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Gaerea – Mirage Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 22 September 2022, 10:03 AM

Behind black shrouds of obscurity and desolation, the men of GAEREA deliver their odes in cascading maelstroms of aggression and beauty with full-length number three, “Mirage.” Emerging from the age of pandemic to whatever awaits humanity next, the Portuguese horde remains on the frontlines of the next generation of extreme metal. The beauty of GAEREA lies in the directness and simplicity found within their florid tapestry of extremity and aggression. With talons dipped in the inky blood of Black Metal and scraped across the flesh of human suffering, GAEREA is leading a charge into the future of darkness, and all those who find beauty and power in the dark side of existence would do well to take heed. The album contains eight songs.

“Memoir” is the first. The mood is subdued at first, and depressive. Once the vocals and drums roar in, it’s raging and angry, though still very somber. A memoir is “a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources.” In this case, it must be highly personal, because a deep and intense pain is what radiates from this song. “Salve” on the other hand is compact and highly energetic from the start. Although the band stays true to the FWOBM sound, they also play with aggression and confidence, storming through the song without pause.

“Deluge” can be described as a severe flood. The ominous sounds reflected in this song speak not only of a flood, but a 1000-year flood, coming to destroy everything. The waters rush down the mountainside and engulf everything in their path, until there is nothing left. “Arson” is defined as the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property. An arsonist is someone who is usually deeply troubled, as well as someone who derives pleasure from watching things burn, and human burned alive. This type of intensity is reflected in this song, with machine-gun drumming, tortured vocals, and thoughtful rhythm progressions. The ending sequence is so gut-wrenching, you feel such a rush of euphoria as the sound departs.

“Ebb” is a shorter offering with a lumbering pace, designed to let the pain seep in slowly, and torture you from the ends of your limbs to your inner organs, burning all the way in. “Mirage” is when you think you see something that isn’t real, like water in a desert after nearly going insane from the time you had wandered there. The pain here is the withholding of a reward, of something needed to sustain life. That’s all the torture one needs.  “Mantle” is a faster-moving song that is build brick by brick in layers of blackness and torture. The barbed spear flies right into your heart, digging in until it shatters the bones in your spine, and then you feel no more.

“Laude” means “with great distinction.” The album closes on a majestic note, with a sweeping composition of power, confidence, and deadly poison. If Black Metal were a rank in the US Army, GAEREA would be Generals. I can’t help but think that the song titles have to have some meaning, and some connection to them. What did I come up with? Pain is the theme. Pain can be felt in various ways…there is physical and mental pain, even emotional pain. Which is worse? You can answer that. But in sum, that’s what this album is on many levels…pure pain. Agony, torment, and torture, in every way possible.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Memoir
2. Salve
3. Deluge
4. Arson
5. Ebb
6. Mirage
7. Mantle
8. Laude
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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