Gorguts – Colored Sands

Gorguts - Colored SandsGorguts

Colored Sands

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

[09/30/13]
[Season of Mist]

The original masters of technical death metal with eldritch, unsettling and innovative songwriting have finally come out with a new album after twelve years. The band had broken up due to the suicide of drummer Steve MacDonald. Several years later, Luc Lemay (founding member, guitarist, vocalist) reinvented the band in 2009 with an all-stars lineup consisting of himself, Colin Marston of Behold… The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Krallice and several other amazing bands on bass, Kevin Hufnagel of Dysrhythmia on guitar, and John Longstreth of Origin fame on drums. Considering the legacy of the band and how well regarded their 1998 album Obscura is even to this date, making a new album that doesn’t disappoint fans after more than a decade of waiting is an extremely tall order to say the least. Yet here we have Colored Sands, Gorguts’s fifth album, and it’s clear that Gorguts are back again.

What’s apparent straight off the bat is that the production on this album is exquisite. It retains the gnarly, overwhelming quality of sound that was on Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate, yet it has been updated to be modern. Despite the leap forward in production, it doesn’t sound overproduced or thin at all, the odd, unsettling quality that defines Gorguts’s aesthetic is still there. The guitars are deep yet clear, the bass is audible, and the drums and vocals are just at the right level to complete the soundscape. While the end result isn’t conventional by today’s standards, it’s completely characteristic of Gorguts and is improved as one would expect it to be considering the advancements in sound engineering since 2001.

Of course, a great sound is nothing without quality songwriting to go along with it, and Gorguts do not disappoint in this area either. Luc Lemay’s trademark eerie style is stronger than ever, with each song masterfully building up atmospheres full of dread and discomfort. His downright avant-garde riffs that give the band their acclaimed texture are as weird and unique as ever, and they are accentuated by really heavy crushing death metal riffs to create songs that are basically a non-stop assault on one’s senses. It’s hard to describe Gorguts to someone who hasn’t heard of them, and those who have, already know what to expect. It suffices to say that Colored Sands is a logical progression from Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate, and there are no missteps on this album. Be it the unparalleled riffing, the pained, desperate vocals of Lemay, the drums that perfectly complement the riffing; everything is just flawless here. In addition to that, the songs are quite a bit more progressive now, building up over time to create an even creepier atmosphere than the songs on Obscura. The improved song structure definitely works in the band’s favor as they sound even more powerful as songs have more time to build upon themselves. Each track is a lot more dynamic now, with some calm moments setting the scene for the upcoming storm of riffs. It’s a slight change to the band’s formula, but it works very well. Gorguts are known to push boundaries with their music, and Colored Sands is no exception.

Overall, Colored Sands is more than a return to form; it’s proof that Gorguts are still leagues ahead of other bands in terms of creativity and proficiency. Fans of the band will not only not be disappointed, they will be pleasantly surprised, and newcomers will be obliterated. Gorguts have returned from the grave to take back the crown of death metal, and they are angrier and stronger than ever. Colored Sands is yet another flawless album in this legendary band’s discography.

Gorguts – Colored Sands gets…

5/5

– NT

“If a tree falls in a cave and no one sees it, does it cast a shadow onto the cave wall?”