Words About Music
Gorguts “Colored Sands”
If you’re looking for one of the bands that inspired bands like Meshuggah and Between The Buried and Me to combine death metal with time-signature defying experimentation, then you won’t have to look much further than Canadian act Gorguts. Gorguts formed in 1989 by vocalist/guitarist Luc Lemay, who has remained the only constant member. Their third album, 1998’s “Obscura,” is often considered one of the greatest technical death metal albums of all time, but with their fourth album, 2001’s “From Wisdom To Hate,” and the suicide of their new drummer Steve MacDonald, the band called it quits in 2005. Three years later they announced their reunited lineup, which includes modern-day metal superstar Colin Martson, whose name you may recognize from experimental metal acts such as Krallice, Behold… The Arctopus, and Dysrhythmia. FIve years after announcing their reunion, the mighty Gorguts have returned with a modern heavy metal masterpiece that blows your favorite technical death metal group straight out of the water.
“Colored Sands” succeeds in pretty much all of the places where bands like Gojira and Opeth tend to fail. “Colored Sands” is not only a fascinating and insanely well crafted death metal album, but it also includes elements of atmospheric post-metal and fast-paced & indecipherable black metal. Lemay’s vocals have not at all suffered in the twelve years since Gorguts have released an album, and they’re sounding bigger and better than they ever have. It really makes one wonder how anyone even wrote these riffs. These songs defy any sort of song structure. I can’t even tell if there’s choruses, it’s just like one 60-minute song with nine movements, including an orchestra string interlude halfway through. The breakdowns don’t sound cheesy and formulaic like they do in so many other songs, and of course “Colored Sands” has that experimental edge. Throughout this album you’ll hear lots of atonal noise, feedback, and slow-building post rock inclines designed to draw you further into the abyss.
Don’t mistake “Colored Sands” as something too far out there for the average metal fan to enjoy, though. There’s still riffs galore and I’m sure it’s brutal enough to warrant several “\m/” comments on YouTube videos. It’s an album full of plenty of reasons to enjoy it. It’s incredibly dark and the vocals are harsh, but there are certainly times where the guitars show signs of melody. Lemay definitely takes a lot of inspiration from early math rock groups, or so I would imagine. It’s hard to hear some of these drum patterns and guitar bits and not think of Don Caballero or something. But of course it wouldn’t be a proper death metal album without a righteous guitar solo or two.
If you’re going into this album not being familiar with any death metal outside of Carcass or Cannibal Corpse or Death, then there’s a chance (albeit a small one) you might not totally enjoy this. It’s complex and can be sometimes hard to follow, and there’s a string interlude for christ’s sakes, but it shows an excellent future in a band that’s had an excellent past. Gorguts have helped pave the way for loads of death metal acts, including some that bassist Colin Marston is a member of, and it’s always good to see an older act come back and completely knock it out of the park.
SCORE – 8.6
FAVORITE TRACKS – Le Toit du Monde, An Ocean of Wisdom, Forgotten Arrows, Colored Sands, Enemies of Compassion, Absconders
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