Glorior Belli - Meet Us At The Southern Sign - (8.5/10)
Published on July 19, 2009
In the rapidly growing modern wave of black metal, few can deny that some of the most groundbreaking and brilliant contributors are hailing from France. With bands like Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord honing their craft to perfection, these elite few are influencing others and almost single-handedly carving the path that the genre will thread. Standing a few steps behind these giants of black metal, stands the comparably fresh-faced Glorior Belli. With seven years and three full-lengths under their spiked belts, these French audio-connoisseurs are still doing their best to leave deep scars on an otherwise far too unremarkable musical landscape.
Just from admiring the curious title and cover art of Meet Us At The Southern Sign, it’s clear that this is not your average frostbitten slaughterfest. Taking the concept of meeting the devil at a road-crossing to sell your soul in trade for musical proficiency, and applying this diabolical idea to the realm of black metal, is a bold and interesting move. Not satisfied with simply adapting this distinctly southern concept, Glorior Belli also sees it fit to combine their unholy art with elements of blues and southern rock. Sounds like a recipe for either disaster or a masterstroke, and I respect them for daring to experiment with their sound.
Since at their core Glorior Belli could be accused of shamelessly borrowing their sound from bands like Funeral Mist, their choice of branching out seems to have been a wise one. The bluesy guitars that shine through on more than a few occasions are unlike anything I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear in black metal before, yet they are kept to a degree where they’re never allowed to dominate the sound too much. The song “In Every Grief-Stricken Blues” is perhaps the closest we’ll ever come to hearing a “blue metal” song (I hereby coin that phrase), featuring clean vocals and a irresistible groove. It’s certainly not “pure” or even “true”, but as far as originality goes, this song is a real keeper. Combine this with several songs of excellent fresh-sounding riffs and a great production, and we see this band propelling to the front of their niche.
For a band that many have accused of being followers, Meet Us At The Southern Sign is a giant leap towards finding their own unique sound. This is the kind of black metal that you could blast on a hot summer night, while sitting in a rocking-chair on your front-porch, and it still wouldn’t sound out of place. I never thought I’d utter the phrase “this is the best French redneck black metal I’ve ever heard”, but for this album it seems oddly poignant.