It is easy to understand when hearing this album why Gloria Morti should have shared the stage with the likes of Behemoth and Zyklon. The music on “Lateral Constraint”, their fourth album, bears similarities to these bands. Not noteworthy for constraint in any sense and playing in a style which is blackened death to the core, the Finns head off on a relentless assault. Whilst “Lex Parsimoniae” is pure Behemoth in its majestic fury, hints of melodic riffage peer through the black clouds on “The First”. The uncompromising military machine has a momentary choral break at the very end of “Our God is War”, but this is a temporary state as hostilities are quickly back on the agenda. The vocalist could be the God of War. His fury is constant. Sparks fly everywhere like the brake pads of an out-of-control speeding train. All the usual adjectives apply – brutal, uncompromising, imperious and fiery. The drums lead this military machine.

It was on the fourth and fifth tracks “Aesthetics of Self-Hyperbole” and “Sleep, Kill, Regress, Follow” that this album really took off for me. All the usual qualities are there but the pace is so frenetic, the drumming so hard and the guitar work so sharp that the world seems to be on fire. The breakneck speed causes instinctive severe movements of the head and neck, I warn you. “Hallucinations” which follows is more measured and subtle, I suppose, but no less dark. One thing which will never be compromised is the intensity. “Slaves” again has the hallmarks of Behemoth to begin, developing through the blastbeats into a form of almost sophisticated black metal. Respite is fleeting and in among the ongoing punishment of “Non-Believer”, the tone darkens further and the track errs towards funereal doom. It is never in the nature of Gloria Morti to maintain this position, and the battering returns with “The Divine is a Fraud”. The guitar work belies the direct aggression with a colourful and sinister line, and there’s a moment of pause before it threatens to crank up as the vocalist screams. This album is strong on threat, always an effective alternative to out-and-out aggression. The album ends with “Conclusion”, perhaps the most carefully worked and atmospheric track on the album with its heightened tensions and spoken parts, adding to the thumping brutality which we’ve come to expect.

I would not claim that “Lateral Constraint” is the essence of originality but it’s as solid as a rock. Moreover, if it’s blackened death aggression you need, you’ll find it here in large quantities.

(6.5/10 Andrew Doherty)