Gorguts practically jump started the era of over technical death metal in 1998 with the release of “Obscura”. It was an album that either made fans squirm in despair at the pure chaos and dissonance of the song structure or reveal in its complexity and technicality. There’s no questioning the skill needed to create such aural madness, and the why is pretty obvious, too. Gorguts wanted to create something new, to find a new level of sound that hadn’t been done before – and they did just that. From that one record, a whole slew of bands emerged and began pushing even more boundaries than previously thought possible. Let’s face it, that’s what all these subgenres of Metal really are; people taking the music that shatters their vision of what music is to the point where they have to re-create that moment and create something even more obscure from it. Almost everything on Earth evolves in the same manner.
I can remember buying the record from the band when it was released, having already been invited to hear portions of it in the bands rehearsal room – and after witnessing the writing process, the live show and the record itself, I’ll admit to not having the slightest clue what exactly it was that I was listening to. All these years later, I still consider that album to be one of the most bizarre albums I have ever heard. I consider it a listening experience unlike any other, because there really isn’t any form of groove or hook to latch onto and flow with. It really is a series of oddly created riffs played one after another without any real raison d’etre.
2001’s “From Wisdom To Hate” was different, though. It was the beginnings to what is about to be released twelve years later with “Colored Sands”. It seemed to follow a more traditional path than “Obscura” had, while still using a lot of the elements the group had explored previously.
Years have passed since then, and I wasn’t even aware that Gorguts were in the process of creating new material until it arrived before me. I was apprehensive, to say the least, about what I was to discover of this new record; how could those last two records be followed up? Well, by progressing and taking the formulaic chaos and bringing it back a step towards conventional music, or at least as conventional as Death metal gets. “Colored Sands” is made up of odd riffs but unlike “Obscura” or “From Wisdom To Hate”, it has an ebb, it has flow and melody to it. There are still elements of the older records on display within, but the constant blast of insanity has been toned down and interlaced with hooks and rhythm and the groove that I mentioned was lacking on “Obscura” is most defiantly a focal point this time around. That isn’t to say that the raw technicality and the sheer complexity of the off-kilter guitar riffs is no more – it just isn’t the only aspect of the song structure anymore.
The album itself starts off with a six and a half minute track named “Le Toit Du Monde”, which begins with a riff that would have been at home on “From Wisdom To Hate” and then the tempo immediately drops, just briefly, but it’s enough of an indication that something new is on the horizon. It plays a cat and mouse game for the majority of the track, before slowing down even more and going to a Morbid Angel like lull. Actually, I’m going to keep with the Morbid Angel comparison, because if you threw “Formulas Fatal To The Flesh” into a blender with “From Wisdom To Hate”, you might come away with something similar to what Gorguts are doing nowadays. It’s a vibe I felt on several occasions throughout this record. That, and an overall dark feeling to a lot of the riff work –especially on the slower tempo portions. It has moments that sound pretty eerie, too.
The one constant of all Gorguts recordings, has been that of Luc Lemay. For this output, Lemay has surrounded himself with some serious cross-border talent – importing the mighty John Longstreth (Origin, Angel Corpse) on drums and two thirds of New York based instrumental progressive metal band, Dysrhythmia, to boot. For Kevin Hufnagel and Colin Marston, in must really be something to join Lemay in the band that obviously influenced them greatly.
Dare I call “Colored Sands” accessible? Shall I really irk fans by saying this just might be the greatest thing the band has ever recorded – and make sure that I am including the fantastic “Erosion Of Sanity” record! I’m going to go out on a limb and do exactly that. This is phenomenal record.
Recommended to fans of: Morbid Angel, Dysrhythmia, Behold…The Arctopus