As you all know, we spend most of our time here immersed in sounds of metallic extremity, and maybe that’s why I experience a bit of glee whenever I have a chance to surprise you — especially when the surprise is as thoroughly captivating as the music we’re presenting in this post.
The authors of that music are an Austrian trio named Gjoad, who draw inspiration from majestic visions of their native alpine surroundings. They channel those inspirations into a formulation of atmospheric rock that’s beautiful and enthralling, but also dark in ways that can become unsettling. And in creating that music, the band enhance the richness of the atmosphere through the use of instruments such as jaw harps, singing bowls, horns, and bells.
Gjoad‘s debut album is named Samanōn, and it will be released by the always-distinctive French label Antiq on December 15th. What we have for you today is a song from the album named “Hagazussa“.
However, before you come to “Hagazussa” in the player below, you’ll encounter a previously released song named “Peraht“, on which Stefan Traunmüller (Rauhnacht, Golden Dawn, The Negative Bias) appears as a guest vocalist. Definitely do not skip over it.
“Peraht” builds slowly, the sound swelling from misty, mysterious, and mesmerizing ambient tones into ringing notes and head-moving beats. The drums gradually tumble and boom, providing a carnal pulse within the seductive and spellbinding shrouds of celestial sound. The music almost seems to drift away, but the heavy thrum of the bass and the crystalline guitars regenerate the beguiling spell. The drums again move the body, the glimmering melody grows more intense, and the feeling of moody introspection flares into a feverish finale.
The player will then leap past “Gartsang” and carry you into the song we’re premiering. “Hagazussa” too has its own spellcasting qualities, but is more immediately vibrant, thanks to the vivid interplay of the melodic instruments (whatever they may be) and the martial beats of the drums. The music has a feeling of wonder as it dances, and it too builds, through big, booming percussive rhythms, writhing riffs, and glittering (yet slightly abraded) whirling tones — but also subsides into wistfulness and mystery, created by a conjunction of the ringing guitar melody and quivering, spectral vibrations.
The atmosphere of mystical wonder in the music is contagious to the listener, but the music’s panoramic and pastoral ingredients are mixed with a mood of soul-searching introspection, and that union creates a tantalizing and transfixing experience. What a great surprise it is.
I’ll add this quote from the press materials for the album because it does such a good job of evoking the emotional resonances of Gjoad‘s music:
“Samanōn is an album marked by the will to give birth in the listener’s mind to a sparkle of magic. Then to breathe on it, make the fire grow and spread, enlighten and burn the whole soul with the fire of ancient creeds and legends, and then let the fire come down gently, watch the embers live and glow in the dark. Through huge build-ups brought to life by the band, the listener is invited to undertake this initiatic journey.”
Samanōn was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Stefan Traunmüller (Soundtempel Studios). The cover art is an 1852 painting by Franz Steinfeld (“Salzburger Landschaft”). Antiq will release the album in digipack and vinyl LP formats, as well as digitally, and you can explore the options via the following link: