Album Review: Colored Sands by Gorguts
Posted by RiffRaff
13 years. 13 long years Gorguts fans have had to wait for a new album by the Canadian technical death metal beasts to release a collection of new music to boggle their minds and violate their souls. 13 years is long time in between albums (‘glares menacingly over at Tool’) and in those years a lot of people forget about most bands. But not Gorguts. From their humble beginnings as a pretty cut and dry death metal outfit they really took the metal underground by storm with a stylistic shift on their 1998 album Obscura and pretty much invented what is know today as technical death metal. Unfortunately the suicide of drummer Steve McDonald led to the break-up of the band and Gorguts main mastermind Luc Lemay went on to pursue various other projects, namely Negativa. Anywho, Luc decided to reassemble Gorguts once again in 2009 and played some local shows and leak a rough demo of new tracks. This led to fans going nuts as if Gorguts would be official back together which Luc stated is the case and that Gorguts had new material for everyone and a new album was in the pipeline. Naturally, fans were ecstatic, buuuut, it would be some time before that album would come out due to yet another death in the band (guitarist Steve Hurdle died of surgery complications, note: if your name is Steve, do not join Gorguts). This led the writing and recording to be delayed, and now with all the drama and tragedy behind them, that long pined for new album is upon us and it is called Colored Sands.
You may be asking if the album lives up to the hype and the rocky and tumultuous wait worth it. Does Gorguts come flying onto the tech-death scene and show all these fucking amateurs how it’s done? Well, in short, yup, they prove once again why they are considered the premier band in tech-death metal.
Colored Sands, from front to back is one the most oppressive albums I’ve ever heard. It’s abrasive, angry, violent, chaotic, formless, and unpredictable. It’s also not fun to listen to. Gorguts aren’t looking to create music people can have fun to moshing in the pit or listen to all cozy sitting on the metro or driving in the car without wanting to hurt someone else badly. They create music to make the listener feel uncomfortable. How ever, as much as I dislike being uncomfortable, I can’t feel anything but drawn to the visceral brutality that Colored Sands exudes. The best way I can describe it is think of being tied to a chair in the basement of a serial killer who also has a penchant for light torture, really uncomfortable sexual acts, and long-winded, nonsensical diatribes. He’s dressed you in a pink tutu and he dons a gimp suit and often plays the sounds of Russian gulag camps while he cooks you flapjacks and sausages (from meat of questionable origins, like Jimmy Dean links). You’ve been in his capture for some time now and developed Stockholm Syndrome, you’ve fallen head over heals with your captor. Now the thought of him ever leaving you brings you despair. You need him, you love him. Ya, that’s kind of what listening to this album is like for me. While listening, it’s abusive and confusing, but when the music stops I just have to have more of it; or I need to have more of it.
But then comes my escape, where as much as I want to be dittled with various appendages, punched in the chest, and held down and shouted at, my drive for freedom shines through in small, faint bursts. I escape and pop in an Iron Maiden or Korpiklaani record and the release from the oppression is just that much more sweeter. Colored Sands by proxy made the small, simple things in my life that much more enjoyable. But remember, Stockholm Syndrome. I just can’t stay away and easily let myself get captured by it again for another round of ‘Let’s play Sodom and Gomorrah’. I think I may need to seek professional psychiatric help.
As for how to explain Gorguts style to one who may not be familiar with their works their songs are extremely non-linear affairs composed of thunderous death growls, low-end guitar and bass tones making chunky riffs which bend time around equally as heavy and technical drumming. If flow and melody are things that you enjoy most in music, this may not be the album for you as Gorguts pretty much scrap those altogether on Colored Sands in lieu of unbridled chaos. The end result leads to a fascinating whirlwind of metal that will immediately suck anyone even slightly intrigued right in. The oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere on this L.P. is only seconded by Gorguts own Obscura and is where my engagement in this album really sits. While all the music is insanely technically proficient, it wouldn’t be crap if Gorguts weren’t so talented at creating said atmosphere. And on that base alone is where I suggest you give Colored Sands a spin. That atmosphere is just something I think any fan of extreme metal should experience.
In the end, I am right satisfied by the work that Gorguts have done on Colored Sands and feel that it lived up to the long wait. If you want a lesson in atmosphere and oppression, this record is a must as also if you want to hear chaotic music done right (Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan are the only other two bands I can cite that understand and execute musical chaos on the same level as Gorguts). It’s a fascinating album that will at least intrigue you while listening and if you’re lucky, it will get its hooks in you. Even if you don’t enjoy the music within, you won’t be able to say that the record didn’t make some kind of impact as it is a listen you won’t soon forget and will make the stuff you do like all that much more sweeter. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!