Review Summary: With their third album Meet Us At The Southern Sign, French black metal band Glorior Belli has once again given the listener a VIP pass to a tour through the inner circles of Hell, with Satan as the head guide.
The underground elite have been shouting it out for some years now, but I will also say it too: the French underground black metal movement is a seriously, and bewilderingly, strong one. Infact I'll stick my neck out and champion it as better than Norway for it's crop of current (read as last 5 years) bands. Another feather in the cap is Glorior Belli from Auxerre who have recently released album no. 3, "Meet Us At The Southern Sign".
The strength of France's key players (Deathspell Omega, Antaeus, Blut Aus Nord, Arkhon Infaustus and Glorior Belli) is that they all sound different from each other, having drawn upon the well of the vast classic library of Scandinavian BM, dragged it into a new century and in the process made the job of BM's naysayers that bit more difficult. The discordant chord progressions fronting opener "Once In A Blood Red Moon" and the spacey Down or "Planet Caravan" feel of "In Every Grief-Stricken Blues" should be enough to convince you that Glorior are no one trick pony. They are not here to blast incessantly for Satan like 1000 other bands. These 2 or 3 guys (its not always easy to tell) know how to write an album of songs and the resulting feel of a closeted crusty BM feel similar to Secrets Of The Moon, recent Nachtmystium, and Drudkh is a huge compliment to Glorior Belli.
I have insulted bands in the past for using too many flavours across the space of an album but "Meet Us..." is not going to receive such dismissals. Perhaps because I like the 'similar' bands so very very much but the feel of Ukrainian hermits Drudkh in "Nox Illuminatio Mea"; the Enslaved-feel of "There Is But One Light"; and general similarities to Secrets Of The Moon are indicative of a band writing a variety of songs, rather than one undecided upon which seat to sit. Experimentalism is a word under-used in BM which arguably is more fantastically diverse than any other (sub-)genre of real metal these days yet Glorior, a band whose name at least prior to "Meet Us..." wouldn't get them a place in the 'BM Premier League', flirt obsessively close with the term. The band are no Agalloch, casting aside every genre pre-conception in the name of individuality, but tracks like "Swamp That Shame" subtlety demonstrate Glorior's latent potential.
Knowing certain others will pick up on it, for the most part the vocals of Infestvvs are more prosaic than the guitar tone and song structuring behind him but a dry hoarse delivery like this I'll take any day over the gargled shriek of corpsepainted-Darkthrone-clone no. 2675 and with it I leave the album feeling satisfied and contented. Also, knowing confidently that is a very good album because after numerous listens I can just feel that with a continuation of this style, Glorior Belli are destined to drop us a real classic.