In their lengthy sojourn since “Angel’s Cry”, these stalwarts of the Irish scene have moved off Marseille’s Season of Mist and relocated to the greener pastures of Co.Cork’s Acheron label who have furnished them with an excellent package and reproduction.
As well as the long awaited (and dare I say long recorded) new material from Geasa we are also treated to the superlative “Starside” demo from 1996, now long unavailable, that has been remastered and attached to the end of this cd. I shant talk about that much; everyone with half a ear for good music in this country will undoubtedly know that that demo was a minor milestone and its quality has spoken for itself since its release.
Geasa continue the progression from their last album in a similar vein as was displayed there – the churning black metal of their beginnings has now morphed into a more coherent and song oriented melancholic Metal with many nods to their more extreme past… yet similarly I feel it’s looking toward to what they’re going to do in the future, and as such I think this will be looked upon as a transitional work.
It is the logical continuation from “Angel’s Cry”, though its diversity does make it hard to pin down. Overall the nearest point of reference must surely be Primordial, whose fullsome integration of folk and metal has definitely informed Geasa’s style.
The opening of “Heavenfall”, the most weighty track on here, could be more accurately likened to Morbid Angel, with its “Blessed Are the Sick” period overtones, though this doesnt persist. The sick vocals are especially cool on this track, and by the end of it one can even detect a hint of those masters of the obscure, Bethlehem.
Overall though Geasa’s propensity is toward the epic, and their decent ear for the song means they can largely pull this off. The nice dynamics of “Divine Reality” remind of the much underrated Blood Divine (coincidence?) and the folky “Eire” sees them tackle Cruachan’s territory successfully with its melancholy lament.
This is a great cd; but at times I fear it borders just slighty… not on the generic, but on the predictable. The straightforward arrangements and general enthusiasm for mid tempos lend themselves nicely to catchiness, but detract in that Geasa definitely have it in them to be just that little bit more experimental and forward pushing.
That is why I proposed earlier that this would be their transitional work, as the best is surely yet to come from them. They have cultivated their own style in fine fashion – now they need to really squeeze the creative juices hard, because if they do then they can excel on the next one. As it stands, this is a great and varied cd containing depth and intelligence.
Buttressed by the fearsome attack of “Starside”, its a pretty essential item in the Irish metal enthusiasts collection, and to any collection beyond it is an undoubtedly worthy addition. I just think theres a very small something missing, but perhaps Im being too fussy: the songs are solid, if a little predictable, yet stirring and powerful in equal measure, almost reminiscent of In the Woods at times. Give it a go.
3.8 / 5 –Earl Grey ::: 21/05/03