Gehenna – Unravel

Indie Recordings

Review by Suzi H.

There are times in life when only some proper Norwegian black metal will do the trick . Enter Gehenna with their new release Unravel. If you aren’t feeling suitably maudlin by the end of listening to this album then there’s clearly something wrong with your soul.

Gehenna have kept fans waiting for this release since 2005 – I can only say that I think it’s been well worth the wait though I sincerely hope they aren’t planning on waiting so long for their next release. Anyway before we start worrying about their next album, let’s get to reviewing this one.

This is an 8 track album due for worldwide release on October 14th. It kicks off with the atmospheric The Decision a 5 minute opus with some of the creepiest keyboards I’ve ever heard. It’s a glorious opening promising to unleash more darkness- this one requires a dark room for listening, I promise you. The vocals are both haunting and chilling and against melancholic guitars you can believe that the band have stayed true to their black metal roots.

Unravel brings more melodic guitar over fast paced drumming and  that sickening sense of dread is still there- the vocals on this track are wrought with pain and its a glorious antidote to the mainstream to which we are all subjected, willingly or not, Nothing Deserves Worship is five minutes of pure doom in musical form. It’s so utterly despondent  and full of despair- which is I suspect exactly what the effect the bad were after – that’s it’s almost cleansing. Rippling guitars are overlaid with thudding drums and screaming vocals to give you 5 minutes of beautiful misery.

Nine Circles of Torture is the shortest track on the album coming in at a paltry 2:52- against a backdrop of 4 and 5 minute long tracks. It’s much faster paced than it’s counterparts and has more of a punch to it- the other tracks are almost mellow, whereas Nine circles is two minutes of unrelenting riff with harsh vocals and it’s a shock when it finishes and you morph into the slower, more even paced A Grave of Thoughts, which at 7 minutes long is the longest track on the album. You’ll not be bored in that seven minutes mind you- just lie back and enjoy the darkness swirling.

Lead to the Pyre ramps up the pace after A Grace of Thoughts more relaxing tempo and suddenly there’s no more sitting back and enjoying it. This is a beast of a track, all snarling teeth and burning hellbeast eyes, and the pace stays up as your dragged into the next track  End Ritual. This is the penultimate track on the album and it sets it up for a great finish- it’s all howling guitars, a screaming growl for vocals and some thrashy drumming that is slightly at odds with the melody. When the press releases said this album was channeling pure hate they really weren’t joking- it’s a thing of macabre beauty.

Unravel finishes with Death Enters and with that you’re left slightly puzzled by the bizarre, ethereal start (I’m *sure* that’s a xylophone) but it slowly moves into a more recognizable track and is a rousing finish to an altogether magnificent album. I always find it hard to describe tracks when I’m listening to them, more so if I am particularly enjoying them,  so let me just tell you this- the  optimal way to enjoy this album is in a dark room with a few candles and a glass of red wine. It’s both melancholic and angry simultaneously and I’m fairly sure we’re all glad it took as long as it did.

Rating: ****/5

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