Gorguts - Colored Sands
Season Of Mist
Death metal
9 songs (01:02:48)
Release year: 2013
Official Website, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Charles
Major event
A lot has happened in death metal since Gorguts split up. There is a great deal more extremity around, and in a plethora of forms: since From Wisdom to Hate we have had four albums by Portal, for example, along with an increasing supply of records by bands like Deiphago where the objective is basically to submerge the listener in abrasive, loosely-moulded noise. This is not to mention the ominously rumbling model of death metal pioneered by Ulcerate and the like. Impressive, then, just how extreme records like Obscura still sound. Their vision of death metal is so alien, so hostile, that it is difficult to imagine how the genre could ever surpass it in terms of sheer vileness. At the moment I’m working on a review of the debut full-length by an Australian band called Altars. It’s an overwhelmingly harsh, oppressive album, filled with weird shapes and sudden jolts, and yet even these guys- just- pull back from the kind of listener-unfriendliness that Gorguts managed in their pomp.

As does the 2013 incarnation of Gorguts itself. Despite bearing many of the hallmarks of its predecessors, Colored Sands also offers a little more for the poor listener to latch onto. Yes, large swaths of this album are given over to that churned up, mangled Gorguts sound; roughly twisted riffs that in anyone else’s hands would go down as a fragment of screwed-up soloing, but which here are worked into a punishingly dense death metal mesh. Once again, the band pull out various ideas that sound like they are very distantly influenced by jazz, but a mangled and regurgitated version of it. However, this is also an album with a very carefully worked sense of atmosphere and dynamics, and for this reason it engages as much as it assaults. Opening track Le Toit du Monde, for example, opens with crashing sludge chords reminiscent of someone like Cult of Luna or Isis, which repeatedly re-surface throughout, in a power struggle with the band’s more traditional barrage. It eventually culminates in eerie, twinkling calm- truly a multifaceted and impressive opening salvo.

It is this sense of atmosphere, I think, that characterises the most memorable parts of Colored Sands. I am especially enamoured of the tense and foreboding title track, which one-ups Ulcerate with its slow-burning dynamics. It is an eight minutes filled with tension, which eventually is channelled into a wonderfully malevolent lead solo. Similar is Enemies of Compassion with its tribalistic percussion and Ocean of Wisdom with its disorienting plunges into sludgy ambience. That being said, and while there are some striking novelties here (see the string instrumental The Battle of Chamdo), I don’t see anything here which quite compares to Clouded, from Obscura, which to me is one of the most unique and bizarrely profound songs in all of metal.

I think this is a great record. It is a complex one, in which new ideas creep to the fore with each listen. Arguably the band’s approach is slightly diluted compared to what it has been in the past, with some of the influences alluded to above softening the harshness slightly. Added to this, the band’s efforts to create atmosphere and manipulate tension give the listener a lot to engage with. But this is, obviously, relative. Listening to tracks like Absconders, or Forgotten Arrows, the abstract hostility of Gorguts’s music is as fearsome as ever.

Killing Songs :
Le toit du monde, Colored sands, Enemies of Compassion
Charles quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Gorguts that we have reviewed:
Gorguts - Pleiades' Dust (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Gorguts - Obscura reviewed by Charles and quoted CLASSIC
Gorguts - From Wisdom To Hate reviewed by Paul and quoted 48 / 100
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