Gorguts “Obscura” (1998)

Sitting on the throne of insane-asylum death-metal since its release in 1998, Obscura has left listeners young and old scratching, banging and pounding their heads with its complete disregard for tonality, standard structures and your ears.

From the first few bars (if they can be called such) of the title track, the listener is subjected to a cacophony of strange noises, angular riffs and and blistering drumming. Then enter the inhuman vocals of Luc Lemay – I use the term ‘vocals’ very loosely here, they are more like the dry rasps of a being in the final moments of its life. In any other band, shrieks like this would be the thing which set them apart from any other. Gorguts, however, obviously aren’t happy with just one unique element to their sound…

The thing that really defines their music is the overall atmosphere and odd sense of controlled chaos which is imparted by the stellar and innovative songwriting. Although at first the tracks may seem like a collection random noises, you soon realise how everything somehow fits together and each section flows – perhaps a verb form of tsunami would be more apt here – into the next.

Drumwork in death metal is often constrained to blast-beats and repetitive fills, but Patrick Robert – adding to the convention-damning ethos found all over the album – instead takes a completely different approach; creating not only texture and foundation, but supplementing the un-melodic melodies with those of his own.

Gorguts don’t forget to mix up their own ideas every now and again, most notably in the song “Clouded” which slows right down and is one of the best explorations of dissonance in any metal track.

Also notable are the lyrics, which – in complete opposition to the group’s name – are very poetic and philosophical, spanning life after death, dreams and consciousness to the cage that is the human body.

Obscura is a contradiction in itself; a death metal album as far removed from death metal as Justin Bieber, but its guts and intelligence cannot be denied and have earned it its rightful place among the most highly respected works in the avant-garde genre.

-Simon Brand


Release:  1998
Label:  Olympic Recordings
Avantgenre:  Insane Asylum Death Metal
Duration:  1:00:25
Origin:  Canada
Official site:  http://www.gorguts.com/
Review online since:  09.01.2011 / 16:05:56


01 – Obscura
02 – Earthly Love
03 – The Carnal State
04 – Nostalgia
05 – The Art Of Sombre Ecstasy
06 – Clouded
07 – Subtle Body
08 – Rapturous Grief
09 – La Vie Est Prelude… (La Morte Orgasme)
10 – Illuminatus
11 – Faceless Ones
12 – Sweet Silence

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