Gaahls Wyrd – Gastir – Ghosts Invited (Review)

Gaahls Wyrd - Gastir - Ghosts InvitedThis is the debut album from Gaahls Wyrd, a black metal band from Norway.

Here we have 42 minutes of non-standard black metal brought to us by the ex-frontman of Gorgoroth.

The music has a base of Norwegian black metal mixed with certain dissonant elements from the French and Icelandic scenes. There’s the occasional dark thrash metal riff here and there too, which adds a bit of extra bite. Alongside this, however, is a Gothic flavour that infects the album’s atmosphere and aura with a darkly emotive mood. This is one of the overriding aspects of this album, when combined with the other elements, giving these songs their own identity.

Although certainly harsh at times, the songs are more about atmosphere than pure aggression. Overtly hostile in places, while textured and variegated in others, this is an atypical album that is more individual than most, down in no small part to the performance of the equally individual singer.

The vocals are unusual for this sort of release, being a selection of clean and semi-clean singing, utterances, bellowing, and many other forms of vocalisation. The variety is effective, and helps give each song its own character and personality. The singer’s delivery is charismatic and emotive, and enables the songs to be, overall, more affecting than you might imagine. Harsher vocals appear here and there, although these are mainly the exception, rather than the norm.

This is a very strong release for Gaahls Wyrd. As a collection of songs each has its own personality, and they are all raised above what they might otherwise be by the commanding, varied, and emotive vocal performance.

Highly recommended.

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