Manifesting the Raging Beast
Whereas many black metal albums I’ve tuned onto lately bring to mind whipping winds and daggers of ice, France’s Glorior Belli evoke vastly different atmospherics and psychic geography. Manifesting the Raging Beast feels like a thick, chilly, humid fog, settling in, slowly blotting out the sun, with any greenery and color drained to a steely gray. There’s a nauseous feeling to these songs, a slight smoldering, a swirling disorientation that sets it apart from much of the more speed-oriented black metal. Mainfsting the Raging Beast owes its debts to the Cure’s Pornography, Toadliquor’s Hortator’s Lament, Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss, or even Godflesh’s murkier moments.
The sound of Manifesting the Raging Beast is that of distant doomy rumbles, rarely giving way to speed for speed’s sake. Glorior Belli create atmospheres and emotions through thick walls of blackened sonics that create a suffocating extremity and maybe even, dare I say it, beauty. Repeated listens prove the Seasons in the Abyss comparison particulary apt (as would be one to classic Mayhem, to stay within genre), there is the same feeling of creeping dread and barely restrained fury. And drummer MA Fog brings a loose-limbed power to his drumming, he doesn’t sound like a drum machine set on overload; there is a fucking swing to his attack at times. Infestvvs and Dispator clear huge sonic swathes with opaque, downtuned, warped guitar lines from which there is little respite, relief or quarter. And Infestvvs is an impressively tormented screamer with a throat full of blood and scar tissue digging into very dark places in his heart — his wordcraft hints at Poe-like gothic conceits, and the phrasing he uses is impressively formal. Not to mention the songwriting! Not fully dependent on blastbeat freakouts, Glorior Belli also fashion sickly, downcast textures, applying chiming melodies, inventive drumlines and downtuned drunes to their aesthetic palette.
Take for instance “Serpentine Admonition,” a muscular, gothic stomp — with walls of tense trebly guitars giving way to alternating downtuned body blows and bursts of speed. Or how “Altered Verses” turns from a black death torrent to a ornate funeral doom grinder with the vocalist seemingly flaying off strips of his own skin in a confession that is punctuated by a long, mournful guitar solo of surprising lyricism, leaving not even the slightest possibility for hope. And thus ends the album on a perfect note. More like this!
Southern Lord, with recent acquisitions like this and Watain, is proving to be an able gatekeeper of new model black metal.
Southern Lord: www.southernlord.com