Gaerea
Mirage


4.3
superb

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
September 26th, 2022 | 83 replies


Release Date: 09/23/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Superação

Portuguese blackened horde Gaerea have been making a name for themselves for a while now. The good response from media and audiences to their first two full-length releases and the band's extensive touring across Europe have cemented their position as a contemporary black metal force to be reckoned with. Add to this a palpable enthusiasm and conceptual focus, and you have the solid foundations for a long, prosperous career. At least, theoretically. As with everything in life, it only takes one misstep to fall helplessly, and the Lusitanian quintet is at that crucial stage of their professional and artistic journey - one that could take them either up or down. It is the symbolic weight surrounding the third studio album; a trial by fire that mirrors the collective's status while disclosing whether it has lived up to its promise. A test they passed with flying colors, I'd say, as Gaerea's latest chapter didn't just meet expectations, it exceeded them.

Contrary to what its title may suggest, musically, Mirage is no optical illusion but rather the full manifestation of a creative spirit at its peak - fruit of the inspiration, maturity, and passion of a quintet that took their music to heights never reached before. While Gaerea's DNA remains essentially unchanged, continuing to retain the primary influences of European bands like Mgla within a post-metal(ish) flavor, it has taken a step forward across the board. The opener, 'Memoir', reflects this enhancement magnificently by exploring different textures and contrasts that lend it exceptional dynamics and dramatic intensity. The monochromatism somehow present in Limbo has been replaced by a substantially richer sound palette that expands the band's primary colors without ever losing balance between parts. The songs flow naturally over a musical direction that never seems to lose its way. Everything is interconnected. Even the most contrasting moments, like the smooth atmospherics or the more melodic folk-goth-ish nuances in 'Laude', never stray too far from orbit. A focused, inspired approach that not only shaped eight compelling songs but also knew how to create memorable highlights in each of them. The epic Mgla-esque section on 'Memoir' or the tuneful moment in 'Arson', which would not be out of place on a Be'lakor album, are among the best, along with the glorious crescendos present in songs such as 'Deluge', 'Arson', and 'Mirage'. The dramatic vocals and subtle synth layers that occasionally emerge are also worthy of note as they lend greater depth and theatricality to the music - attributes dear to the band's aesthetic (musically and visually). An expression that renounces lucifer and all his Iberian demons in favor of an existentialist concept revolving around loneliness, suffering, and the unreliability of the senses. A particularly fitting narrative for Gaerea's blackened output. It gives it credibility and a broader scope, not tying the band to black metal clichés that could constrain their future; a future that, judging by the result of this litmus test, certainly looks promising.

"Superação", the Portuguese word for exceed/surpass, is probably the best way to describe Mirage and what it represents for Gaerea, creatively and professionally. It is a leap forward in every aspect of the game. An upgraded version that surpassed itself not by reinventing the wheel or exploring new territory, but by leveraging the collective's strengths; amplifying and perfecting them, thus achieving greater consistency and songwriting prowess. Qualities that make Mirage the band's most interesting effort to date and certainly one of the best black metal albums of 2022.




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user ratings (112)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2022


18209 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Blackened hordes should jam this. One of the year's black metal highlights so far.



Full stream:

http://youtu.be/Rbv3DNRm_VY

http://gaerea.bandcamp.com

Willie
Moderator
September 26th 2022


20065 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm sold. Will check this out.

Josh D.
September 26th 2022


17737 Comments


Need to give this a listen on proper speakers, gave it a once over on my laptop, so nothing stuck.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2022


18209 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Or through headphones, the production is on par with the music.



Hope you like it, Willie ;)

Orb
Contributing Reviewer
September 26th 2022


9143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Must jam thank u

Calc
September 26th 2022


16987 Comments


heard some good shit from this group I've never heard of in a genre I don't really like so I will check this whole thing. Glad to see it's positively received too.

theyrehere
September 27th 2022


54 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't vibe with Unsettling Whispers when it came out and skipped Limbo. But this is hitting HARD, so I need to go back and revisit those.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2022


29164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Nicely done as always Notrap, I have this on the backburner. From the singles I already can see I am not gonna love the production but the band is strangely enticing to me. Must be the masks.

Slex
September 27th 2022


15213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome review, this sounds very interesting and I was eyeballing it already

MeatWolf
September 27th 2022


281 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Almost missed it because of the 'just black metal' tag with no post- mentioned

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2022


18209 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Yes, the lads have a post-ish vibe.



I'll look forward to your thoughts, Orb.

Thanks Dewinged & Slex.





Orb
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2022


9143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I tossed and turned about whether to get that sweet hoodie, a CD, or a wax copy, but I just orbered the vinyl on a whim. When I'm back in my home country in 3 weeks it'll be there waiting for me. Cant wait!

KrillBoi
September 27th 2022


201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Their best output imo, absolutely love this. A good mix of sheer ferocity like in Salve and grandiose atmosphere like in Arson.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2022


17884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That 4.3 might get me to have another look at this.

Orb
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2022


9143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just like gold and masks tbh

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2022


18209 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

That's nice, Orb, that gold mask in XL looks pretty cool. One of these days I'll get back to vinyls.



" Their best output imo "

That's a fact.



kalli15
September 27th 2022


15 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so good!

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2022


18209 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Laude (music video)

http://youtu.be/flZP1Qk4pcE

The album's most melodic-folk-goth-ish song



Gaerea+Gaahls Wyrd+Saor+Winterfylleth*

30 Sep 22 Haarlem (NL) Patronaat

01 Oct 22 Arlon (BE) Léntrepot

02 Oct 22 Cologne (DE) Club Volta

03 Oct 22 Berlin (DE) Holle 44

05 Oct 22 Poznan (PL) U Bazyla

06 Oct 22 Krakow (PL) Hype Park

07 Oct 22 Prague (CZ) Futurum

08 Oct 22 Vienna (AT) Vienna Metal Meeting

09 Oct 22 Budapest (HU) Instant

11 Oct 22 Milan (IT) Slaughter Club

12 Oct 22 Martigny (CH) Les Caves Du Manoir

13 Oct 22 Lyon (FR) CCO Villeurbanne

14 Oct 22 Barcelona (ES) Boveda

15 Oct 22 Madrid (ES) Story Live

16 Oct 22 Toulouse (FR) Le Rex

17 Oct 22 Paris (FR) Petit Bain

19 Oct 22 London (UK) The Garage

20 Oct 22 Antwerp (BE) Zappa*

21 Oct 22 Nijmegen (NL) Soulcrusher 2022*

22 Oct 22 Essen (DE) Turock*

24 Oct 22 Munich (DE) Backstage Halle*

25 Oct 22 Frankfurt (DE) Das Bett*

26 Oct 22 Leipzig (DE) Hellraiser*

27 Oct 22 Hamburg (DE) Logo*

28 Oct 22 Copenhagen (DK) Vega*

29 Oct 22 Gothenburg (SE) Pustervik*

30 Oct 22 Stockholm (SE) Slaktkyrkan*

*No SAOR



GAEREA 2023

31 Jan 23 Riga (LV) Vagonu Hall

01 Feb 23 Tallin (EE) Sveta Baar

02 Feb 23 Helsinki (FI) On the Rocks

07 Apr 23 Oslo (NO) Inferno Festival 2023

Azog
September 27th 2022


889 Comments


This is Gaerea firing on all cylinders. Grandeur is the name of the game. One hell of an AOTY contender.

Also, nice write up!

Essence
September 27th 2022


6646 Comments


this is a hell of a step up for this band, damn!



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