Glorior Belli - The Great Southern Darkness
Progress is a wonderful thing. In terms of a musical entity, the ability to simultaneously look backwards and forwards is something to behold. It gives you perspective without sacrificing ambition; a foundation to build on or to tear off of. Glorior Belli have, over three album's worth of material starting with Manifesting The Raging Beast and (as of now) cumulating in the upcoming The Great Southern Darkness, proven to me that progress has been a focal point, intentionally or not. This album is the best they've done yet, and one of the best metal albums you'll find this year.
Just listen to that intro riff on "Dark Gnosis", listen to the intricacies of the drum fills and how tightly it's all woven together with that crafty, pitched distortion acting as the thread. You'll get a great idea of what I mean when I say progress. While the band has ably managed shifting tempos in the past, never have they been able to be so convincing on either end of their imposed spectrum; "Secret Ride To Rebellion" utilizes blasting passages of raw black metal to punctuate the groove-laden bridging passages like the seasoned professionals they've become. "They Call Me Black Devil" and "Negative Incarnate" further the process of progression, emphasizing critical points of guitar mastery and vocal violence in satisfying ways. The title track has a deep-south groove to it, and in fact, this record is far more heavily influenced by the American South's blend of metal than any the band has done prior. I, for one, find that to be most welcome, as they are at least on par with many of that genre's most well-respected members. Also more than ever before, each track seems to have it's own identity, seems to stand apart from the others, making for an overall brilliant experience.
I have my doubts that Glorior Belli will ever be able to top this, but then again, that's been a continuing theme of my experience with the band so far. The better they get, the more I expect and I am used to my expectations not being met in this sense. Luckily for me and, hopefully, all of you reading this, we've got a band here that has only gotten better as time wears on. The Great Southern Darkness is begging to be heard, begging to be the one record that puts Glorior Belli in the spotlight of extreme metal's elite.
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