Gloria Morti // Anthems of Annihilation
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Pretty darn good
Label: Cyclone Empire
Websites: gloriamorti.com | myspace.com/gloriamorti
Release Dates: EU: 30.07.2010 | US: Unknown (Import only?)
One of the best parts about being a reviewer, honestly, is getting a hold of records that you’d’ve never thought to buy on your own and really enjoying them. 2010 hasn’t actually had a lot of those for me. The year has gone pretty much as expected (and a little worse for certain bands, unfortunately). But one of the big disappointments has been the number of bands that I’ve gotten who I’d never heard of that just never pan out to anything. Because obviously it’s newer bands that keep things going and some of my favorite records of the last few years have been from bands that I didn’t even know existed until I got the record to review (Istapp for example, or In Mourning). Gloria Morti is one of those bands that I’d sorta gotten wind of, but never really heard before. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received Anthems of Annihilation but I was pleasantly surprised.
From the get-go let me say that these guys have a weakness, what I would call a lack of a really definitive original sound. Basically the combination of symphonic black metal, in this case definitely looking at Emperor, with a different vocal approach and maybe a bit of a broader death metal influence. This leads to a combination of bands like Behemoth and Dissection and you end up with a sound similar to that of Septic Flesh, which while not a bad place to be, is still a discernible style that isn’t really your own. So while this record is very good and in that kind of league, it doesn’t have the same kind of oomph behind it because it doesn’t have the most original ground to stand on.
Of course, not everything in metal is about originality and when a band delivers well, we should definitely consider that to be a success. In this case Gloria Morti delivers admirably with tracks like “Awakening of a Discordant Machine”, which has some of the most memorable trem picking that I’ve heard on a black metal record in a while (since Istapp I guess, a similarly catchy riff shows up in the track “Redemption” as well). Another track that stands out from the herd is “Obey” which not only has great melodies, but shows off the talents of the band’s drummer pretty clearly in the chug-alicious (but not boring chug, GOOD chug) riffs at the beginning of the track. Another track that stands out for me is “Cut from Gaia” which, while it has a riff that is obviously ripped off from Anthems era Emperor is still just so memorable that I kept coming back to it again after the record was finished.
I also have to say that I like the sort of post-apocalyptic approach that the band has taken on this record. While I’m not really keen on the sound clips of George Bush talking about nuclear war and I agree with J.R.R. Tolkien that allegory is a tool for the weak minded (we get the point, America bad), the whole concept of a fascist state and the removal of freedoms is an Angry Metal Guy Approved Heavy Metal Topic and I totally approve of the approach. The artwork is cool and this sort of breed of symphonic black metal is well suited for it (hence Zonaria and Crionics using eerily similar themes).
As far as modern symphonic black metal bands go, Gloria Morti is pretty damn good at what they do and I see no reason for fans of the genre to not check these guys out. It certainly isn’t revolutionary, but it’s very good. I would definitely suggest Anthems of Annihilation to those who are eager to hear new things in that hibernating genre and I wish these guys longevity so that they can work on a sound that is more and more their own.