Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground extreme metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, -core, heavy, speed, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, punk/, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen we find ourselves lost in the labyrinthine nightmare of Yahar’gul.
The anonymous black metal savant behind Pittsburgh’s 3rd wave-inspired/4th wave-influenced Yahar’gul calls the lacuna between two realities his realm. The realities in this instance being that which is known as the ‘real world,’ and a virtual reality that exists within a video game. Specifically the PS4 game, Bloodborne.
Claims Gehrman: “I do not have an alias . . . My name is Gehrman. I am the first hunter but there were many before me and there will be many after.”
Gehrman’s willing to talk black metal, however. As they always are, these faceless purveyors of unreality. Particularly his evident worship of black metal bands from the mid-90s. A time when vampyric lamentations haunted the medieval castles that adorned the badly photoshopped album covers of that era. When the productions left nothing obscured and the melodies were proud even in their twilight.
“Old Blut Aus Nord, particularly the Memoria Vetusta series, is some of the best black metal out there and there isn’t enough of that style,” says Gehrman. “[It] seamlessly goes from dissonant madness to esoteric beauty from beyond,” he adds, never elaborating whether he means Old Blut Aus Nord or this fascinating and elaborate demo of his own labors.
Besides all that mid-90s glorification there are also some unmistakable elements of post-metal, even some Leviathan influence. So when Gehrman is asked if he’s [REDACTED] from [REDACTED], he admits that he is, but stresses that he must remain anonymous, without saying why.
“It’s completely unlike anything else I do, which was kind of the intention. I’m pretty emotionally invested in my other projects so it was nice to detach and focus on something less personal. I think this is why I was able to finish it so quickly. I worked on instinct rather than obsess over minute details like I do with other bands.”
And how long did it take him to write Yahar’gul?
“About two days. I wrote and recorded all the guitars on a Saturday and then did the synth and drum programming the next day. I recorded the vocals a few days ago and immediately uploaded to Bandcamp as soon as I was done.”
Now, Gehrman’s a drummer. So why did he program the drums for Yahar’gul? Nothing against the drums. Au contraire they’re a highlight.
“I wanted to write and record an entire release by myself in my house,” says Gehrman. “I don’t have the equipment to record drums at the moment, so live drums weren’t really an option. Plus Blut Aus Nord (usually) doesn’t have a real drummer so I saw it as another opportunity to rip them off.”
In regards to the other obsession that drives Yahar’gul, Gehrman seems obliged to divulge.
“Bloodborne has some of the best atmosphere and world building in any medium. Black metal is at its best when it’s vague, esoteric, and impenetrable and I’d be pressed to find more appropriate words to describe Bloodborne.”
By now you’re no doubt pining for details on the physical release. Don’t worry, we’ve got the information. Just yesterday Night Rhythms Records announced it would release Yahar’gul on 12” vinyl.
To which Gehrman says: “It’s funny that my first ever vinyl release is going to be music that I wrote over a weekend. The vinyl will have artwork with photos taken by me in Central Yharnam, along with cosmic illustration by my Best Friend Nate Burns.”