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Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness (2011) - 70%

Asag_Asakku, June 7th, 2012

I am always looking for innovation, which can be found even within a stiff genre like black metal. Usually, it is “style crossing” that provides the most significant artistic developments and dark metal is no exception. It is through experimentation that sub-genre like black n'roll, atmospheric black metal or black thrash are born. Well the next new feature will probably result of French Glorior Belli's work! This band music is based on an unlikely fusion between black metal and stoner rock. And it is The Great Southern Darkness (2011) album that formalizes the black stone birth!

Stoner rock is characterized by heavy and greasy shuffling rhythms, as if the musicians were crushed by moisture and heat. The sound is round, the coating is slack, and blues influence is evident. This music seems to be composed and performed under some sort of depressant (and other natural herbs). Fusing such a style with uncompromising black metal is not obvious, but this challenge is brilliantly met by J., band leader since its founding in 2002. From Dark Gnosis, which introduces the album, guitar chords leave no doubt as to the aesthetic choices made by Glorior Belli. It is heavy and oozing, giving the listener the impression of moving in a swamp on the outskirts of the Mississippi river. Secret Ride to Rebellion accelerates the tempo, but the underlying structure remains the same. The gravelly voice that accompanies the music even adds an extra dimension to the suffocating atmosphere developed by the group since the beginning of the disk. Some songs like They Call me the Black Devil and title track recall even more stoner music influences. At times I thought I was listening to Queens of the Stone Age or Kyuss (especially Blues for the Red Sun). It brought back my teenage years and all its excesses. Negative Incarnate and Bring Down the Cosmic Scheme are sounding more closer to regular black metal, while keeping an original structure and development. However, the album loses its breath from The Foolhardy Venturer, an average song, and Per Nox Regna, too slow and without the same cachet of other stoner songs. Chaos Manifested raises the bar a bit. Its central riff, sharp and fast, is supported by a strong rhythm, while Horns in my Pathway, which closes the record, is divided in two parts: stoner first, fast and aggressive black metal last. It epitomizes the talent of these French alchemists like no other.

Not all style crossing are successful. To achieve this, you need a mixture of folly and skills, qualities held by Glorior Belli. The Great Southern Darkness, whose title echoes Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill, may mark the birth of a new style that will probably be emulated. 7/10

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