This is the third album from Portuguese black metallers Gaerea.
With 2018’s Unsettling Whispers and then 2020’s Limbo, Gaerea have made a formidable name for themselves in the modern black metal killing arenas. Does third album Mirage continue this spree, or find them falling by the wayside?
Fear not, for Gaerea can apparently do not wrong. Mirage is exceptional.
Gaerea’s blackened majesty has reached its greatest heights yet. Mirage is a sophisticated and thoughtful display of carefully applied intensity and dynamic violence. The songwriting is textured and detailed, providing both post-blackened resplendence and the sort of whirlwind brutality that’s almost physical.
Mirage contains a feast of harsh aggression and grim atmosphere. The band’s esoteric black metal is fierce and determined, imbued with emotive layers that are buried beneath the sort of pitch black distortion that causes skin to be flayed and bones to crack. Dark melodies barely seem to break the surface, but break they do, enriching the tornado of harshness that is the bulk of Gaerea’s sound. This helps to prevent it from becoming one-dimensional and instead delivers atmosphere and emotion.
The music speaks of bleakness and desolation, while howling with apocalyptic winds and swirling with venomous colours. With blistering intensity, scathing melody, and brutal bite do Gaerea approach. Fragments of shattered light and snapshots of post-metal intricacy trail behind in their wake, claiming a presence for themselves in this vortex of darkness. Epic grandeur towers over everything, threatening in manner and chilling in composure.
The vocalist is on absolute fire on Mirage. I’ve always liked his voice, but here he not only sounds better than ever, but his performance, vocal patterns, and overall delivery is just so good.
Mirage is a shockingly strong work. Gaerea have taken the strengths of their past material and used them to build an album of infernal beauty. Mirage is the apex of Gaerea’s sound so far.
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