Gaerea - Mirage

10 Oct 2022 - Ajay

Black Metal | Season of Mist | Release date: 23 Sep 2022

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In a year that has seen releases from such Black Metal luminaries as Behemoth, Wiegedood, Dark Funeral, Blut Aus Nord, and an album due from Darkthrone, it has been Portugal natives Gaerea’s Mirage that I have been anticipating the most, since hearing first single “Salve” back in June of this year.

Despite Portugal not being recognised for its metal exports, unlike countless other territories across the rest of Europe (Moonspell being arguably the most well-known band from the country), Gaerea may very well bring renewed attention upon the Portugal scene with the one-two punch of Limbo (2020) and now Mirage. If like me Limbo made you take notice, then Mirage will definitely enrapture you. This album builds upon its predecessor and hones everything that made the first one such a standout.

The album opens with “Memoir”, which starts off with a quiet, but sinister, whispered vocal singing “The sea is calm tonight…”, and lulls us until around the 2,5 minute mark when the manic drumming, tremolo guitar work, and blackened screams commence. This song contains perhaps one of my favourite lyrics of the year in “I hang numb as a bending flower…”. It is a lyric wrought of the period in which the album was conceived and recorded, a period of immense isolation, depression, and unrest, caused by a global pandemic. In fact, across the album’s eight tracks there are several themes that point to the effects of the pandemic on the human condition, such as numbness, solitude, anxiety, and of course death.

The opening line of the album’s title track “Pieces will never tell the whole story…”, is the perfect analogy for this release. It is to be taken as a whole, not as pieces. And though you may not be able to see the faces of the collective that makes up Gaerea, as they wear masks that cloak them in anonymity, you do not need to see their faces to see the pain that they poured into this record. The torment bleeds through every song musically and lyrically with the opening line of final song “Laude” being “Inside a chaotic and beautiful lie / A wounded work of pain…”, which is what Mirage is, a work of pain, and catharsis.

Carve out 53 minutes of your day and listen to Mirage, at volume, and admire and fall in love (like I did) with one of the standouts of the black metal genre for the year.