[7/10] A teddy bear on an album cover means business. Like, something tragic and/or really bad has just happened, with the victim (in this case, a little girl) clutching onto said bear as last means of hope. Its role in Gloria Morti’s Lateral Constraint is to represent the audio destruction that takes place over the course of the album’s ten songs, and no surprise here – the album comes across like a Finnish Behemoth, just without the defiant charm that Nergal and co. generally portray on their efforts.
Since this is blast-attack black/death metal, one could toss out any notions of variety almost immediately. Save for the album’s sole “slow-down” track “Hallucinations,” Lateral Constraint (the band’s fourth album) wields a tornado-like assortment of utterly extreme numbers, the most obvious choice being “Slaves,” which busts out a whirlwind of technical riffs that when broken into a streamrolling mid-section (the 1:24 mark is unbelievably heavy), is the album’s clear-cut highlight.
Problematic to Gloria Morti’s cause comes in the form of their unwillingness to tighten the reins on the blast-beats. Drummer Kauko Kuusisalo turns in a career performance, though, instantly placing him into the upper echelons of extreme metal drummers that include the likes of Nile’s George Kollias, Mayhem’s Hellhammer, and former Emperor/Zyklon drummer Tyrm Torsen, who Kuusisalo most closely resembles. He’s occasionally helped by some speedy guitar lines (“The First Act”) and brutish, chunky advances (“Sleep, Kill, Regress, Follow”), but for the most part, he’s out on an island by himself.
Since Finnish metal is more known for its melodic extravagance and Goth metal, a band like Gloria Morti can provide the momentary kick in the tail the country needs to compete with the emerging brutal tactics of their Norwegian and Polish counterparts. However, Lateral Constraint can’t bail itself out from the flood of one-dimensional compositions, a lot of which ring too familiar to the already-established Vader, Behemoth, and Zyklon.
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