Sometimes there’s music that just isn’t made for the 13 year old mind, the age I bought my first Gorguts album, the now-legendary Obscura. At that that I couldn’t appreciate the artistry involved, and I wanted, above all else, more breakdowns. It’s like expecting a teenager to get totally pumped about Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. Go live a little, then revisit.
Gorguts have never been an easy listen, and Colored Sands (their first studio album since 2001’s From Wisdom to Hate) certainly doesn’t deviate from their reputation as a challenging band that demands patience and full attention from their audience. That being said, there are moments here where they sound almost traditionally heavy, with head-banging momentum and groove amidst the chaos and cacophony. When they’re at their best, Gorguts sound like death metal an alien species might make when trying to replicate earthling heavy metal, trying to slowly worm their way into our population. Starting with “Le Toit du Monde,” band founder Luc Lemay and company dazzle with technicality that lures you into its confounding labyrinth of sound. The title track is simply one of the best metal songs of this young century, with clean guitar building like an escalating warning call that builds to a fanged burst of crawling death. It’s a song that will hunt and haunt you to the end of human existence.
The only thing predictable about Gorguts is their unpredictability. Just when you think you’ve figured out their discordant brand of planet-melting metal you hear “The Battle of Chamdo,” a piece performed by a string quartet that feels like Danny Elfman composing music for a long-lost Hitchcock film. Throw in the John Zorn freak-out of “Enemies of Compassion” and the intoxicated, kaleidoscopic sludge of “Absconders” and there’s no shortage of standout performances on display here. Anyone familiar with Coneheads knows that extra-terrestrials claim to come from France. Judging by the alien sounds of Colored Sands, however, they may actually say they’re French Canadian.
Colored Sands released TODAY in North America, so order it from Season of Mist over here: http://e-shop.season-of-mist.com/en/bands/gorguts/913