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Glorior Belli - Manifesting the Raging Beast - 90%

RevengeISeek666, May 5th, 2009

For the past few years, the French black metal scene has been getting more and more notoriety and attention. The reasons are that the bands who belong in it are trying – unwillingly or simply naturally – to reinvent and redirect this sacred sub-genre in an entirely new, perhaps even revolutionary direction. Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord were the first ones in the metal underground scene to have done – even achieved – that task; the former imposing a progressive, almost cinematic feel into their sound by unleashing utmost technical debauchery contrasted with the bleak, bitter and frantic motorized warfare of the latter. Other bands can be included in this note-worthy movement such as Antaeus, Obscurus Advocam, Peste Noire, Merrimack and many others. A band that discerns itself more than the rest, not to the point of being revolutionary and outstanding, but that can be plain simple, yet unorthodox, is Glorior Belli. Working hard on their next effort, Meet Us at the Southern Sign, which is due on June 6th on the legendary label Candlelight Records, the reclusive ever-changing trio has put a formula that can work well in black metal : simplistic, gloomy and simply put challenging. All of these characteristics are also found in their preceding effort, Manifesting the Raging Beast.

After an ominous, unsettling eighteen-second start, the album starts off with From Darkness There Springs Light, a mesmerizing play by the French black metallers. Infestuus’s snarly, slow yet very eloquent vocals leaves place to an intimidating environment, especially after the middle of the song. The guitars are hypnotic, gloomy, but also well-arranged. Infestuus is a talented performer and a very structured one I might add. You can sense an interesting contrast between the agony and the brutality of the music. Smaller gentle chords are opposed to buzzed, frenzied riffs. It’s as simple as that. Afterwards, the end of the song is simply put terrifying with a reminder of what black metal is and should always be. Speaking of which, "Deadly Sparks", "Severed From the Self” and “Said Lucifer in Twilight” are some of the fastest tracks, yet they also contain more agonizing, dreadful moments. The title track, “Manifesting the Raging Beast”, could very well be a well-adjusted rock song with the power chords and the verse-chorus-verse formula. However, everything dissipates after a minute and a half. The blast beats, the screaming, tortured vocals and the frenetic, tempestuous riffs appear all at once. “Sinister Resonance” is almost the symmetrical brother of the first track, but with more guts and courage than it thanks to that ascending effect with plays a few seconds after the familiar spellbinding of Infestuus’s presence. After the disarray stops, it’s all about how long you can make a riff last after you play it or in other words, resonance, hence the title. “Serpentine Admonition” is a calmer, more suitable song before the end of the album with the repetitive, almost groovy riffs and the simplistic percussions. Finally, we have “Altered Verses”, the most brutal track, but also the most effective with the memorable, almost legendary solo that emerges near the end, surrounded by an impending doom and sludgy riffs.

Over all, this album is definitely a chance to give to one of the emerging French black metal bands out there today. Manifesting the Raging Beast might not be a classic, but it’s certainly an interesting deal to give to people out there who are enquiring enough to discover another take on black metal, a more excruciating and agonizing one. It’s raw, yet atmospheric. An album filled with interesting contrasts. Leaving that aspect aside, all you will remember are these words : Manifesting the raging beast…

Standout tracks : Deadly Sparks, Severed From the Self, Manifesting the Raging Beast and Altered Verses