(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Portuguese band Gaerea, which is set for release by Season of Mist on July 24th.)
Isn’t it funny how the human brain unconsciously and involuntarily makes connections between things?
Case in point, I can’t think about, or listen to, Portuguese powerhouse Gaerea without also thinking about their cousins in Selbst and White Ward.
The connections between the latter two are quite obvious, as both bands released their debut albums within one month of another back in 2017, meaning they’re always going to be inextricably linked in my mind.
But Gaerea didn’t release their first album, Unsettling Whispers, until almost a full year later, making their relationship to the other two a lot more tenuous and complex.
Perhaps what it comes down to is the fact that, to me at least, these bands, both collectively and individually, are potential new standard bearers for Black Metal, both cognisant of the genre’s roots and rich history, but not limited by established traditions or old boundaries.
White Ward, of course, have already proven themselves with the release of Love Exchange Failure just last year, and the new Selbst album (set for release in a few weeks) looks set to do the same for them.
What then should we expect from Gaerea’s new album? Sophomore slump, or soaring new standard?