Gaahl is mostly known for his groundbreaking work as vocalist for classic Norwegian black metal bands Trelldom and Gorgoroth, which feature a wide array of cold and abrasive sounds mixed with lots of speed. In more recent times though, Gaahl demonstrated a much wider range of musical interest with his debut of GastiR – Ghosts Invited under the moniker, Gaahl’s WYRD just a few years back. GastiR, which we reviewed here, was a groundbreaking record.
This newest EP is a change in direction. Gaahl, with Iver Sandoy (on keys) opts to head towards a sonicscape that is focused on the “humming” involved with creation – the ebb and flow of water and glaciers moving across the land. This is most apparent from the first single off the record, “The Humming Mountain,” which acted as the catalyst for the rest of the record in its creation-oriented vibe.
The fourth track on the record, “Awakening Remains – Before Leaving” is most like what you might hear on GastiR. There’s tremolo guitar and very familiar sounding drums (at the hands and feet of Kevin Kvale), but the vocals… wow… the vocals on this track is nothing like I’ve heard before from Gaahl. If you can imagine even more range than has previously been introduced to listeners – this is it.
“The Dwell” is another standout and has some great shredding as the band hits the accelerator a bit. I really love Lust Kilman’s guitars on this, both the rhythms and the leads. Mixed with the layered vocals, and the perfect touch of Iver’s keyboards, this is one of my favorite songs of the Fall thus far. Eld’s bass work gets some space in the latter part of the track as well that just makes this an entirely magical experience. Yes… “magical.”
Profoundly and deliberately atmospheric, “The Sleep” will put listeners in a dreamlike state as they drift away to Gaahl’s voice. A significant 180 degree turn from his past work on tracks like “Carving a Giant,” this song demonstrates that there are multiple sides to Gaahl and if you think you know who he his from absurd documentaries at the hands of Brooklyn hipsters, you need to dig deeper and think again.
The Humming Mounting releases in November and can be ordered in the US from Season of Mist North America.