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Gorguts - Colored Sands

[Season of Mist]
[30th August 2013]

01. Le Toit Du Monde
02. An Ocean Of Wisdom
03. Forgotten Arrows
04. Colored Sands
05. The Battle Of Chamdo
06. Enemies Of Compassion
07. Ember’s Voice
08. Absconders
09. Reduced To Silence

Creators of Obscura, arguably the first technical death metal album, Quebecians Gorguts are immensely influential in death metal. It was, and still is, a landmark album in the genre, taking the dissonant riffing of death metal to a whole new level far beyond its peers. They released one more album before going on hiatus in 2005, but main man Luc Lemay reformed the band again in 2009 with a new line-up to play some live shows. Fast forward four years to 2013 and now there is a new Gorguts record titled Colored Sands on the horizon; their first in twelve years.

This album is immense. The riffs, drumming, vocals, and production are all done in a way that makes the record sound absolutely gigantic. It towers over the listener, making one feel small and overwhelmed by the sheer weight and volume of the music. Gorguts do not fuck around, it seems; and they want the entire world to know that they’re back. The song “Ocean of Wisdom” accomplishes this, hammering riff after wrecking ball sized riff out of the speakers and into the ear of the listener.

But there is more to the music than sheer size; the songs are twisted to a dizzying degree. This is a more mature progression on what the band was doing ten years ago, building on the foundations of old and still sounding fresh from the legacy they spawned. The music takes its time to build and breathe, but is still uncompromisingly ferocious. “Colored Sands” gains momentum slowly over the first three minutes until exploding into an utterly devastating riff, the heaviness of which is galaxy-collapsing in magnitude. The middle track “The Battle of Chamdo” – an ‘interlude’ if you will – is an eerie, tense, symphonic track that takes all of Gorguts’ sound and puts it in orchestral terms, but they immediately shift gears with the next track being a metaphorical nuclear bomb going off.

This is not an easy album to listen to, though. It is complex, with layers that take multiple listens to peel away, but those many listens do not necessarily come without resistance. The nature of this album, like the nature of the two Gorguts releases that preceded this, is very much disorienting. One listen through is hard to manage unless you’re really adjusted to the ideas presented. the music isn’t atonal, simply melodic in a very harsh way. If one can get past the unforgiving exterior of the release, then one will be rewarded with an immensely enjoyable album, chock full of killer death metal and strange, insane melodic structure.

As previously mentioned, Gorguts do not fuck around. Colored Sands is a veritable giant of an album, one that builds on Gorguts’ previously established sound, while adding even more weight to their already colossal legacy. It is lurching, precise, monolithic, and blasting. It is dynamic and twisted enough to be a Batman villain, and it is quite unique. Colored Sands is certainly jarring to listen to, and some might find it unenjoyable for that, but for fans of the band, this is the comeback that you deserve. Not since Cynic have a band returned after so long and maintained their former sound while sounding new so well.


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