The true test of a band’s skill and consistency, is when they make an album after a long period of absence. The so called “comeback album”, measures the band’s ability to make good quality music despite staying dormant for an extended period of time. 2013 seems to be filled with such comeback albums, with big league bands like Carcass and Black Sabbath putting out albums after quite some time. Canadian Avant Garde Death Metal veterans Gorguts are the next ones in line.
Gorguts, one of the pioneers of the Technical Death Metal genre, were reformed in 2008. After 5 years of waiting, the world is finally going to get a taste of these veterans. Their fifth full length album, titled Colored Sands, will be released on 30th August 2013, through Season Of Mist records. This album comes after 12 year break and has only Luc Lemay left of the original lineup.
At a time when most of the bands under the Technical Death Metal category are trying to be faster, heavier and brutal, Gorguts take a different approach to the genre all together. Their brand of metal is transcendental, for the lack of a better word. The compositions are awe inspiring and this album takes the listener on this beautiful ride through the celestial world.
Their former sound is still present, with the guitar leads of Luc Lemay and Kevin Hufnagel being the protagonists. The music has a very mystic quality to it, with the guitar magic adding a lot of enigma. The guitar tones are not harsh or heavy in any way. In stark contrast, they are clean and subtle, suiting the atmosphere brilliantly. The album does carry its fair share of heaviness, especially during the second half of the record.
The bass work carries the songs forwards, with the bass lines of Colin Marston brining solidarity to the various elements in the songs. Gorguts still maintain to include that progressive touch in their tracks. The music has a slight chaotic feel to it, which in a strange way brings forth a feeling of serene harmony. Even the instrumental track, ‘The Battle Of Chamdo’ is executed beautifully with a classical orchestration of cellos and violins.
The drummer John Longstreth, is without doubt, an extremely skilled man behind the kit. The way he handles all the tempo shifts and the technicality that goes into the drumming he does, is proof enough for the previous statement. This album even boasts some insane solos coming from the guitars. The vocal work is well delivered as Luc Lemay lays down some harsh growls that works really well with their progressive music.
On the lyrical front too, the band shuns away from the usual topics of death and mutilation. They take up philosophical subjects like karma, wisdom etc. Gorguts offer a much needed break from the gore ridden albums that are just fast and brutal. Colored Sands is a very intelligent album, that requires a certain level of understanding, in order to appreciate the true beauty of this album.
The one complaint that I have with this album is that the vocals sound kind of suppressed in the mix. But then again, had it been louder, it would have ruined the serenity of the album. Overall, with ‘Colored Sands’, Gorguts manage to provide a cathartic break from the usual dose of unintelligent metal. Filled with guitar harmonies making magic in the high end, and bass lines that work wonders in carrying the songs, this album definitely cements these veterans as one of the more intelligent bands in existence today. This is an album that needs to be experienced, rather than just listened to.