitfalls they had bridged over long ago, for example the overuse of distracting sound clips which only serves to sully what little narrative momentum longtime frontman Joonas Alanko manages. His constipated and effect-drowned inflection is otherwise capable, redolent of later-era Vesania. Alanko manages to get out of Kuebiko with most of his integrity intact, if only by virtue of his earlier accomplishments.

But the stale as month old bread riffing is near-inexcusable. On a technical level it is safe at best, and derivative at worst. Channeled through and bound by the mono-geared percussion is its biggest fault, forced to deliver standard modern death metal slush when just about anything else would be welcome. No mosh fueled grooves, only the occasional dense and dingy tremolo - instead we find Gloria Morti abusing the same fret space as they play some of the least distinctive blackened death metal this side of... anything. Kuebiko is a strange beast, an album that tries its damndest to sound monolithic and dangerous, instead feeling more like Myrkskog injected with female hormones against its will. Select moments of the aforementioned and drawn out closer and "Chimeral Form" nail their chugging ballasts with ferocity, but the remainder is a nebulous, amorphous and blackened bowel movement of sorts.

I hate throwing these guys to the wolves, but I expect more from blackened death metal in 2016 and especially from such experienced musicians. The riffs are structurally capable, but the songwriting falls so flat that it very nearly becomes painful in its irrelevance. Tempered with a less blast-centric percussive backbone, Kuebiko could have played around with more riff variety and cooked up less familiar avenues instead of boring the shit out of me. Can you actually believe that the best thing about the record is The X Files soundclip at the end of "Death by a Thousand Cuts (Lingchi)?"