There’s no doubt that Mr. Kristian Espedal better known as GAAHL is one of the most polarizing, if not the most polarizing figure on the black metal scene. And so he’s been for quite some time. Much of it seems to revolve around his sexuality, which I could give a rat’s ass about. It’s no more pertinent with Gaahl than it is with Rob Halford or the dude from TORCHE. But even beyond that, the guy’s been a real outsider since Day One and in a lot of ways he sums up the rebel aspect of black metal a lot better than some brain dead follower who parrots the BM status quo.
As always, the music does the talking and with GAAHL’S WYRD, the music has a lot to say. If you are expecting the Christ-raping rage of GORGOROTH all the way through this one, your disappointment will be keen. But take heart that metal plays a very strong part of GastiR…. Speed and cold riffing are found frequently, but there’s also a huge amount of atmosphere to go with it. The band I was often reminded of while listening to GAAHL’S WYRD was their labelmates VREID, who have much the same approach to black metal.
The album is chiefly a showcase for Gaahl’s full vocal range, which I do not think has ever been unleashed the way it is here. He demonstrates an astounding amount of vocal styles, from screams and roars of various shades to a really wide range of clean and folky styles. There are sides to Gaahl here that I’ve never heard before.
The tunes range from the somber basic black metal of ‘Ek Erilar’ to the gloomy and grim ‘Ghosts Invited’ to the brutal ‘The Speech And The Self’. The only track where the metal drops away completely is the ending ‘Within The Voice Of Existence’, which is stripped down to the acoustic bone.
The record flows well and has enough variety in both Gaahl’s singing and the actual music itself to keep an intelligent listener’s interest. That’s who the target audience is here…the intelligent black metal listener who keeps to the music’s core essence but is not afraid of a little experimentation. I really hope we hear more from GAAHL’S WYRD and that this is just not a one-off.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality
GastiR – Ghosts Invited
Season Of Mist