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Gaahls Wyrd – The Humming Mountain

Gaahls Wyrd
The Humming Mountain
by Gary Hernandez at 18 December 2021, 7:42 PM

GAAHLS WYRD is the brainchild of Gaahl (ex-GORGOROTH, WARDRUNA). In 2019, they released their debut album, “GatiR – Ghosts Invited,” and on November 5, 2021 they released “The Humming Mountain”—a five-track mini-album with origins in several tracks originally planned for “GatiR – Ghosts Invited.” While the project is often categorized as Black Metal, they self-identify as Esoteric Dark Metal, which is a much better description, at least for “The Humming Mountain.” While there are plenty of Black Metal elements on the album, they don’t surface until track three. Regardless of subgenre labels, the album is impressive on many levels.

“The Humming Mountain” is as much about lyrical intent and theme as it is about the music. The central theme is creation, though perhaps more in a liminal sense, living in the intention before the action and in the spaces in-between. Gaahl notes: “I’m always searching. I’m trying to find the core of self, the core of everything. “GastiR – Ghosts Invited” dealt with being conscious about the subconscious. “The Humming Mountain” is more direct in dealing with that topic. Creation is something that happens very slowly, I believe. I connected it to ice, in a way. It's a Norse concept, where a witch 'hummer' is feeding on salty ice. Out of this comes the first conscious. In Norse creationism, creation originates with sound. Of course, fire and ice are the two opponents, but every being, which are manifestations of something, are connected to humming or noise, the vibrations created by it. That's how I arrived at “The Humming Mountain,” a slow vibration from the mountain and the slow movement of ice.”

The album starts with a nine-minute acoustic piece, “The Seed,” and then shifts into the disquieting Atmospheric title-track. While these two tracks comprise almost half of the album, a seismic shift occurs with the “The Dwell” marked with grating, choppy riffs like metal roughly cutting through stone. Track four, “Awakening Remains – Before Leaving” is a multi-movement composition which will satisfy fans of more traditional Black Metal. It is visceral, dark, and emotive. The final track, “The Sleep,” bookends the album with an acoustic outro mirroring the intro.

The artwork is by Gaahl and ties in with the overall theme. It draws the viewer in with a palate that is simultaneously flat and contoured. It plays into Gaahl’s comment that “The closer to The Humming Mountain, the farther away it appears.” Gaahl has said that they are soon to enter the studio for a full-length album and that touring, of course, will depend on how the pandemic progresses. Regardless of what the future may bring, in the here and now we have “The Humming Mountain”—ironically modelled, btw, as a study on patience—but well worth the time.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Seed
2. The Humming Mountain
3. The Dwell
4. Awakening Remains – Before Leaving
5. The Sleep
Gaahl – Vocals
Lust Kilman – Guitar
Eld – Bass
Spektre – Drums

Guest Musician:
Iver Sandøy – Keyboards
Record Label: Season of Mist


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Edited 05 December 2022

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