Monday 7 August 2017

Gehenna - Seen Through The Veils Of Darkness (The Second Spell) Reissue


1. Lord Of Flies
2. Shairak Kinnummh
3. Vinterriket
4. A Witch Is Born
5. Through The Veils Of Darkness
6. The Mystical Play Of Shadows
7. The Eyes Of The Sun
8. A Myth...
9. Dark Poems Author

Following their earlier reissues of Bal-Sagoth's fantasy inspired black metal album "Battle Magic" and the avant-garde black metal of Sigh's "Infidel Art", Cacophonous Records turned their attentions to the icy blasts of Gehenna's "Seen Through The Veils Of Darkness...". The Norwegian band's 1995 debut full-length was presented with re-mastered audio by the label that originally released it. It seems more important than ever that in 2017, the bands that helped to shaped black metal are heard by new ears. That certainly seems to be the case with the aforementioned acts and the likes of Fleurety reaching new audiences.

Unlike Bal-Sagoth and Sigh, Gehenna were very much an orthodox band in black metal terms, especially in their early days. They exhibit much of that orthodoxy on opener Lord Of Flies, though they also make use of symphonic elements and subtle catchiness too, though they may not call it so. The orchestral textures within their music on Shairak Kinnummh may sound welcoming, but actually appear more sinister. The shrieks and instrumentation that sits n the background only add to that feeling. It’s still not an easy listen. If you listen closer and look beyond those orchestral textures, you might here early hints of black ’n’ roll too (at least it seems that way to these ears). The urgency and wicked tempo of Vinterriket seems to lean in that direction. The lead-riffs on A Witch Is Born are a nice addition and seem to jump out of the recording here. The bizarre vocal samples/noises are altogether scarier though. Through The Veils Of Darkness seems to take the form of different passages and time-signatures. Musically, it’s very strong and very focused. A band’s first foray into a full-length record can be hit and miss, but Gehenna get stronger throughout. The remastering seems to have really brought The Mystical Play Of Shadows to life, as it’s full-throttle feel is matched by it’s volume. Twin guitar melodies and pounding blasts cut through the choral chants and keys really well. The roars on The Eyes Of The Sun are certainly more torturous than they were earlier on; however, if you’re yearning for a straight-up no frills black metal song, you’ll have to get past the dominating keys first. The near-nine minute song A Myth… to satisfy the yearning for something more extreme though. It’s more atmospheric and is definitely the standout song on the album for me. Dark Poems Author brings the the album to a close with Gehenna’s early staple sound being joined by some classy piano tones. The album goes by really quickly and while it contains a fantasy-like edge, Seen Through The Veils…” is very much of a point in time when blueprints were for ripping up and copycats didn’t exist. 

You can stream and download the remastered version of the album here:-

Gehenna -
Cacophonous Records -

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