The first band to successfully meld gothic elements with black metal, Gehenna have continued on to make rigorous melodic black metal.

First Spell
Head Not Found

Production: Production.

Review: The most coherent introduction of gothic aesthetic to the creation of metal music, Gehenna opts for punklike slow riffs based upon the resonant undulation of strobing chords over which a keyboard plays, creating a full harmony which gives vocals and song structure a space to breathe within an essentially maudlin pop genre as a means of expressing the distinguishing atmospheric use of texture and melody to structure events in song for which black metal is known. Solidly ear-friendly riffing and whisper-hoarse vocals bubbling from within the guttural confines of throat digestion, within the context of power chord riffs and the keyboards layering root notes or arpeggiated melodies throughout them, texture a release which is otherwise notable for refining instrumentation to its basic elements of presence. Acoustic guitar intrudes for emphasis on moments of release, as do reductive structures concluding each motif in song.


1. The Shivering Voice of the Ghost (6:05)
2. Unearthly Loose Palace (5:45)
3. Angelwings and Ravenclaws (2:51)
4. The Conquering of Hirsir (6:08)
5. Morningstar (5:58)
Length: 26:49

Copyright © 1994 Head Not Found

Melodic rock-n-roll-based lead playing and riffwriting is used in service of changing modal and rhythmic structures which far outpace rock-n-roll, creating a bizarre hybrid that uses distinctive phrasing of a simplicity matched by wide tonal range in complementing modality that achieves a spread of tone in which melody can move freely, with grandeur underlying this concept in resonant keyboards, surging slumberlike basic guitar, and a vocalist who in a whisper of blackness can create a range of tone to complement music and manipulate it freely with emotional range in timbre. Epic in distance and the alienation projected from these miniature symphonies of human angst and self-indulgent sensual emotionality for the sake of survival, musicianship and theory here is excellently presented with an intelligent container of tone to contain often "cheesy" but conceptually crafted appeals to listener emotion and sense.

In a direction where many bands flopped into mainstream cheese, Gehenna succeed by applying public musical knowledge to a hybrid ideal rooted in black metal/neoclassical principles and thus do not lose their focus nor fail to present their most vital ideas, but also can project music which mainstream conditioned listeners can appreciate in transition to traditional black metal. The "gothic" image has been given a bad name recently so it is worth saying that Gehenna apply it in the sense of romanticist pop music with a humorous, self-mocking, moribund worldview.

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