Within the whole of the world of black metal, there’s undoubtedly plenty of exploration. Many bands explore the crevices and caverns that the style encompasses, but few tend to pave their own paths, create a new cavern themselves. Many tend to go with an already established style like atmospheric or old-school black metal to satisfy their taste while playing a sound that has already been accepted by listeners. Rarely do we see a band that goes off on their own, but Gaerea dared to do so and in isolation from the rest of the scene they’ve created something truly delicious.
A common theme that I see in the modern black metal scene are bands that are embodying the classic sound with distorted everything, riffs out the ass, and a clear worship of classics like Burzum, Immortal, Mayhem, etc. While there’s nothing wrong with that at all, sometimes I desire just a little bit more. Where are the bands that dare to change things up and really deliver a listen that’s as challenging to listen to as it is rewarding? Even though they only had an EP from 2016 in the bag, Gaerea felt ready to take up such a chalice with their debut full-length album, and there’s no way on this fucking planet you could’ve prepared me for this monumental record. “Unsettling Whispers” manages to maintain a solid, massive core of undeniable black metal, but Gaerea is far from afraid to introduce newer elements into the realm of black metal in order to create a sonic blast of devastation that they can truly call their own. Bringing in elements from styles like sludge and even hardcore of all things allows “Unsettling Whispers” to become truly organic in its dark fashion, and it thus takes on a life of its own. The seven tracks never feel the same, never repeat the same take, and come together beautifully to form a rollercoaster of an album that’s equal parts stirring to the highest degree, incredibly immersive, and unmistakable tantalizing to the very end. And no matter what way you slice it, “Unsettling Whispers” is a record of very few others, and Gaerea fucking knows it with their mysterious anonymity that surrounds the band’s identity.
Each new listen of “Unsettling Whispers” delivers something new and ridiculously tasty for mere peons like us to eat up like it’s no one’s business. Portugal isn’t exactly the black metal capital of the world, but Gaerea makes a damn good case for the country’s underground scene. “Unsettling Whispers” is without a doubt an album that no black metal fan should pass up, and if you want to be a part of one of the premier experiences of the style we’re likely to get all year then I highly suggest you take a peek as to what Gaerea has created from the black void.
“Unsettling Whispers” releases on June 22nd via Transcending Obscurity Records!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “Unsettling Whispers” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Gaerea on Facebook here.