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GORGUTS

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Canada


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Gorguts biography
Formed in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada in 1989

GORGUTS is a Canadian progressive/ technical death metal act formed in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada in 1989. The band released their debut demo tape ...And Then Comes Lividity in 1990. GORGUTS was then signed to Roadrunner Records and released their debut album "Considered Dead" in 1991. They returned in 1993 with their second album "The Erosion of Sanity" which proved to be more technical and experimental than their debut. Unfortunately the band were then dropped by Roadrunner Records and went into a five year hiatus before bandleader/ guitarist and vocalist LUC LEMAY, as the only remaining member from the original lineup, opted to continue the band with a new lineup.

GORGUTS was signed to Olympic Records and released their so far most experimental/ avant garde album "Obscura" (1998) which is widely considered a seminal progressive technical death metal album. The album features complex riffs and multi-layered dissonant harmonies and have influenced several other progressive death metal artists.

GORGUTS released their fourth full-length studio album "From Wisdom to Hate" in 2001. The lineup features new guitarist DANIEL MONGRAIN ( MARTYR, CAPHARNAUM, QUO VADIS, VOIVOD) and new drummer STEVE MACDONALD. While the album still holds experimental elements it´s a more straight forward technical death metal album compared to "Obscura." Drummer STEVE MACDONALD unfortunately comitted suicide in 2002 as he hung himself. The drummer had a history of recurrent depression. The death of STEVE MACDONALD was one of the reasons for yet another break-up of GORGUTS in 2005.

LUC LEMAY and former GORGUTS guitarist STEEVE HURDLE formed the band See also: - NEGATIVA in 2005 and released a self-titled EP in 2006. LUC LEMAY left NEGATIVA in 2008 and re-formed GORGUTS with new guitarist KEVIN HUFNAGEL (DYSRHYTHMIA, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, BYLA, EUCLID STREET, THE FIFTH SEASON, GREY DIVISION BLUE), bassist COLIN MARSTON (DYSRHYTHMIA, BEHOLD... THE ARCTOPUS, BYLA, KRALLICE, INDRICOTHERE) and drummer JOHN LONGSTRETH (DIM MAK, ORIGIN, THE RED CHORD, SKINLESS, POSSESSION, ANGELCORPSE).

The new lineup is currently working on a new album. GORGUTS inclusion in the Prog Archives database was approved by the Progressive Metal Team on the grounds that "Obscura" is widely considered a seminal progressive tech...
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GORGUTS discography


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GORGUTS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 50 ratings
Considered Dead
1991
3.59 | 63 ratings
The Erosion Of Sanity
1993
4.38 | 222 ratings
Obscura
1998
3.84 | 53 ratings
From Wisdom To Hate
2001
4.15 | 137 ratings
Colored Sands
2013

GORGUTS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.73 | 6 ratings
Live in Rotterdam
2006

GORGUTS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GORGUTS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.93 | 6 ratings
Demo Anthology
2003
3.18 | 8 ratings
Considered Dead/The Erosion Of Sanity
2004

GORGUTS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 4 ratings
...And Then Comes Lividity
1990
4.50 | 36 ratings
Pleiades' Dust
2016

GORGUTS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars Was anybody actually ready for an album like Obscura back in 1998? Watch any early live performance of these songs on Youtube, and what you'll see is a crowd that's practically motionless. They're not moshing, instead just stunned and transfixed at the bizarre dissonance and calculated chaos playing out before them. In the same year that other tech-death landmarks such as The Sound of Perseverance were being released, Gorguts had already left the archetypal trappings and conventions of the genre far behind with an avant-garde metal masterwork that stood - and still stands today - as a monument to mental anguish and turmoil.

I get the sense that much of the confusion and surprise surrounding Obscura stemmed from the sheer leap forward from its predecessor. The Erosion of Sanity is more sophisticated than Considered Dead, sure, but it's still a relatively straightforward death metal album. No one could have predicted something like Obscura; imagine if Death released Individual Thought Patterns immediately after Scream Bloody Gore. So what happened? Well' Steeve Hurdle happened. Luc Lemay might be the co-founder and bandleader of Gorguts, but he's never going to find a better wingman than Hurdle. The duo's combined artistic vision led to a level of experimentation and twisted chemistry that can't be matched anywhere else in the group's catalog; if you have any doubts of Hurdle's involvement in this partnership, the liner notes credit both him and Lemay with the 'artistic direction' of Obscura.

And what an artistic direction this is. All of death metal's stereotypical traits and tropes have been thrown out the window in favor of abstract lyrics, strange chord structures, and ever-changing time signatures. Instead of being technical for technicality's sake, however, Gorguts use their musical toolkit as a means of communicating intense feelings of dread, despair, and viscera. While the songwriting is impressive, the way these emotions and thoughts are conveyed through the songwriting is what makes it so effective. It's as if every weird bout of dissonance and every alien guitar squeal is another layer of sanity being ripped away from the listener. Of course, the vocals are also a massive contributor to this. If Lemay sounds demented and savage - which he does - Hurdle acts as his tortured and agonized counterpart. Every time Hurdle lets out a lyric, even if it's not particularly disturbing, he transforms it into a twisted and ugly affair with his horrible retching and heaving. And what's so wild about all of this is that the record makes more and more sense with repeated listens; what seems like chaos starts falling into place once you let the deliberate nature of the songwriting and execution sink in.

Of course, I don't want to leave bassist Steve Cloutier or drummer Patrick Robert out of the picture either; the fact that they can make sense of the musical madness on Obscura and play these crazy riffs so impeccably is a feat unto itself. Their precision and technical acumen is a perfect foil for Lemay and Hurdle's insane ideas, leading to strong chemistry between all members. Everyone is locked in with each other, which is absolutely necessary for an album that could go flying off the rails at any given time. Obscura reminds me a lot of Calculating Infinity by The Dillinger Escape Plan in that regard; both records have a habit of letting chaos and control coexist in strange and creative ways. Sometimes the two mingle, and sometimes they clash with each other. Still, one thing is for certain: the members of Gorguts are ridiculously talented. As for the lyrics, they're a substantial step up from the band's previous output; the gore and social commentary of yesteryear were now replaced with writings on existentialism, spiritualism, and - you guessed it - despair. In any case, they prove to be just as abstract and peculiar as the music they're accompanying, which seems appropriate.

But to answer my original question: no, people were not ready for Obscura back in 1998. There's a reason Gorguts are commonly cited as pioneers of avant-garde metal; nothing sounded like this back then, in the technical death metal genre or otherwise. If the album had proven anything, it was that many of their contemporaries were already being left in the dust artistically. Because of Obscura, extreme metal would simply never be the same again.

 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Nhelv

5 stars No. This isn't accessible in the slightest, as a matter of fact I'm pretty sure only people that enjoy the heaviest of metal could possibly enjoy this record due to how raw it is. With that said, there's facts that simply can't be denied. Obscura, much like other death metal records like Symbolic, was essential and influential to the genre.

Obscura could the considered the first proper technical death metal masterpiece. It took all the risks possible by going all out on instrumentation and song structure complexity, often recurring to dissonance and atonality. The album has a very raw sound which I assume was acquired from a possibly low-budget, which makes it sound much heavier and embracing than the modern crap you hear on the genre that sounds like a computer.

This record, as brutal as it is, is incredibly soulful and recognizable. And add up the fact that it completely changed the genre with its manic time signature changes and hyperactive song structures. This record isn't for the faint-hearted, but it's for sure for those who wish to possess the most essential metal records. Five Stars.

 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Maw The Void

5 stars Gorguts - Obscura

Not joking when I tell you that this is one of the most important records in the history of metal. It is the first record to combine metal with dissonance and avant-garde, all in an incredibly technical manner that was never achieved before in metal or even rock. The musicianship is unparalleled and execution is flawless. Since it has dissonance and avant-garde, it's very inaccessible, so I recommend you to listen it in bits. A full listen could become tedious half-way through. Regardless of inaccessibility, the reward for giving this record a try is unimaginable.

An essential record for metal.

 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ian McGregor

5 stars One of my friends (who's into more heavy music) once recommended me this album, I warned him that I was probably not going to like it because he told me it had growls in every single track. The first time I listened Obscura I thought it sounded terrible. It was an absolute mess of riffs with no melody and a pig screeching on top, yuck! However this chaos kinda caught my attention, because I really couldn't tell a single progressive rock band that made an album as chaotic yet technical as this one. The second listen, I started to pay more attention to the instrumentation and get used to the growls (but I still didn't like them), and I definitely began to appreciate this album.

The thing is that I really don't like growls, and I think that if there was some sort of singer delivering actual notes, I would enjoy this more. But the instrumentation behind this has to be some of the most complex metal ever made. Every track is an undecypherable ocean of time signatures and riffs that I simply cannot comprehend, and it's even harder to understand when you have someone growling on top.

With all the songs being very similar, I can't say there's a specific stand out in this album (although Nostalgia could be a candidate for that spot), and even though I really don't enjoy extreme metal... To each with their own! This album is truly a monster within its genre, and the instrumentation is some of the greatest I've heard, it's more than enough to redeem the awful and disgusting vocals that plague the album. I'm pretty sure death metal fans will enjoy this more than I do! A bold record, but one that works amazingly, I'm giving it five stars, even though I don't listen it that much.

 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gorgut Muncher

5 stars First review, and I'm going to make my username check out! Gorguts is still my favorite technical death metal band, mostly due to their acquired and identifiable sound. Their first two albums feature very strong death metal influences, but in Obscura, things get very progressive. Dissonant, obscure (pun intended), heavy, brutal, un-expectable and very, very awesome! The title track features a very fun syncopated dissonant guitar. Nostalgia features tasty bone-crushing riffs. Clouded has an amazing atmosphere that gets you in a trance. Subtle Body has an awesome middle-east vibe. My favorite album by Gorguts! Super heavy and unique, recommended to any metal-head! Five Stars!
 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by King Brimstone

5 stars - Review #20 -

Gorguts' third album might actually be the scariest album I have ever heard. There's something very unsettling about the album's raw sound combined with its incorporated dissonance and heavy growls, and the flow present in those twelve tracks is seriously one of the best: It's one of those albums that you listen from beginning to end. I usually don't listen to separate tracks because the transitions get ruined.

With its raw production, each instrument fills the mix entirely, making it sometimes difficult to differentiate each instrument. That truly sounds like a bad aspect, but surprisingly, it only increases the quality of the ambience and feel present in the album. Most of the songs are very fast-paced and technically proficient, with their lengths going from three minutes to nine. Each track features some very complex and constantly-changing time signatures, which further defines the sound of the album (and the band itself).

That's right. This was the album where Gorguts defined their signature sound, and this makes Obscura a crucial album in the band's discography. Now, I must say this can be a tough nut to crack. It definitely took me a couple listens before I could actually start appreciating this album as a true piece of art. Progressive rock fans, to be more specific, will probably struggle the most because of the growls and sometimes non-existent melody. But they should still give it a try. To the metal head out there: Go check it out! If you like growls you will probably fall in love with this album.

Sound-Defining, brutal and bold. Obscura is a five star album that to this day remains as the bastion of the band.

 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Isaac Peretz

5 stars Spooky, one of my favorite albums of all time! Very heavy and dark. The dissonance really adds to the darkness shown in the album. Obscura is considered a seminal piece within the technical extreme metal. It also defined their sound. Songs like the title track showcase the band's technical playing and great handling of time signatures and changes. Others like Subtle Body even have Middle-East vibes going up! Finally, the flow between tracks is very good. It adds up to the atmosphere a lot.

Very inaccesible but highly recommended. This album should impress every metal head in the world, it's incredible. Five Stars for me, without a doubt.

 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.38 | 222 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ssmarcus

4 stars Gorguts' Obscura is a musical experience unlike anything you've ever heard before, for better or worse. Guitarist, front-man, and mastermind Luc Lemay and company forced sounds out of their instruments that I don't think anybody ever would have thought to commit to recording before they came along. At times, the music is impenetrably dense. At others, the music has some surprisingly accessible hooks, certainly more accessible than I would have expected from an album famed for pioneering Avant Gard technical death metal.

While the reason for this album's legacy and impact should be abundantly clear to anyone who listens to it, I personally cannot rate it any higher than I did. I appreciate music which utilizes a diversity of voices to communicate an idea. Not only is that the best way to break the monotony of a record, its also, in my view, a higher form of artistic expression. Obscura's sound, however, is too monolithic. (Or maybe, it only sounds monolithic to my ear because it has yet to be baptized in the fires of the level of hell reserved for the insane where this record clearly originated?)

 Colored Sands by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.15 | 137 ratings

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Colored Sands
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Wikipedia is your friend," my friend always says when we are not sure about some fact. I often consult Wikipedia as a starting point to search for band history and album information. In the case of "Colored Sands", the Wikipedia article was surprisingly indepth and very informative.

Gorguts released four studio albums between the years of 1991 and 2001. During this time the band went on a five- year hiatus between their second and third album, and only founding member Luc Lemay has remained with the band, effectively making Gorguts his band similarly to how Opeth is Mikael Åkerfeldt's baby. With the suicide of a band member in 2003, Gorguts was finally dissolved in 2005. However, Luc Lemay received encouragement to reform the band in 2008. Initially (I'm getting this from Wiki) he did not intend to write any new material because he was satisfied with what the band had achieved; however, he started writing anyway and found it came very naturally.

The theme for the new album was Tibet. It was inspired by a video Lemay saw of colored sand art where images are created using colored sand and then ritualistically destroyed. At first he meant to write only the one song about Tibetan sand art, but his research into Tibet, its culture, history, and religion, inspired him to devote the whole album to Tibet. The album is divided into two parts: the historical, cultural, and geographical side of Tibet and the Chinese occupation. There are four tracks to each part with track five, "The Battle of Chamdo" separating the two parts and being a musical representation of the Chinese invasion in 1950. Impressively, this piece is performed by a five-piece string ensemble including two violins, a viola, a cello and a string bass. The music was composed by Lemay. The concept of the album was to "create a storytelling mood within the music; sort of like a motion picture" (quote by Luc Lemay and quoted from Wikipedia).

Lemay's concept is nothing to scoff at. Colin Marston (bass) and Kevin Hufnagel (guitar) are both classically trained musicians and contributed a lot to the album, writing their own parts together with Lemay. All three members cite classical influences, particularly composer Elliot Carter, and were able to write ideas on paper because they could use "an academic vocabulary". Lemay wanted to avoid writing anything like their second album "Erosion of Sanity", which was more of a typical death metal album, and develop their own musical language. This language was first introduced with 1998's "Obscura", though it is regarded by Lemay as rather simplistic. "Colored Sands" is a "more sophisticated expression" of that language.

All this makes the album sound terribly interesting. With music so intelligent and lyric writing to match, what does the album sound like?

BOM BOM RATATATATAT WHALLOP BOWM! ROOAARR BOM BOM (ting) BOWM!

Gorguts is not only death metal but they approach extreme like few can. Dissonance, double bass blast beats, booming guitars, ferocious roaring vocals, and occasional bass note crashes that sound like BOWM! If my parents, who were fans of 50's jazz, had a hard time making sense of my musical preferences in the mid-eighties, I can almost sympathize with them listening to this album. My first listen through, however, was a blissful ride because it was exactly the kind of music I was up for (having spent the previous week listening to Sarah McLachlan and Supertramp!). The Wikipedia article tuned me into the fact that there was more to this album than just explosive sounds of a heavy metal band in rapid combustion. I listened again with an ear for the complexities of the music and discerned that a score did indeed exist, one that was often difficult to follow for long and subject to violent and brutish upheaval. By the third listen I was struck by two notions: first that there was sometimes little disparity between some songs during the explosive and thunderous BOM BOM BOWM!! moments. The other was that I began to realize that this was not too far away from a Voivod album that I quite like, "Phobos", which I likened to the sonic equivalent of being wacked by a giant tennis racket! As the album wrapped up for the third time in my ear buds (with some songs having been played a fourth time) the similarities between "Dimension Hatröss" and "Phobos" and this album here made the music suddenly become even more accessible to me, or if not exactly accessible at least not so alien. And speaking of alien, perhaps some of Strapping Young Lad's "Alien" had also prepared me for this.

Armed now with a new understanding toward the album, I think I can more easily digest what I'm hearing. Surprisingly, the production is remarkably clear. One might expect the dynamic range to be shattered or a lo-fi production but it strikes me as being very clean and clear. Yes, we are still talking about kilotons of pounding and building-toppling shock waves of guitar distortion and dissonance, but still very well captured in the mix. When the music drops down for a bit of acoustic guitar, the string ensemble, or a chorus of low and ominous "aahhh"s like a note meant to conjure up an ungodly presence, it's all very clear. What a remarkable feat to have recorded an album that often comes across as the musical equivalent to the moon colliding with the earth while maintaining good sound quality.

If there is anything to say that is more critical it would be that in spite of the philosophical concepts presented in the lyrics, such as how did the Tibetans' devotion to peace help them in the end, and the history and culture and all that, the words are not so easy to distinguish from the roaring vocals and crushing sound of the music. It's also an album that won't be easy for a lot of metal fans to sink their teeth into. After listening to this album twice, I went ahead and listened to some classic Slayer and Megadeth and it was like going to pick daisies after having tried to pluck rare flowers from the sheer wind-blasted granite cliffs of some torturously rugged mountain. For more information about the album, please read the Wikipedia article!

 Pleiades' Dust by GORGUTS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.50 | 36 ratings

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Pleiades' Dust
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars If you're reading this, you probably already have an inkling of Gorguts' general sound. If the name wasn't itself a giveaway, take the noisiest, most dissonant, most technical death metal you've ever heard, and then multiply that by a factor of five; you probably haven't heard anything of the intensity of Gorguts. That's the sound they established on their classic Obscura, and they've spent the time since varying it in many different ways, but always remaining rooted to the same core aspects.

Their latest experiments, on the thirty-three-minute EP Pleiades' Dust, are just as fascinating as ever. Here they've tried the single-track, multi-movement suite, an old chestnut of prog (there are seven movements total). The music here is more dynamic than any previous Gorguts recordings; segments crescendo and dissipate over lengthy periods to establish the desired moods. The music is overall still as dissonant as ever, but there are some almost calm passages in between the storms. The composition, if anything, has gotten even more complex, which is fitting given the scope of the song. (In particular, if you can make sense of all the time signatures in this piece, you're a more patient human being than I.) It's too early to tell for sure, as I've only had the EP in my possession for a couple of days as of this writing (I may revise this piece with additional observations after further listening), but this may very well be the most fascinating music Gorguts have ever recorded.

Lyrically, they've created another concept album, this time around focussing on the contributions of what have become known as the Islamic Golden Age and the House of Wisdom to humanity. In the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages descended over Europe and Baghdad became the centre of learning and scholarship. Local scholars preserved countless works for posterity, often translating them into the local language and contributing their own scholarship from the results (we owe such innovations as algebra to this time in history). The rulers of the region valued knowledge more than gold; upon conquering new lands, they would frequently demand books rather than material possessions. From the knowledge thus gained they further strengthened their position.

But, like all great things in history, this period too ended with the overrun of the Mongol hordes. In 1258 Baghdad was sacked, thousands were slaughtered including some of the best minds of the era, and now-lost books were thrown into the Tigris River in such quantities that the river was said to run black with ink. Intrepid citizens of Baghdad salvaged some of the texts before they could be destroyed (Nasir al-Din al-Tusi alone is credited with saving four hundred thousand manuscripts), but the damage was done; one of the most progressive and innovative cities in the world had been dealt a crippling blow, and it would take hundreds of years for it to recover.

The lyrical content of this album is, given the modern narrative of a clash of civilisations that certain political forces would like us to accept, particularly timely. And, as stated, musically this release is staggeringly brilliant. It is one of the strongest releases of this year so far, and I can only give it my highest recommendation.

Thanks to UMUR for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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