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Gorguts - Pleiades' Dust CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.44 | 43 ratings

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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.

CassandraLeo | 5/5 |


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