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Review: Gaerea - Unsettling Whispers
Unsettling Whispers

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Year released: 2018
Duration: 41:45
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: October 4, 2019
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
Unsettling Whispers

Rated 4.63/5 (92.5%) (8 Votes)

Gaerea (a term created by the band to describe incalculable rage) are a Black Metal band from Portugal that have made some pretty big waves with their debut full-length, Unsettling Whispers. I knew absolutely nothing about the band when I first stumbled across this, but after giving it many listens and a lot of consideration, I can say that not only is their hype warranted, but also that they may well be the best damn thing that has happened to Black Metal in quite some time.

Gaerea take the ferocity of mid-period Behemoth and inject it with Dissection-esque melodic sensibilities, an almost DSBM approach to atmosphere and mood, and even pinches of Hardcore and Drone to create a sound that is immediately distinct while still being purely Black Metal. The songwriting on this is surprisingly mature for a debut, often going at hyperblast without losing the details before turning on a dime to go in new and surprising directions. This is all held together with some deeply impressive musicianship, with guitars that roll like waves and occasionally stop to create high-pitched, almost bell-like tones, drumming that is absolutely incredible in both speed and technicality, and vocals ranging from bloodthirsty bellows to blood-chilling cries of torment. I could name other references to their sound and attempt to properly describe it all day, but really, Gaerea approach their craft with an erudition and seriousness of intent that doesn't so much transcend Black Metal as it does totally embody it.

Traditional without being derivative, experimental without being avant-garde, and uncompromising and misanthropic in a way that makes most modern Black Metal sound toothless and childish in comparison, this is an album that marks the arrival of a big force in the underground. I swear, every time I hear the final chiming notes of the jaw-dropping title track, I almost think I'm listening to the start of the next wave of Black Metal. Even if that doesn't come to pass, this is an essential release from a band whose legacy has just begun.

Other related information on the site
Review: Gaerea (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Review: Limbo (reviewed by Mjölnir)
Interview with Gaerea on September 5, 2020 (Interviewed by Mjölnir)
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