Hallelujah, indeed. Since first discovering Gevurah sometime in 2013 after the release of their intoxicating debut EP Necheshirion, I’ve watched with interest what this two man act out of Canada would do next and was teased considerably with 2015’s two song demo A Dialogue of Broken Stars, a release that gave a good taste of things to come, for one could surmise from this glimpse that the magic was still there and then some.
Thankfully, Gevurah have delivered on that promise with their long awaited debut album Hallelujah! through Profound Lore Records. It’s clear the band took their time with this record, as Hallelujah! runs just over an hour in length and in that time span, Gevurah display the kind of imagination and tight craftsmanship necessary to make waves – dare, I say, tidal waves – in the orthodox Black Metal scene. For the strength of this duo lies in their ability to blend a more traditional approach in their overall attack a la the Swedish scene (think Marduk, or Malign, a band they covered on Necheshirion) with the unwavering atmospheric sensibilities found in the scene today (think Aosoth, Deathspell Omega, and the like).
It’s this marriage of old and new, of direct, tremolo-driven machine gun style attack infused with dissonant, hallucinatory rhythms that bears the forbidden fruit that is Hallelujah!, and it’s all too overwhelming on the opening track, “The Fire Dwelling Within.” Easing the listener in with whispers and ambiance, Gevurah abruptly plummets you into those purifying fires that dwell within. With a full, meaty, yet clear production, the talents of these guys are allowed to properly shine as guitars and drums pick and blast with the best of them, showcasing the complete audial tenacity of this duo along with their ability to begin subtly weaving strands of dissonance and divine atmosphere into the mix.
The frenzy they whip you into on the opening track excites the imagination, nay, the fire within it speaks of, and the remainder of this album feeds those flames religiously. Take note of the how particularly menacing the vocals are on the next track, “Cosmic Putrefaction,” or how evocative the spine chilling dark melodies of “Un feu indomptable” are, for instance. What one can sense when listening to these spells is that Gevurah are a band dedicated not just to their craft, but to their ideology, as each nuance that surfaces speaks of natural inclination and heartfelt communion with Lucifer. This sensation is further expanded upon by the interlude “Lifting The Veils of Da’at,” an instrumental piece that brings the listener that much closer to salvation through damnation.
Which is good because the following track, “Temple Without Form,” sounds a lot like damnation in its own way. Seething with evil and a weighty, rhythmic, mid tempo composition, “Temple…” spends the first half of its sequence building pressure little by little, ritualistically dancing about before a sharp turn at the 4 minute mark with a spiraling riff that sparks a downward descent into vertigo and madness to carry the song to furious completion.
This paves the way for “Dies Irae – Lacrimosa,” as it picks up the pace right where the aforementioned song left off, and with it comes some of the most dramatic, captivating material on the album yet. Seething with weighty, mid tempo driven atmospherics and high octane transcendence, “Dies Irae” is a song I’m still reeling from, for it sucks you in with a melodious tug after its fast start, only to send you headlong into the fires of absolution only to grab you once again with that same melodious, atmospheric tug from before. But what’s really surprising is that this ten minute beast of fiery devotion and all that’s come before it are but an appetizer for the main course – that is, the magnum opus of Hallelujah!, a nearly twenty minute long monolithic effort entitled ” הַלְּלוּיָהּ,” which is, the album’s title in Hebrew.
And what we’re dealing with here is, perhaps, the culmination of all Gevurah’s songwriting potential expressed up to this point; a veritable vision of divine justice, a sonic maelstrom of heaping praise for the severity that exemplifies it. A sprawling mass of steady tremolo picking and thunderous blast driven drumming, “הַלְּלוּיָהּ” maintains a consistent, quickened pace throughout its lengthy run time that mesmerizes minute after minute with its subtle shifts in attitude and composition, layer upon layer of intense focus revealing itself to the patient listener before a break in the action brings forth the singing of a Gregorian choir, making this song very reminiscent of the modern classic by Deathspell Omega “Carnal Malefactor”. And much like that song, the closing track from Gevurah absolutely levels all when the voices stop. Crashing back into focus, Gevurah round out the last few minutes of their debut album with heavy, grandiose atmospherics free of any vocalizations to distract from the meditative quality of the music.
This is essentially the perfect ending to a remarkably well-crafted album, and when you throw in the eye catching and tremendously detailed, mystical artwork that adorns the cover of Hallelujah!, it’s a safe bet the underground will have this record on the tip of their forked tongue all summer, if not all year. Now buy it and support the dark arts, hail Lucifer!