"The Great Southern Darkness"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Leave it to the French to drag the icy music of the frozen mountains into the steamy swamps of the southern bayous. After all, the Cajun folk are French, no? Glorior Belli remembers, and bridges the gap between hot and cold with "The Great Southern Darkness". Frigid black metal meets dank and dismal sludginess here...a welcome development in the hidebound BM world.

These agent provocateurs know just how to mix the two. When you hear the blasting chaos of "Secret Ride To Rebellion" and "Bring Down the Cosmic Scheme", you hear orthodox black metal at its most scathing and demonic. But nestled alongside that unholy mayhem, "They Call Me Black Devil" and the title track gives us the lurching blues-soaked sickness right from the swamps of Louisiana. Fans of Eyehategod and even Corrosion of Conformity might feel at home with these unhealthy odes, yet the blackness is still there.  Some cuts like "Dark Gnosis" and "Negative Incarnate" manage to twist these elements together in sinister mid-tempo hymns.

But there's more. Glorior Belli have a restless deviltry that can't stay put in any one style.  "Chaos Manifested" is a screaming burst of instrumental shrapnel that lives up to its title...fierce and untamed. "Per Nox Regna" is something different yet again...a choppy bit of angular darkness. The album ends smashingly with "Horns In My Pathway"...two/thirds being evil heavy blues that hangs on your heart like a heavy weight before a breath-taking change to full speed at the climax. That one tune sums up where Glorior Belli is coming from here. I doubted these guys on previous efforts, but not this time...hell comes to the swamp!