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Review: Glorior Belli - Meet Us at the Southern Sign
Glorior Belli
Meet Us at the Southern Sign

Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 50:36
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: August 14, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers Rating
Meet Us at the Southern Sign

Rated 4.38/5 (87.5%) (16 Votes)

Glorior Belli's 2007 opus Manifesting the Raging Beast was one of the ugliest Black Metal releases for that year. Riding ever so slightly on the coattails of the so-called "Orthodox Black Metal", they managed to carve themselves a very nice slice of that pie with a different approach of largely mid-paced, hate-filled Black Metal. With Meet Us at the Southern Sign, Glorior Belli have managed to inject some new life into their formula without betraying their previous output, seamlessly slipping some good ol' southern rock influence into their "selling your soul to the devil at the crossroads" aesthetic.

Diving straight in, Glorior Belli eschews any introduction, delivering you immediately into their coarse lo-fi guitar sound that lets you know the intention. The production is simultaneously lo-fi and strong, with all instruments ably represented and plenty of bottom end under the grating guitars. It is perfectly suited to the slow, tortured riffing and bendy melodies of "Once in a Blood Red Moon", a track that mixes it up into blasting territory towards the end. "The Forbidden Words" rages forward in great old Black Metal style, with Infestvvs' vocals croaking out in that blunt oratory style cemented into the orthodox scene by Mikko Aspa of Deathspell Omega, kind of like a demented priest of Satan whose sermon has gone over long and he needs a drink. It is, however, the injection of some blues based riffing that really sets Meet Us at the Southern Sign apart, with "Swamp That Shame" and "In Every Grief-Stricken Blues" that turn this into "(beaten) Black and Blue Metal", a slight 12-bar style influence that manages to stand out as effective and original without betraying the intention or the message, blending in as cleanly as you could expect it to. Infestvvs even tries to sing on this track, and while not entirely successful the brief clean(ish) vocals are preferable to the occasional foray into more shouty passages that mar the album in places. "Swamp That Shame" especially benefits greatly from this backwater musical approach with its twisted melodies and side-stage infernal atmosphere, as does "The Blazing Darkness (of Luciferian Skies)" with its rotten riffs and undercurrent of tense bass riffing. This is truly tense and uncomfortable music, with highly dissonant chords and progressions that are even more twisted with the southern style pitch shifting. There are definite cues from DsO, notably on the too short "My True Essence", but Glorior Belli are much more melodic and give you a break from the pervasive undercurrent of evil and hemorrhagic pounding.

Given how large the space was for Glorior Belli to take a grievous dive with this concept, they have managed to deliver a very engaging album. Fans of their earlier output will not be disappointed as this is still very close to the mark set by Manifesting the Raging Beast, but adds a completely unexpected ingredient that takes Meet Us at the Southern Sign deep into flavour country. This is deep, dark, disturbing music where the titular devil at the crossroads really is our Dark Lord rather than a campy Steve Vai showman. Glorior Belli has served up a mature album with evocative songwriting and atmosphere that stays true to the groundwork laid by earlier albums while successfully incorporating some fairly daring (for Black Metal) experimental elements. This is well worth the time of any Black Metal fan.

Other related information on the site
Review: Manifesting The Raging Beast (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Meet Us at the Southern Sign (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Apostates (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Great Southern Darkness (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
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