Glorior Belli_Sundown (COVER ART HR)

Artist: Glorior Belli

Album Title: Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)

Label: Agonia Records

Date Of Release: 13 May 2016

It would appear, certainly to me anyway, that black metal features more one-man bands than any other genre of metal. And here we have another in the form of Glorior Belli, the brainchild of French multi-instrumentalist Infestvvs. Glorior Belli was formed in the early-mid noughties and, throughout its history has always been tagged with the descriptors of ‘avant-garde’ and ‘progressive’; quite reasonably too, because no two albums has ever been quite the same, always willing to experiment. Infestvvs, as a musician, either has a short attention span or, more likely, is simply keen to explore different musical avenues, wherever they may take him.

Starting out life as a more straight-up conventional black metal band, the past few albums have seen an increasing divergence away from that blueprint. In fact, whilst there is a faint undertone of black metal to Glorior Belli’s previous albums, such as ‘The Great Southern Darkness’ (2011) and ‘Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls’ (2013), it is arguably more in tune with the dirty and sludgy Southern Rock genre, otherwise referred to as ‘NOLA’. In light of this, I felt the need to approach album number six, ‘Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)’, with a certain amount of caution. To be honest, I’ve always been a bigger fan of black metal than Southern rock and as such I wasn’t too keen on the last album or two.

As I expected from an ‘avant-garde’ artist, the sonic output of this record delivered quite a shock, although not in the way that I had expected. I was braced for just about anything and everything except, that is, a return to the more traditional black metal structures. Frankly, it was a good shock, but it threw me to begin with.

Within a few moments of opening track ‘Strangled Skies’, I could hear with incredulity and relative delight the fast-picked tremolo riffs associated with classic black metal, not to mention furious double-pedal drumming, chord progressions and raspy vocals that call to mind the great and the good of the genre throughout the heady 90s and before.

However, allow the subtleties of the music to seep in and it becomes clear that Infestvvs has not abandoned some of the things he has learned over the years. There’s some lovely melody buried within the tumult as well as a really nice element of groove here and there.


‘World So Spurious’ continues at breakneck speed with more gloriously wrought black metal and if anything, is even better than the opener. If you like early Dissection with a splash of early Emperor, this should find favour with you. The bass guitar, when it can be heard and appreciated, has a lovely guttural rumble to it, really accentuating the slower mid-song groove segment to great effect.

‘Rebels in Disguise’ represents the first foray in a different direction. Those Southern rock influences come back with vengeance as the track writhes and lurches out of the swamps to a more pronounced stoner-like groove and with more immediacy in terms of the melodies at play.

In addition to the occasional sludgy moment, ‘Thrall of Illusions’ returns to batter the listener with more black metal menace that, for my money, tips its hat in the direction of Celtic Frost. It’s the longest track on the record and also the most epic in terms of the sheer grandiosity and ferociousness of the assault, not forgetting the grainy choral, almost operatic outro.

Elsewhere, the title track injects a tribal element to it via the repetitive nature of the ‘Sundown’ chanting and the employment of deep vocals, whilst ‘Satanists Out Of Cosmic Jail’ combines a ludicrous title with sampled French spoken-word parts and some of the most extreme battery on the entire record.

All-in-all, ‘Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes)’ is an interesting album that provides no little entertainment. It still fits within the ‘avant-garde’ realm but more importantly as far as I’m concerned, it is really gratifying to hear an artist that isn’t afraid to go back to rediscover and subtlety redefine his roots rather than push the boundaries ever further into the realms of the bizarre. It shows a real strength of character that has to be admired and this record is the stronger for it.

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.25


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