I like things in threes, it’s an odd little quirk of mine. I list things in threes and listen to them in threes. I have Top 3’s and Favorite 3’s so much that it almost loses its meaning. I tell you that so you know what it means when I say Gaoth has supplanted Agalloch to join Summoning and Wolved in the Throne Room as my top atmospheric black metal bands. It takes a lot to be able to do that. This album hits every nail perfect on the head.
Gaoth, a word with multiple meanings (wind, wise, and sea seem to be the most popular), is the brainchild of Fíonn Stafort the guitarist of Celtachor. Instead of the twisting, tribal melodies and themes of Celtachor, Gaoth uses natural melodies, almost a stream of consciousness sound (should that be surprising from the country of James Joyce?) that combines music and sound like nothing I have ever heard. If I didn’t know better I could swear Fíonn took a guitar and a recorder to a mountainside and played for an hour.
There’s a soft drone that mixes with the wind soundscape, creating a foundation for the entire album. It’s not a harsh buzzing like a true drone band but a natural, earthy tone, it adds a richness to the guitars, a mountainous echo if you will. The music follows nature, taking a meandering path through time rather than a set structure like that of classical or rock music. Every sound is rich and vibrant, stringing together melodies from harpsichord, piano, guitar, and drums. I don’t know if any one else would call it this but Gaoth is perfect rainy day music (or in my case wishing for rainy days). The music itself is melancholic and ethereal; it’s slow, moving at a crawl but each note is painstakingly crafted to follow the next one, each a stone down to the river of time. Gaoth leads us on a path through a land or rain and rivers, rocks and shoals that have been unexplored for centuries. Nature rules absolutely here, dominating sounds and bending light to its will. It’s a beautiful misanthropic journey to the heart of the primal world. This is an Album of the Year candidate.
Listen and support!