Gaerea emerges from the shadows.
Two years after their previous release, the mysterious masked Portuguese band formed in 2016 announces the release of Mirage, the third album of their Cathartic Black Metal, through Season of Mist.
The album begins with the first soft notes of Mirage, followed by some whispers before bass and drums join the mix. The band makes us slowly dive into the darkness before suddenly bursting into flame and revealing all its strength, based on blasts, screams and frantic riffs. Whether the atmosphere is sometimes appeased, it doesn’t stay calm for too long, calling for raw rage as well as extremely expressive vocal parts again just like on Salve which doesn’t allow us to breathe before flooding us. The waves of abrasive and dissonant riffs seem to be uninterrupted, barely slowing down to become more impressive before striking again, and even the quieter break is oppressive before returning to fury, then the haunting Deluge will take over to feed this heavy atmosphere. Heavy sounds meet heady melodies, visceral screams and catchy patterns all the time before the soft and melodic final which slowly drives us to Arson, a composition which takes up more or less the same tones before turning into a transcendent wall of sound. Slightly more plaintive and melancholic than the previous ones, this haunting track sinks us into the depths of despair before letting Ebb offer more Old School sounds. The track is also shorter, letting the band go wild while keeping this melodious and soaring approach which is the basis of their universe, just like on Mirage which offers softer but still intense and raw tones. We can notice this acceleration before an abrupt break, which reveals a melodious interlude before the rhythmic gets more and more intense until Mantle takes over, revealing an underlying aggressiveness which will quickly explode, taking the shape of an as dark as sharp sound wave, which only lets us breathe to make us suffocate again a few seconds later. Laude is also rooted in raw fury, revealing heady melodies as massive screams rage through the transcending composition which will end after a visceral final and an heartfelt explosion of despair. But the band has one last surprise in store for us, a bonus track by the name of Dormant, which will close the album with majestic sounds which still offer a place to those piercing riffs and heavy screams.
I sincerely loved Gaerea‘s previous album. But with Mirage, the band has taken it to a whole new level, whether it’s about rage, hatred or purity, taking the album to an incredibly visceral and true level. A masterpiece.