Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Gaerea’s Limbo and Baja Brewing Company’s Escorpion Negro.
The Tunes: Gaerea’s Limbo
It feels like only yesterday that I picked Gaerea’s Unsettling Whispers as our Album of the Month for our Audio Thing (read: podcast), and yet looking back it is surprising to note that that was a little over two years ago. I championed really hard for that album, even if other people on staff had more middling reactions, because I heard something special in the band’s music; black metal that is both fierce and melodic in the right balance that made my blood pump. It is good, then, that two years later I find Gaerea have taken that sound and made it even more striking than ever on their latest album Limbo. Right off the bat, the first thing to notice about Limbo is the song lengths. While the longest song on Unsettling Whispers clocked in at eight and a half minutes, half of Limbo exceeds that run time, in some cases vastly. The band incorporates more stretches of ambiance in their music this time around, along with a good deal more sludgy, slower tempos as in opener “To Ain” or “Conspirinoia.” Of course, if you’re looking for more straightforward rippers, there’s songs like “Urge” to tide you over, but even these feel somehow transformed, painted with a new palette that really emphasizes the ‘cathartic’ in ‘cathartic black metal’ (the band’s moniker for describing their music). Everything that drew me to Gaerea in the first place is still here, but expanded upon in subtle ways that makes the music hit even harder for me; Limbo is atmospheric, melodic, fierce, passionate, and a real distillation of everything I love about black metal as a whole.
The Booze: Baja Brewing Company’s Escorpion Negro
I’ve been hitting a lot of local breweries on this column lately, but today we’re going a little farther out for our pick, across country borders to be precise. Tijuana, MX’s Baja Brewing Company has a few options available in my local grocery stores here about four or so hours North of the border, but the Escorpion Negro intrigued me the most. It allowed me to continue my focus on lighter beers by…not continuing my focus on lighter beers. And honestly, that’s a pretty good way to conceptualize what drinking Escorpion Negro is like. It’s light and crisp like a lager would be, with a deep chocolate flavor and subtle bitterness from the copious toasted malts that make this black ale ‘black’. I would akin this the most to drinking a very light-in-body stout rather than an ale or lager, which works great in summer months when I want something rich in flavor that I can also drink more than half a can of.
Cheers, and be good to each other,