Review by Fran on June 15, 2021.
Gorguts is one of the most intriguing death metal bands from the 90s, completely ahead of their time. Their first couple of albums feature the most technical and well-written old school death metal of the decade, only comparable to Atheist. Obscura (1998) and From Wisdom To Hate (2001) were even more experimental; exploring industrial tone modeling and odd time signatures that augmented rhythmic tension to new heights, along with the already graceful melodic and harmonic mayhem the string department offered. Colored Sands (2013) has some of that too but the inclusion of Colin Marston on bass and Kevin Hufgnagel on lead guitars - both of them known for their work with progressive metal prodigies Dysrhythmia - added some order to the chaos and a more sapient sense of composition to Gorguts riffing overall.
Luc Lemay wrote the songs but the rest of the instrumentalists wrote their own parts with the exception of track 5; 'The Battle Of Chamdo' that was originally written on piano but was recorded by a string quintet. Comparable to Schostakovitch or Penderecki, the piece is incredible and was intended to represent China’s invasion of Tibet in 1950. It also divides the album right in two, the first four tracks lyrically deal with Tibet’s culture and its magnificence and the last four with the pain inflicted over them through that military intervention. In terms of production, the guitar tone on this record is very creamy, with lots of mids and not that much bass.
Leads are ultra-bright as the bass, that also includes lots of slap technique and percussive noises with lots of attack. Drums were played by my lord and saviour John Longstreth, probably the most brutal death metal percussionist on the planet. Surprisingly enough, on this album he delighted us with an elegant use of the cymbals and awkward sounding jazzy tom fills beyond the obnoxious ultra-fast blast beat onslaught he has already demonstrated he can interpret. Vocals are obviously executed by Luc Lemay, whose growls are kind of high pitched but still guttural and crunchy as hell, pure death metal. All in all, this is one of the best modern death metal albums ever and Gorguts is still the spearhead of experimental death metal after 3 decades.
Rating: 9 out of 10400