The latest album from French black metallers Glorior Belli won’t sound like anything else you’ve heard this year. The Great Southern Darkness isn’t exactly black metal either. At least not in the typical sense. It possesses the dark and ominous black metal presence while taking a bluesier route musically. The songs are all oozing with a stoner-rock groove. Listening to this album conveys the sense of trekking through the desert and taking in all the sights it has to offer throughout the day and night.
The album begins with the slow-burning “Dark Gnosis.” It’s a steady grooving track that shows off Glorior Belli’s ability to get down and dirty as they rock. I’m very particular about the bluesy stoner-rock infused metal I listen to, but this band does it well. Each ten-ton riff is as infectious as it gets. Things can still get fast and hectic at times. The instrumental “Chaos Manifested” races forward and really shows off the kick-ass drumming happening on this album. Everything is wrapped nicely in a warm atmosphere. The fuzzy production gives it that extra edge and helps further paint the desert landscape.
“Negative Incarnate” comes across like dark poetry in motion. The melodic riffing hooks me in every time I hear it. It’s followed by the equally powerful “Bring Down the Cosmic Scheme” to deliver a nice one-two punch. “The Great Southern Darkness” comes as a nice surprise after hearing the hearing the five sweltering tracks before it. It’s got the heaviest blues vibe on the album. J drops his authoritative harsh vocals in favor of clean vocals for a while. It’s like stopping to rest under a cool, starry desert night sky after spending the day the traveling in the desert heat. Things wrap up nicely with the powerful “Horns in my Pathway.” There’s a tight bass groove riding through it that stands out.
The Great Southern Darkness may not be the easiest album to instantly immerse yourself in, but it’s well worth giving a little time. It’s warm, inviting nature will lure you in sooner or later(especially if doomy black metal vibes are inviting to you). Each track is a unique leg of what truly is a journey. Glorior Belli have managed to create one of the more unique and interesting releases of the year.