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Great? Southern? Dark? Check, Check, And Check - 87%

GuntherTheUndying, January 26th, 2012

Black metal and southern rock, eh? I'm no expert, but that sounds like mixing vanilla ice cream and Mountain Dew. Known for their universal boldness, French idealists Glorior Belli have established a network of wires running between both sub-genres throughout the appropriately titled "The Great Southern Darkness," and it's actually a very satisfying experience on both ends despite the initial alarm of an impractical assortment. Both identities are represented accurately and with diabolical precision, but Glorior Belli at least has the guff to simultaneously mix both themes at once throughout certain intervals, and the result is something totally unique, perplexing, or perhaps a trifle abstract. Either way, they've created a dashing display of imagination that expands beyond the basic clich├ęs of mashing sounds.

As bold as it appears, it's actually a very infatuating postulate. The customary norm includes ricocheting, crunchy sequences bending between classic tremolo riffs and some slimily guitar work that sounds like it was flown in from a Louisiana swamp. They quickly show the listener just how versatile the experiment turned out through the shearing, atonal guitar wails of "Secret Ride Into Rebellion" and blackened onslaughts like "Bring Down the Cosmic Scheme." However, Glorior Belli is at full strength during the rock-laden title track and the bluesy stint of "Horns in My Pathway"; both show the group dominating the additional musical bloodlines with clean vocals and chameleonic skin, and to absolute excellence I might add. Some tunes are programmed to perform black metal and others keep the group's rock edge at the forefront, but the overall product is quite enjoyable regardless of Glorior Belli's esoteric direction.

The album's finest trait is, however, its impeccable production quality. All of Glorior Belli's properties shine in lights ranging from vicious and brutal to slithering and mysterious at whichever juncture they engage on the musical end, and whatever they're doing sounds bombastic and completely enthralling. Overall just another great record from a stellar band that's shifting black metal's trajectory against the northern winds and making obscure ideas in black metal seem comfortable and natural. For an album so weird, it seems calculated and calm, and I think that proves Glorior Belli knows just what in the hell they're doing even if it seems like they're diving off the deep end a bit. You'll go crazy for this if you enjoy the band (especially "Meet us at The Southern Sign") or just want something fresh, unprocessed, and youthfully jiving for what it is.

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