Reviewed: November 2013
Released: 2013, Indie Recordings
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Since emerging from Norway in 1993, Gehenna has maintained their small cult following, with a dozen releases to keep the interest of fans. When you ask someone what they think of Gehenna, you’ll either by replied to with a question about who they even are, or with endless exclamations of just how glorious their mid-90s material was. After five years without a record, Gehenna returned in 2005 with WW; and now, after eight years going without a single release, the Norwegians are back with their follow up, titled Unravel.
The solemn, piano lead introduction of The Decision is a tension builder that asks the listener many questions. Will the band have managed to pull off 8 good tracks in eight years? Will this even be a match for the band’s most acclaimed records, such as Seen Through the Veils of Darkness, or 1996’s Malice (Our Third Spell)? It is a slight disappointment when the song kicks into a very familiar and predictable sounding riff. As depressing and bleak as it may be, it is nowhere near spectacular or hazy enough to hold any interest at all really. The vocals sound amateurish, and the drumming is overly simplistic, with Grade 1 drum fills between the repetitive beats.
Things don’t get much better with the title track of Unravel. The riff is just another generic blackened death metal tremolo picked affair. It is here that I feel most that the production really doesn’t suit the album; not raw enough to create any kind of atmosphere nor add another dimension to the sound, and not powerful nor crunchy enough to make the blasts have even a mildly heavy or impressive quality to them.
Some hope for Gehenna in 2013 is however shown on track 7, End Ritual. The classic second-wave black metal sound seems very alive as the eerie notes of the riffs cling together to leave the listener’s mind delirious and cloudy. The organ touches really compliment the groove of the middle section here, and it seems that on this track, the band has achieved a song written to the high expectations standards set by the band’s first few records.
Unfortunately things don’t close so well, as final track Death Ending comes to a silence, there’s a definite feeling of disappointment with this album. With 8 years to create 8 tracks, there’s no doubting that such a formerly great band could have done better than turn out more than just one good track. Don’t give up hope on the band, they’ve clearly got the potential to turn out quality material, but you’ll probably have to wait till 2021 to hear that.
Review by Jarod Lawley
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