It is really a special thing to be able to come across a piece of music by chance and end up falling in love with it, it certainly speaks volumes to what the artist has created. In the case of ‘Unsettling Whispers’, the upcoming full length album from Portuguese black metal group Gaerea, it is truly a misanthropic experience you won’t want to miss. Set to be released June 22nd via Transcending Obscurity Records, the debut album pushes forth with enthralling power, bleak melodies, and an all around tormenting atmosphere. The group of mysterious men wear black masks with embroidered symbols covering their face, adding to the ominous appeal of this album and deliver seven ethereal arrangements serving mainly as a purging of despondency. Not only do they look the part, but this group consists of very creative writers. ‘Unsettling Whispers’ is a full blown eclipse that blocks out any and all sun, keeping the listener intrigued from start to finish and I simply haven’t heard black metal played this masterfully in recent years.
Clean and echoing guitar strings subtly initiate the opening track Svn combined with vocal whispers that develop into whimpering screams. Slow percussion ties this morose introduction together that escalates into a chthonic explosion. The song transitions into a speedy, dissonant section and employs an infernal howl that graces the entire album with its sorrowful sound.
Continuing into the slow introduction of the second track ‘Absent,’ the words “Suicide is part of your life” are belted out, identifying with the very depressive lyrical content of this record. Strong composition, melodic riffs, and a thundering tone give this song an irresistible quality, making it really stand out.
Spine-chilling screams and melancholy strings weave in and out of tracks such as, Whispers and Extension To Nothingness, two tracks that possess very spectral qualities. Although Whispers begins on a heavier note, the sweeping guitar chords played in these tracks creates a more grieving sound to this album. Displaying some of the faster and exceptional riffs on this album are tracks Lifeless Immortality and Cycle Of Decay. The band captures beautiful blackened melodies that go far beyond the reaches of standard black metal, but maintain the same allure throughout each part. The thing that is most impressive about tracks such as these is the band’s ability to showcase their speed and traditional black metal roots, making it specific to them.
The album comes to an end with Catharsis. A song that begins slow and builds momentum into a blasting, heavy conclusion. Coming full circle, the band ends this album the way it began, with stirring cries. This track is a culmination of all this album represents, total darkness, self contempt, and extreme fucking metal.
Gaerea adds different dynamics to their sound that are not commonly heard in traditional black metal, making it far more interesting than any one-dimensional, low-fi black metal band (which there is definitely nothing wrong with). They clearly possess traits of black metal music, but this album plays out as a release of intense emotion, not confined to any one genre and that is what makes them so captivating. The band isn’t afraid to make their sound heavier and show different influences from all across the metal world. They’ve created more of a listening experience for people to indulge in, rather than just making music for the sake of making music. For a band that formed just two years ago to release a debut album as monstrous as this is something spectacular. ‘Unsettling’ Whispers capitalizes on a dreadful sound, stimulates all your senses and arouses the darkest areas of your soul.
Pre-order your copy of Unsettling Whispers, out June 22nd from Transcending Obscurity Records HERE!