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Gehenna - First Spell review


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Band: Gehenna
Album: First Spell
Release date: 1994

01. The Shivering Voice Of The Ghost
02. Unearthly Loose Palace
03. Angelwings And Ravenclaws
04. The Conquering Of Hirsir
05. Morningstar

If you met Gehenna with "Admiron Black" and "Murder" you should listen first to their early releases before buying one of them because they have nothing to do with their nowadays' raw and aggressive sound. 1994 and though the wolf was imprisoned and Euronymous had passed the cemetery gates the flames of the Norwegian scene were still burning high and the will of being true and underground were still floating in the air. 1994 and Gehenna cast their "First Spell" leaving breathless the underground scene with their unique majestic black metal evoking a beautiful nightly atmosphere bringing forth the supremacy of the Norwegian misty forests under a gloomy pale moon.

Sanrabb, the main figure behind Gehenna in those early years (alongside Dolgar), pours his soul into composing a nocturnal masterpiece enriched with a pure touch of intense lyricism. The beautiful Sarcana, the Black Goddess, enchants the listener with her eerily beautiful synth-born melodies evoking visions of a nighttime of eternity, symphonies that float in the air and add that special feeling that made Gehenna's sound so unique back in 1994. What is really important is that whether they play in the renowned razorblade Norwegian way or bringing to life guitar chord ideas they sound extremely grim and atmosphere-evoking harmonizing wonderfully with Sarcana's mystic blessings and Sanrabb's dark summoning strengthening the overall dark aesthetic as the rhythm section paces with the mainly mid-tempo rhythm of the compositions. On the cover the black n' white picture of two spirits condemned to wander forever the misty forests paces with the overall feeling of the album and the back-cover of the "First Spell" is one of the most grim, except maybe for Darkthrone's photos in the first half of the 90s, I've ever seen with the band standing in front of a gateway (to Hell maybe?) with unearthly corpse paint and Sarcana standing in the middle with her bewitching beauty.

The album consists of five compositions and it seems that back then Gehenna's inspiration seemed to be endless since every song of the "First Spell" is a great one with wonderful symphonies enriching the overall grim feeling of the band. Every single melody is a high-light for the album that flows as one and keeps enchanted the listener from its very first second until its last; from the majestic "The Shivering Voice of the Ghost" to the utterly lyrical "Unearthly Loose Palace" and from the nightly beauty of "Angelwings and Ravenclaws" to the deeply inspired and eerily enchanting "The Conquering of Hirsir" leading to the ending theme of the album, "Morningstar", ending the black ritual in the appropriate way with its nocturnal melodies drowning the sun deep into the dreadful abyss.

If you want to listen to pure majestic black metal with intense dark poetic lyrics and misty nightly atmosphere from a band that deserved more acknowledgement than it got proceed, you don't know what you're missing!

"In the Sunset
In the Sunrise
I will always be there"

Written on 25.11.2004 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."


Comments: 3   Visited by: 82 users
05.07.2006 - 04:06

I agree with practically everything in this eloquently written review. Gehenna - First Spell is an amazing release, I bought it when it was originally released, and it's still my favourite offering from this excellent Norwegian band. It's incredible how Gehenna managed to create such dark, haunting songs in a 'proper' Black Metal way, yet still keep things memorably melodic and catchy without being commercial or pretentious. All 5 songs are truly brilliant.
11.03.2012 - 23:13
Really great album! good review. The Shivering Voice Of The Ghost = best keyboard solo ever!
10.03.2021 - 17:50

I wanted my cringiest 666th comment in this site to be about a historic black metal album, not so popular, that had a memorable impact on me. "First spell" is one of the first releases that combined enchanting dark synth melodies with raw Scandinavian black metal. They managed to perform well from the beginning, composing this gem as a heritage. After this release it was Summoning's turn to push this genre further with ultimate success at least for me.

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