Full Album Stream & Interview: Gaerea – “Unsettling Whispers”

Portuguese black metal group Gaerea have made on of the year’s best black metal albums with debut full-length Unsettling Whispers. The follow up to 2016’s self-titled EP, Unsettling Whispers is haunting, generally mid-tempo black metal that separates itself from the pack thanks to hearty doses of dark melody, top notch production and skilled songwriting.

The hooded, anonymous group spoke to Decibel about Unsettling Whispers, anonymity and Gaerea’s lyrics. The interview is below, along with a full stream of the new album, out June 22 on Transcending Obscurity.

Little to nothing is known about Gaerea except that Unsettling Whispers is your first full-length, following a self-titled EP in 2016. Why the strong desire for anonymity?
Isn’t anonymity the way of modern life? Isn’t it the only true way of living among society? Today’s humanity is but a vast art group lost on their own futile routines and dreams they never reach for. Gaerea is the pure reflection of a world who lost its way, its path or never really had one. Inside the Void, where creatures walk without even stepping or feeling the ground, everyone is equal, everyone is fading, everyone crawls their own way among the other pale creatures.The lyrics on Unsettling Whispers appear to be very dark. The second song on the album introduces itself with the repeated line “Suicide is part of your life.” Are topics like suicide and depression the central themes of Unsettling Whispers or is the focus on another topic?
That sentence is a paradox. On Unsettling Whispers, the story of a lost society is told on the third person. The listener is but a wanderer, someone who watches, feels and touches those pale streets but is never seen by others. A strong analogy to the “Der Himmel über Berlin” film by Wim Wenders. What our voyeur discovers is the shy will of dying from others. There is a passage in “Absent” where he walks among thousands of people in this big avenue. On the top of the street he sees a big organized line of people who are entering a huge building like a skyscraper. He feels curious, so he joins them. They enter, go up on an endless stairway until reaching the very top of the building. The walking line continues like a cog-wheel into the abyss where everyone walks without even blinking and falling off the building. They hit the ground and as fast as that happens, they get up and walk again till the end of the line.

Obviously, Gaerea is a black metal band, but I also hear elements of melodic death metal and sludge in your music as well. What bands, things or experiences influence Gaerea?
We find most of our influences in other forms of art like paintings or movies, although we seek inspiration in the vision and music of bands like Obsidian Kingdom, Behemoth or Schammasch.

Your video for “Catharsis” features many nature shots. Does nature affect Gaerea’s music in a way similar to artists like Wolves in the Throne Room and Agalloch in the United States?
Not really. Gaerea is an urban project mostly. The landscape we explored for the video, although we found it beautiful yet a grotesque form of natural art, it was the big dichotomy between the fast modern life and the memories one has of his childhood, the peaceful sights and plenitude often blurred by the anxiety of the urban world. We found the spot interesting to tell the episode I mentioned some questions ago.What’s next for Gaerea? You don’t play many live shows or tour extensively, so will you work on new music or return to other projects?
There is a big interest in spreading Unsettling Whispers like a plague to the world. Touring and playing some special shows is something that is being scheduled right now. Any booker who is worth working with the band is welcomed to reach us.