Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness

A very important rule when approaching the music from Paris band Glorior Belli for the first time is make no opinions until having listened to them for numerous times. That applies to most bands to some extent with a true and rounded view of a release not truly achieved until having heard it enough times to find the less obvious nuances, treasures and flaws within. With Glorior Belli it applies very much so, their blend of southern rock grooves and guitars melded into a black metal doom laced field is a distinct and at first bewildering sound. On first listen there is more than enough intrigue to keep with it again and again, and the result is the discovery of a smart and openly different sound that has so much more in quality and satisfaction to offer than initially thought. For some it will hit a note instantly but for others the extra work needed is far exceeded by the resulting pleasure.

Glorior Belli consisting of duo J (guitar/vocals) and G (drums) began late 2002 garnering attention and notoriety within their homeland with their black metal brutal sounds and the releases of a demo and two albums up to 2007. A third album, Meet Us At The Southern Sign released 2009 via Candlelight Records, was the point more people really took notice of the band’s “blend of Desert-Rock textures with the brutal, ominous, doom-laden vibe typical of Black Metal.” Having signed with Metal Blade Records the band’s fourth album The Great Southern Darkness is released late September to further impress, recruit and probably confuse more and more people. Confusion is good if hand in hand with intrigue and more than a dose of engagement and that is certainly the case with The Great Southern Darkness.

Opening track ‘Dark Gnosis’ stands proud and tall boasting deep veins of heavy riffs and throbbing bass lines courted with sonically melodious scythes of guitar. Unrepentant it drives at the senses and though brief it sets up the powerful following bestial ‘Secret Ride to Rebellion’. This track overwhelms with as much dirty eagerness as its predecessor but an even blacker heart. The guttural growls backed by the throbbing menace of the bass and the incisive and hard drums bring an oppressive sound permeated with more razor sharp and repetitive guitars.

They Call Me Black Devil’ is the first track to offer a more distinct hard rock guitar sound on the album. Still a dark centred intense song it carries a danger like a mutated beast drenched in the black arts whilst soaked in a still of Mondo Generator and at times QOTSA with the striving guitar sounds that call out from within the shadows of the song. A one dimensional flavour to a genre can be fine but ultimately bore after a while, with Glorior Belli there is no fear of that happening within the song or indeed the whole album.

There are moments on the album that send tingles down the spine like the opening twang of ‘Negative Incarnate’ as it rumbles into a dark musical insanity, the wanton bedlam of ‘Bring Down The Cosmic Scheme’, and the unrelenting crescendo build of ‘Chaos Manifested’ an instrumental of unstoppable urgent energy. These already make the album something more than worth attention  but with the added addition of the release’s best two tracks, ‘The Great Southern Darkness’ and ‘The Foolhardy Venturer’ it becomes an essential listen.

The first strolls in with a blues touch and muzzled clean vocals on a mid pace attack before opening up into J’s gravelling tones alongside great hard rock forceful sounds all coated in a dark vibe. The latter of the two and probably the superior is a hell spawn offspring of death sludge grooves and a roving bass looking to corrupt more than the ear. An additive guitar hook over hazardous riffs makes the song a masterclass in making challenging and equally rewarding music.

For many The Great Southern Darkness will ask for more attention and effort than other more instantly accessible and possibly less rewarding releases but go for it, the result as found out here is an album that stirs up and connects with the emotions in a most gratifying way.

RingMaster 22/09/2011

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HateSphere – The Great Bludgeoning

Thoughts of European Thrash metal always immediately include the Danish metalers HateSphere, their presence, status and contribution nearing legendary level. Since being formed in 2000 by guitarist Peter “Pepe” Hansen the band has been at the forefront of the genre pushing limits, setting new boundaries, and dropping a pace for others to keep up with. The end of September sees the band return with their seventh album The Great Bludgeoning via Napalm Records, a release once again cementing the quintets place as one of the leading forces in thrash metal.

The band’s previous 2009 album To The Nines set a distinct mark earning deserved acclaim worldwide for its power and quality. The Great Bludgeoning follows with equal devastation and satisfaction, a full force heavy riff machine loaded with additive pummelling rhythms and infectious engaging melodies. The album is also the first recording with new vocalist Esben Hansen and bassist Jimmy Nedergaard (Gob Squad) who joined May of this year, additions that brings new aspects to the band’s sound without diminishing their trademark aural intensity. They both add a new distinct spice to the music, especially in Hansen with a more controlled delivery than heard before with Joller Albrechtsen. Though the sound has an old school feel their additional flavours do push the band in a newer direction, one certainly with more seeming variation. The band commented on the new album: “We have aimed the new album in a more old-school direction than its predecessor. With people this experienced joining the band it has been a very relaxed and enjoyable process to write the songs, and we have all agreed on the concept: More metal and everything that follows. The cover, the title and the lyrics speaks for themselves. We are an angry-sounding metal band, and we have no intention of denying that. That’s why the cover is more back-to-the-roots and the lyrics are again about aggressions, drinking and hate, the things that HateSphere has always been about.” 

The Great Bludgeoning strikes forcibly from opening track ‘The Killer’, the first chords and incisive riffs setting out the album’s landscape; Hatesphere are back with a vengeance, the sound driven, intense and dripping menacing attitude lyrically and musically. The band do not go for niceties, they target the jugular from the off and even with some inspired subsequent creative melodic guitar play from Hansen and rhythm guitarist Jakob Nyholm, nothing is ever anything other than incisive and clear in aggressive intent.

Venom’ takes over wandering in on a slow melodic guitar but soon transforms into a track fitting of the title. Mike Park lays down a beat that resonates inside, his drums pounding on the songs chest wonderfully as the guitars conjure up powerful and emotive sounds. Hard rock sounds integrated into the might of the bands thrash power work perfectly and bring a well rounded feel to this track, others, and to the album as a whole.

Each song bursts its guts to bring forth all the power and energy within its skin, the brutality of ‘Decayer’ plus the thrash/rock straight to the point attack, spiced with engaging melodic guitar play of the final two tracks ‘Need To Kill’ and ‘Devil In Your Own Hell’, all combine to show a release well crafted and brought to satisfying realisation. It gives a highly solid base to the album allowing the best tracks to elevate things onto even higher levels.

The album is strong but the quality within the mighty incessant riff and drum belligerence of ‘Smell Of Death’ and the best track on the album, the predatory slowly stalking ‘Resurrect With A Vengeance’, and the heavyweight ferocity of the title track, make the release immense. After a few listens of The Great Bludgeoning the realisation that again Hatesphere have produced an album that will be a benchmark was clear. Thrash metal is in safe hands as long as the band keep this kind of quality coming.

http://www.hatesphere.com/

RingMaster 22/09/2011

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