When you hear “black metal”, the first thing you think of is burly Scandinavian men with locks down to their waists, more than likely drinking from ram’s heads. Probably.
You don’t think of a group of guys from Warwickshire in waistcoats. But here comes Gehtika, ready to bring about a revival of black and extreme metal on home shores.
When you hear “black metal”, the first thing you think of is burly Scandinavian men with locks down to their waists, more than likely drinking from ram’s heads. Probably. You don’t think of a group of guys from Warwickshire in waistcoats. But here comes Gehtika, ready to bring about a revival of black and extreme metal on home shores.
These West Midlands lads pack a punch, bursting in with their thrashing solos, growling lyrics, black war paint and… smart attire? These guys manage to take what Akercocke have done, with the flash dress sense, and then completely 180 it with the corpse paint. Thickly layer on some brutal screams and dark, melodic compositions and you have Gehtika.
After locking themselves away in the studio with producer Owen Davies in Walsall, they’ve managed to create one masterpiece of a concept album, so dark and intense that you might need to have a lie down afterwards.
Entitled A Monster in Mourning, the album follows a concept they’d initially explored on single ‘Stack The Pyres’, which features on the record. Vocalist Anthony Knight explains, "Myself and guitarist, Scott Allen, were spit-balling some ideas just before we started writing the album and we both loved the sound we'd created with 'Stack The Pyres' and the concept of the lyrics...
“The ideas just kept on coming, so essentially that one track became the basis for the entire album."
Listen to ‘Stack The Pyres’ and you’ll easily see how this track was the inspiration behind the entire record. Monster riffs coupled with insane drumming leaves for an infectious sound you’d want to hear spread out over the course of 11 tracks. Think of this song as the daddy to all the other tracks, having paved the way for 10 more filthy belters.
“A Monster in Mourning is the title of one of the album tracks and we felt that this song summed up the whole concept of the story. One of the main characters has a fairly monstrous reputation, yet within the lyrics and the story you get to see why he's become the way he is and even get to see things from his point of view—see that he's filled with remorse and tormented by his conscience. So naming the album after this track, and with reference to this character in particular, just made sense." The eponymous track is the album’s namesake for a reason. Lyrics such as “the breath of the innocent” and “this never ending suffering” helps you really get a feel for that monstrous main character this album is centred around, and how dark the torment is.
If you ask me, concept albums work particularly well within rock and metal, as it allows the artists to explore and experiment more than they would with say a ‘regular’ album, pushing them out of their comfort zones and treating fans to new sounds.
A Monster in Mourning is more than just your bog standard black metal fodder. Throughout, you can hear an array of instruments and influences, showing that these guys have got the chops to stand out and create an album worthy of some fuss. In particular, the opener, ‘Apolloyon’, is an operatic piece filled with a beautifully tinkering piano and melodic strings, with rain pouring in the background, already setting the scene for the story about to unfold—immediately I was hooked. Track after track, there’s just massively stonking dirty thrashers, with solos hard enough to melt your face off.
My personal favourite on the album has to be ‘The Masqueraade’, a bouncing, jovial (well, as jovial as black metal can get) little ditty. It’s as light-hearted as these guys are gonna get, and it’s a really fun piece. If Danny Elfman ever had a goth phase in high school, this is probably what he would’ve listened to.
Gehtika are storytellers, and A Monster in Mourning sits you down on their knee, opens up the storybook and makes sure you’re gonna have nightmares tonight. Enjoy.
A Monster in Mourning is out 17th August 2015