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Gorguts - Colored Sands CD (album) cover

COLORED SANDS

Gorguts

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.13 | 103 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Colored Sands" is the 5th full-length studio album by Canadian experimental/progressive extreme metal act Gorguts. The album was released through Season of Mist in August 2013. Gorguts are one of the pioneers in using dominant dissonance in extreme metal music and their "Obscura (1998)" album is a seminal release, that has inspired prolific acts like Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate, just to mention a few. Of course there were acts that incorporated dissonance to their sound before "Obscura (1998)" came out (especially Voivod comes to mind), but it featured a chaotic darkness and dominant use of dissonance that was unheard of at the time. Their 4th full-length studio album "From Wisdom to Hate (2001)" toned down the dissonance a bit and made a slight return to the more "regular" US influenced death metal style of the bandīs first two studio albums, but still retained a dissonant element, that sets the album apart from most other releases in the genre.

The band were struck by tragedy though as drummer Steve MacDonald committed suicide in October 2002 and band leader Luc Lemay put Gorguts on hold until 2008 when he chose to ressurect the band again with a completely new lineup. On "Colored Sands" the lineup consists of Luc Lemay (Vocals, Guitar), Kevin Hufnagel (Guitar), Colin Marston (Bass), John Longstreth (Drums). These are all very seasoned musicians, having played with acts like (among others) Behold the Arctopus, Krallice, Dysrhythmia, Dim Mak, Angelcorpse, Origin, Vaura and The Red Chord and as a consequence the musicianship on "Colored Sands" is top notch. And that is exploited to the full on "Colored Sands". All four guys are very active and audible in the soundscape. Great interplay between the two guitarists, very skillfully played drumming (and varied too) and busy adventurous bass playing. The vocals are mostly growling and pretty low in the mix and along with the atmospheric sections this give off a strong post rock/metal vibe.

The lyrics on "Colored Sands" are politically motivated. Itīs a concept album describing the Tibetan culture and later the Chinese invastion of Tibet in 1950 and the following oppression of the Tibetan people by the Chinese occupation. I think we can safely establish that Luc Lemay is not going to travel to China anytime soon after this...

The music on the 9 tracks, 62:49 minutes long album is, except for the intrumental classical chamber piece "The Battle of Chamdo", a chaotic sounding, dark and twisted but also atmospheric type of extreme metal, with nods toward both death metal, post rock/metal, avant garde metal and progressive metal. although there are familiar elements in the bandīs sound Gorguts continue to challenge conventions. Dissonance and tempo- and time signature changes are dominant elements in the bandīs sound and sometimes those elements make for an almost nauseating listen. The way the band sometimes combine fast paced drumming with slow dragging dissonant riffing (not completely unlike the atmospheric doom/death of Disembowelment) has the effect on me, that I feel like Iīm being torn apart inside. Iīm not sure if I should headbang like a madman to the complex rythms or just sit there drenched in the feeling of despair that the music so vividly convey. Somehow thatīs a wonderful ambiguous feeling.

The same can be said about the sound production which in many ways is strong, as it is both powerful, detailed and relatively raw. At the same time it features a drum sound that may put some people off. Especially the bass drums feature quite an odd clicky sound. Personally Iīve formed the opinion that I think they fit the music well and provide it with another otherworldly and alien element to add to the rest of them. This is in every way possible a very unique and innovative sounding release by Gorguts, which might draw on some of the same elements as their groundbreaking "Obscura (1998)" album did, but at the same time adds a lot of atmosphere to those elements and therefore ultimately sounds very little like that album. Thereīs no arguing that "Colored Sands" is an incredible comeback album by Gorguts and to my ears maybe their strongest release to date. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 5/5 |

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