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After listening to some of their newer albums since their reunion, I had to come back to this album, and share some of my thoughts on it...
Truly, I think that From Wisdom to Hate perfected the sound that Gorguts started with Obscura. Yes, Obscura is said to be the "masterpiece" and I agree that it is an excellent album, but now I am convinced that From Wisdom to Hate left a large open door for what it is to come in the next albums, Coloured Sands and Pleiades' Dust. It is the perfect gateway, and in my own opinion, the best album that Gorguts have composed to this day.
Although a slightly new lineup (compared to the lineup in Obscura), the musicianship can be heard throughout the entire album. I cannot overlook, even for a second, the intense leads that Daniel Mongrain has pulled off for this album. The drummer, Steve MacDonald (Rest in Peace), on the other hand, has played so well and precise, and with an organic feel to it, that it is difficult to not pay attention to the drum play throughout the album. It's just a great mix of musicians working together. And of course, Luc Lemay and Steve Cloutier have been there to complete (and start) the "monster"; to put the stamp on their craft. Creating something that was ahead at the time... and probably still is. Many people would say that Gorguts play a "Dissonant Death Metal", while I don't like labeling the craft they have created, nor do I care what category of music direction they fall into. It's perfect, is what it is. It's a piece of art that it takes numerous of times to listen to, and each time you find yourself discovering something new and interesting. I very much feel like I am looking at a Dan Seagrave painting- complex, deep, rich in detail; you see something new each time you observe.
From beginning to end, there is a natural flow of the songs, one ending, and another one starting. The dissonance is constantly present. The lyrics have a greater meaning behind what is read (or in other words: philosophical) and it introduces some passages from the book Cradle of Civilization, by Samuel Noah Kramer. Overall, the composure and the defined sound that Gorguts can offer, was approached on a much more sophisticated and mature level in From Wisdom to Hate.
Boy, oh boy, have I been wanting to review this album for a while. Most of the time when I choose an album to review, it's chosen with the utmost spontaneity and usually out of some sudden, rising urge to let my thoughts on it be known, but not this one. Oh, if only you knew how long I've been simmering on this one. I think it's because of two separate but intertwined factors (which I'll touch upon eventually) that this one's been nagging at me for so long, and considering that Gorguts fans are currently preoccupied enough by the new album Colored Sands just long enough to turn a blind eye to the slightest hints of dissent towards any other elements of the band's discography, I suppose now would be the best time to release it unto the world. I'll say right upfront here that I'm not as familiar with Gorguts as most people feel like they have to be before they take a shot at voicing their opinion on them. I own Considered Dead and this album and have heard both of them multiple times. I've heard bits and pieces of both The Erosion of Sanity and Obscura, to the point where I can at least tell you what they sound like (though I wouldn't really feel comfortable giving you a dissertation on them). Nowadays it seems like the go-to Gorguts album to trash is Obscura - fifteen years down the road, it seems like disliking it is starting to become a more accepted opinion among metalheads, and its holy cow status is fading off at least a little bit - but in all fairness, From Wisdom to Hate is the album I'm most familiar with, so it's getting the brunt of this essay today. That, and I feel that it'd be disingenuous as a music reviewer to quickly and cursorily attempt to become familiar with Obscura merely to justify reviewing it, even if the following review is probably just as relevant to that album (if not more so) than From Wisdom to Hate is. Still, my time is valuable, and if I could cover some of the general topics of discussion surrounding Gorguts in this review, I believe it'd be a huge favor to my future self should I ever decide to review Obscura.
Here's the gist of the situation: Gorguts are a confusing band. I don't mean that in the sense that I have tried to understand them, but failed and proceeded to simply shrug in acquiescence. Quite frankly, that's simply the truth of the situation - Gorguts are pretty obviously trying to be an outfit that exists solely in realms of convolution. Their goals as a band are not plainly written in their music and attempting to decipher them from the music itself is difficult. (I'm sure there's some interview out there where Luc Lemay has gone on for pages on exactly what mood he attempts to capture with his music, but quite frankly I'm not particularly inclined to search for one of my own volition. In any case, I believe the fact that the band can't quite wear a straight atmosphere on their face with no outside assistance is quite telling.) If you've heard any Gorguts songs before, you can testify this yourself: Gorguts' style of melody is pretty consistently odd and otherworldly, and in other instances one could even say it's damn near nonexistent. Their rhythms wind and coil in directions most death metal bands wouldn't even dare to attempt, their music often sounds like it would make more sense being played in reverse, and, in a nutshell, Gorguts attempt to sound as abstract as they possibly can in most respects. They are confusing, and as a listener, your enjoyment of their shtick will hinge almost entirely on how willing you are to buy into the belief that there is something masked beyond that confusion, a deeper meaning to be gleaned if you put just that little bit more imagination into hearing it.
I can appreciate elements of From Wisdom to Hate, and on rare, rare occasions such as this one, those elements can join together to form a pretty cohesive whole which is... flawed, but decent. That's hardly an insult or a dig at the album - the same sentiment could be applied to around 80% of all the music ever created by human beings. When observed at a distance, the album holds up relatively decently and can be appreciated for what it is - a large, undefined, and ultimately confusing conglomeration of things. It's hardly outright enjoyable, but it's entertaining to stare at for periods of time. Gorguts definitely have some really positive aspects that are, rightfully, pointed out by their fans. The band have an absolutely astonishing sense of momentum, first and foremost. I think it'd be fair enough to say that for a band working with such abstract music, Gorguts are extremely good at composing it. Death metal is chunky by nature, and extremely so - from the very beginning, death metal bands were infatuated with both slower, heavier grooves and speedy, punchy blast-driven riffs, which obviously create a fair bit of abrasion when placed adjacent to one another in a song. Death metal fans tend to get used to this rhythmic foil over time, so I think it's only when you hear a band constructed in the same manner as Gorguts are that you realize just how smooth those bands' songs are. Gorguts practically slither through songs, flowing through grooves and melodies that feed into one another nearly perfectly. The melodies themselves often take distinct and defined paths through the music as well, slithering halfway through odd scales before cleanly reversing and pursuing other melodic paths. That the band achieve this is even more noteworthy when you take into account just how jerky the band's music logically should be: hardly anything's straight on From Wisdom to Hate. The slower, meandering sections in particular are often played in unconventional time signatures like 7/4 or 5/4, so when you take into account that your ear tends to register Gorguts's rendition of these times as straight 4/4, it's really quite eye-opening.
While I think From Wisdom to Hate is an endeavor devoid of general atmosphere, it's in no way due to the way the album was constructed to so flawlessly ebb and flow. If a band with the same sense of groove created this album but switched out the melodies, you would have a perfect soundtrack for an atmosphere that I think metal doesn't ever try to touch on enough - a slow, heavy-handed traipse through a desert that expands for thousands of miles in every direction. The songs here, especially slower ones like "Testimonial Ruins" are quite obviously made for this purpose, and with a few alterations they could embody that general vibe wholly and unconditionally. I think this is about where the positive aspects of the album hit their maximum for me - acknowledging that the songs come very close to being perfect, even if the way in which they're off their mark sends them way off the mark, as opposed to just "great, but not perfect".
See, the thing about my complaints about this album is that none of them is particularly damning in and of itself in my mind. Here's the first reason why I've been wanting to write this review for a long while now: people who don't like Obscura (because let's face it, hardly anybody expresses their disapproval of Gorguts through From Wisdom to Hate, and nobody ever talks shit about the first two albums presumably because those two are protected by the unfortunately common belief among metalheads that all death metal released before 1993 is inherently flawless by definition) usually dislike it to an overwhelmingly massive extent, citing its whole-hearted aversion to most things melodic and conventional as reason enough to brand it as one of the worst metal albums to ever be released. However, if you take note of this particular strain of Gorguts detractors, you'll notice that, more often than not, they have very little experience with anything remotely similar to it in sound, style, or mood. And that's a fair enough position from which to judge the band - I mean, you can't really tell people that they have to listen to more shitty things before they're allowed to call any one thing shit - but I feel like that puts me in a relatively unique position as a reviewer with a middling opinion of the album. I wouldn't consider anything about this album to be dissonant in a way that's actively off-putting to me, so it's not like I was doomed not to like Gorguts from the get-go. The band present it as a confusing album, sure, but in no way is it confusing to me in a manner that inspires outright revulsion. Furthermore, I enjoy bands such as Ulcerate and Flourishing which are usually compared to the latter-era Gorguts albums, so it's not like I would consider the style itself to be inherently flawed and say that Gorguts are simply indicative of a larger problem. No, it's more that Gorguts simply have flaws that they seem to have mistakenly deluded themselves into believing are strengths, and embraced them wholeheartedly.
The biggest flaw here is, surprisingly, a problem that many bands experience regardless of how confusing their music is designed to be: a lack of interesting, truly attention-grabbing moments. Gorguts melodies are odd and, well, confusing (it's a word that one draws upon almost instinctually while trying to talk about them, I guess), but they never communicate a larger point and, in fact, have a much lower batting average in this regard than even your average everyday Suffocation clone. The riffing style is interesting, for sure, but when you try to think about the riffs, only the general riffing style itself comes to mind; I'm inclined to believe that this is because the band just aren't really good at writing melodies that actually stick with the listener three seconds after they've ceased playing. Now this isn't a deal-breaker by itself - there are a good handful of albums that evade one's memory until you're actually listening to them, and are great partially because of that attribute - but the big difference here is that, as I've said, From Wisdom to Hate carries little to no atmosphere of its own except for the vague promises of "endless desert traipses", which are precluded by the lack of, well, interesting hooks. It cannot be listened to as an album that works as an experience because its delivery on that front is unbelievably lackluster. (Starting to see how the flaws of this album all tie together?) And it's not like I'm totally averse to the general style of riffing itself either - that much is dispelled by the fact that I spent a good 200 words farther up talking about how I like the sensation of their composition, and that there are quite clearly good riffs on From Wisdom to Hate such as the first two or so on "Inverted" and the ones present on "Elusive Treasures". By and large, however, they fail to rouse interest, or evoke memorability, or indeed, communicate anything but sheer banality through their breed of dissonance.
I'll touch on that more in a while, but for now, why not call into play just how self-referential a lot of the album is? You hear plenty of people express disdain for an album because "all the songs sound the same", but if From Wisdom to Hate is any indicator, it's totally okay for all your songs to sound alike as long as they're all different from something else while they're doing it. This album in particular could be said to alleviate this problem to an extent compared to other Gorguts releases, but let's be real: from Obscura and onward, most Gorguts songs are horribly formulaic. The blast-driven faster parts are all played alongside riffs that mostly involve performing weird, non-tremolo techniques, the mid-paced riffs all feel overwhelmingly bouncy and generally refer to chords with identical or similar textures, and each and every song needs a meandering slow riff. The riffs themselves use the same intentionally off-kilter screeching and the same little pieces of melody that sound the same no matter where exactly they're used, but they only adapt to the tempo of the material being played. The end result is that there's a lot of distinct individuality between Fast Gorguts, Mid-Paced Gorguts and Slow Gorguts, but every Fast Gorguts part sounds exactly like every other Fast Gorguts part, and so on. Possibly the only exception to this rule is the track "The Quest for Equilibrium", which doesn't distinguish itself through exceptionally noteworthy riffs or composition but through the fact that it takes Slow Gorguts to its logical extremely of An Entire Song Made Up Only of Slow Gorguts, which doesn't really fare much better than the other songs for obvious reasons. Listening to From Wisdom to Hate, one really can't shake the feeling that it's an album composed of maybe eight good parts, enough to build one whole good song, but with each good part placed on a separate track and sandwiched between a riffing style that never expands itself.
I feel like another reason this album doesn't work is because I feel like none of the material is really malevolent enough to do its job as a death metal album. Now, bear with me here: I'm not going to base an argument on the terminology of "death metal" here because let's face it, those never go anywhere productive. I suppose if you want to play devil's advocate, you could argue that the album is far enough outside of death metal's conventions that it shouldn't be expected to operate as such. To that, I'd simply disagree: they started as an obvious death metal outfit (I mean, come on, you can't really get much more blatant than naming your band Gorguts) and have entrenched themselves much further into that portion of the scene than, say, the general "WE'RE SO WACKY!" part of it where bands like Unexpect, Kayo Dot, Spastic Ink, Behold the Arctopus, and so on can be found. I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect a band so firmly embedded in the meat of the scene to conform to at least a few of its standards. In that manner, From Wisdom to Hate is reminiscent of a modern sub-average melodic death metal album - indisputably death metal by definition alone, but somehow misses the point of the way death metal is supposed to sound even if that was the intention of its creators. This wouldn't be nearly as big of a problem as it is if Gorguts actually had an atmosphere of their own to cling onto. After all, plenty of death metal bands that avoid sounding like a caricature of the genre manage to sidestep this problem by making sure their music embodies a distinct, enjoyable atmosphere - see, for example, the aforementioned Ulcerate, Demilich, Portal and Lykathea Aflame. All four of those tiptoe on the edges of the traditional boundaries of the genre, but justify their existence on that fringe by taking an atmosphere and making it fully, entirely theirs. Meanwhile, Gorguts have... well, confusion. And not particularly endearing confusion either, à la Brain Drill, but a goofy sort of confusion. The technical, acrobatic sections never have the air of seriousness they'd need to avoid sounding like some cheesy demented circus; the chuggier riffs are, as I've said, far too bouncy and add too much spring to the music when I'm almost entirely sure that that's what the band were consciously trying to avoid; and the flashes of jerky chords usually feel closer to lighthearted and dancy than mystic or abstract. From Wisdom to Hate has a fair few doomy riffs to its name that help to alleviate this problem to an extent, but whenever they're not being played, the problem with the borderline-castrated riffing style makes itself known, and definitively so.
One of the most frustrating things about the album though, by far, is the way it carries itself around as if each little piece of technicality is absolutely necessary when very few actually are. A lot of the chords, particularly the dissonant ones, are blatantly pointless, and the music could directly benefit from their excision. Gorguts's flowing rhythmic style doesn't work because of their dissonance, or their jangly and intentionally abrasive chords, it works because of the exceptional positioning of the drummer within the mix of the music and his judicious application of the kick drum whenever the music can benefit from it. One could even make the argument that the constantly fluid pace of the music is diluted by the constant twitching and spasming guitars. The guitarists here display a multitude of various techniques at their command, but so few actually do anything for the music that I'm left questioning the reason for their inclusion. This is the second factor I mentioned way back in my opening paragraph: Gorguts fans seem to be infatuated with the more technical aspects of the band's music, lauding the strange techniques that the band use in their music, but so few of those make a positive impact in the music that I don't really see why it should matter if the band just played an arpeggiated minor fifth or whatever other musical mumbo-jumbo you want to throw at it; and very few, if any people have even attempted to touch on that key aspect of the band's overall approach. In the interests of fairness, I will admit that, based on my personal experience, the album is much more fun to play yourself than it is to actually listen to. But that fact in and of itself hardly makes me want to go back and listen to the original - the idea that music should be listened to based on whatever weird noises the musicians can get out of their guitars was an ideology that I thought was reserved for fans of stupid djent bands like Periphery, and I'd hardly want to encourage something like that to spread over into the metal scene.
I actually haven't yet commented on Luc Lemay's vocal presence on For Wisdom to Hate, but quite frankly there just isn't as much to say about him in that regard as there is to say about any of the instrumental aspects of the album. He's not a very good vocalist for this type of music at all, and frankly I have never liked his vocals whatsoever. His growls occupy a higher register, which makes them more like yells, but they lack the consistent "shrieking" tone that would give them an admirable "dear fucking Christ help me I'm on fire" quality in the same way that, say, Martin van Drunen's timbre possesses. Luc Lemay's vocals usually sound much somewhere along the lines of tired, withered, and partially bored nu-metal yells. His voice maintains the same tone throughout entire lyrical lines, and his throat sounds like it threatens to break with each croaking scream he emits (I mean that in just about the worst way possible). Furthermore, when he does change his tone, it's always in an ascension that Luc has been doing back since the Considered Dead days which drives me up the fucking wall. It sounds exactly like an asthmatic horse riding a roller coaster that just hit a drop, and I don't think it could be interpreted more accurately as anything else. It's bad.
So, I guess I had better wrap this up. From Wisdom to Hate has a lot of flaws, but on the other hand its good aspects are extremely good. Honestly, my feelings on this album can go either way: while I was writing about the positive and negative aspects and listening to the album alongside the review, I found myself enjoying or hating the album respectively. A lot of those negative aspects will go away when I'm in the right mood to hear the album, just like how the flow of the album won't mean jack shit to me when all I can think about at the moment is how repetitive and guitar-nerdy the album is. When it's good it's only mildly so, and the bad aspects never make the album fall past merely "boring", so it's a toss-up that's dependent on my mood at the moment. But I didn't write this in order to help you decide whether or not you should hear it (you have YouTube for that at this point, I mean, it's 2013 come on), but to make a general statement about Gorguts applied to the album where I could most personally bring my personal experience to bear on it: Gorguts are confusing. They are a confusing band, and intentionally so. One's feelings on them at any given time will weigh on what they take from that assessment. The people engrossed in Gorguts's music will hear it and say to themselves, "Wow, this is confusing! I love it so far, but I bet it'll start to sound way better once I give it some time to sink in." Detractors will probably say something like "This is confusing, and I bet it's not going to get any better from here. Why is it trying so hard to be totally dissonant and strange?" I've been down both of those paths to some extent, though I've since disowned them both. And, ironically, I think I've found that the best way to uncover the layers of the band's music would be to come right down in the middle, and make no immediate judgement of the band past those first three words: "This is confusing."
Where Obscura had the element of surprise in its favor, a progression for Gorguts by just about any definition of the term; From Wisdom to Hate doesn't make such bold leaps and strides into the unknown, and it sort of builds a bridge between its predecessor and the more easily recognizable death metal records of their past. If anything, this record transforms the discordant, sludgy, groove inflected oddity of Obscura into a more focused, intricate, and technical experience that just doesn't feel all that out of place or unexpected. A relatively 'safe' step in reverse, if we could really dub anything that sounded like this 'safe'. Though I would not deny that the songwriting is often faster paced and busier in some instances, and that the overall construction is still quite distinct and interesting compared to the brutality-by-numbers that many of their peers were dishing out at the dawn of the new century, From Wisdom to Hate just didn't grab me as firmly as its predecessor. It's pretty good, but far from exemplary...and not the masterpiece that I've always felt eluded Gorguts.
They've still fashioned quite the balance between the jarring surges of technical whimsy and the fluidity of the bass-heavy rumbling, jangling dissonance and cleaner guitar tone than their past. Again, I got the impression that to what might seem to some a wrenching morass of turbulent ideas, is actually quite a focused, concise experience with a fair share of rewards lurking about its labyrinthine countenance. Most of the better songs arrive at the half-way point ("Unearthing the Past", "Elusive Treasures"), but the styles and riff selections are quite consistent through the 40 minutes. Some of the caustic, barking vocals from Obscura have been dialed back to their earlier style from The Erosion of Sanity; a Chuck Schuldiner with a more robust, lower pitch; hell, this might have been Death's foray into progressive sludge/death in an alternate universe. The riffs are quite thick and adventurous, maintaining some of the Escher-like post-hardcore/jazzy resonance which falls somewhere in between Neurosis, Candiria, Prong and 90s Pestilence. I felt that the album was most entertaining when it hits its most spastic, spurious strides of wild fills and busy progressions of notes that just kept battering away at your sanity ("Unearthing the Past" being a great example of this), but the 'mellower' sequences aren't poorly done themselves.
From Wisdom to Hate has a lot of passages I'd consider decent if not ultimately so memorable. The nature of this songwriting style lends itself to a frustrating amount of points at which a series of notes was compelling enough that I didn't want to hear it flushed away so quickly in favor of proving how apt Gorguts were at rhythmic acrobatics; how much the band's collective memory could retain to impress us with their mental acuity and wizard-like proficiency. I'll say that my ears perked up a lot more for the latter half of the album. Leads seem to play a more impressive role on this album than Obscura (one region where this is superior), especially in spots like the bridge of "Unearthing the Past" where the choppy rhythm mutes perfectly counteract the solo's woozy, airy splendor. The presence of guitarist Daniel Mongrain (Cryptopsy, Voivod, etc) is clearly felt in the tautness and professionalism of performance. Also, the production is quite impressive throughout, possible the best of their output to date, even if it's not incredibly different than the prior album. The corpulent bass, the kick drums, the tinnier snares, tom fills, growls and various guitar tracks all fit seamlessly here, showing a purity of purpose that was perhaps shakier when they first embarked on this more experimental jaunt.
Unquestionably, this album (like Obscura) would prove an inspiration to bands like Ulcerate who also have learned to meander from traditional death metal into a more discordant, artsy aesthetic (though not quite as successful in my opinion). Again I'd compare this to Immolation, who have a similar penchant for quirkier or unusual riffing embedding in the standard genre tropes, but From Wisdom to Hate goes a little further out of the box than those New York veterans. This was a calculable, consistent entry into that 'New Weird' of death metal, steeped in a central historical/anthropological concept as basis for the lyrical ruminations. Does it express some reticence on the part of Gorguts that, perhaps, they might have gone a little 'too far' with Obscura? I would not argue that, but still...this was not your daddy's death metal, and it's ultimately more unusual than most of what I hear even now, well over a decade after. Since we've now experienced the broadest gulf yet in Gorguts' career (as attributable to tragedy as to lack of productivity), one must wonder where Luc Lemay and his Canadian craftsmen of the arcane and obscure might take us next?
Gorguts have carved quite a peculiar niche, and with the release of "Obscura" they've cemented themselves as one of the greatest and most unique acts in death metal's relatively short history. This album, however, takes a more traditional approach to death metal, both via the recording as well as the songwriting. However, this still makes for an absolute classic that distinguishes itself from the horde of mediocre death metal albums out there, and for several good reasons. Anyone can write your stereotypical death metal song, but Gorguts are substantially different; everything they try is perhaps the antithesis to conventional heavy metal. If you haven't really heard of this album, it's because unlike a band like say, Opeth, you really need to sit down and actually listen to this album.
First lets take a look at the vocals. I personally found the singing on "Obscura" to be entertaining, but a little overdone, yet on "From Wisdom To Hate" they're far more refined and more listenable. Luc Lemay is a brilliant, articulate vocalist who actually writes quite intelligent and sophisticated lyrics; everything from religion to abstract pieces of philosophy and societal issues are sung about here, a refreshing approach, though perhaps not the first of its kind. Some of the lyrics are enjoyably decipherable as well, which is a rarity for death metal since it's supposed to be about the music and how powerfully enunciated the words are. I think this adds another dimension to this album's complexity, however, and is one of the more enjoyable things about it.
Now the real meat of this album is the guitar work, which is absolutely beautifully written. There isn't that traditional chugging, palm-muted technique a lot of technical bands use, but catchy riffs which blend rather impeccably with the drumming and the vocals. Might I note that, for example, the title track has one of the coolest riffs you're likely to hear simply because the way each note is plucked is done so elaborately, and the drums, rather than just providing the beat, seem to be playing the riffs on their own. You also have a song like "Inverted", which sounds a little strange to say the least, but it's so absolutely awesome once you get the hang of it. The bass is a little inaudible sometimes, which is strange considering how Gorguts used to have prominent bass lines accompanying every song, but compared to most death metal bands this is some really good bass playing. Cloutier is an absolutely phenomenal bassist.
What makes this album so unique is how the songs are written. A few of them have your stereotypical verse, chorus, verse chorus, then guitar solo, but a lot of the songs are designed to really demand exhaustive attention to details. It has taken me about 9-10 listens to really grasp the essence of this album because the songwriting is so convoluted, the band never hand you anything on a plate (unlike, for example, a more approachable band like Behemoth or Lamb of God). This band will never garner the worldwide appearance that is truly deserves simply because every song demands a little something from the listener.
To sum it up, this album is an absolute gem. It is not as good as "Obscura" simply because it isn't as unique, although "Obscura" garnered significant attention because it's an extremely elaborate musical experiment while this album is a little more traditional, especially when it comes to recording. I would highly encourage listeners to listen to this album in a controlled environment and don't always expect a lot of headbanging, so try to pay attention to the exquisite detail left here. A true masterpiece.
Gorguts From Wisdom to Hate. Alright so we have this old school death metal band coming out with their fourth album. They had a brief period of inactivity and released their third album (which I dislike very much) but maybe this will be a different story. I mean the cover looks like something kind of old school, and the logo is tight. There are 8 tracks, typical for the death metal genre. All in all this seems like a solid album by a band that released two amazing albums Considered Dead and Erosion of Sanity, but looking past all the reviews this album has, it is nothing but trash, a soundtrack for a coma patient.
These 8 tracks have nothing behind them. When I listen to this album I get bored and I don't want to hear it anymore. Listening to the entire thing three times so I could review it was hard enough. The riffs are boring (Behave Through Mythos, Elusive Treasures), annoying (Inverted) , and slow (The Quest For Equilibrium, Unearthing the Past). I don't mind slow death metal, but only when its heavy and the riffs are good, and this album has none of it. At least Obscura has energy to it, this is just flat. I mean, this would be perfect if you enjoy shitty death metal, but most people don't want to waste their money or their time listening to something that won't get them pumped, or at least pique their interests in the slightest.
The musicianship on here isn't bad, If you like click-y double bass to slow death metal riffs then you will love the drumming, and if you like boring riffs you will love the guitar work. If you enjoy weak vocals, you will like the vocal work. Don't worry about bass, its barely in the mix and simply follows the guitars. The blast beats are weak, and for a technical death metal band like this, to do nothing but blast beats and double bass at fast parts is really disappointing . Blast beats are a total cop out for drummers now a days, back then they did other drum beats, but now you find 4 minute tracks of the same beat and its annoying. God this album sucks.
Gorguts is a lost cause, once forefathers of the death metal scene but now it is not so. I don't care about violins, 4-year music degrees, or any gimmicky bullshit. If you want to hear the best technical death metal just listen to Erosion of Sanity especially the song Condemned to Obscurity. That is what I call technical death metal, not this watered down garbage.
A long time ago, Gorguts started their career as a growling death metal band who earned their place in the death metal industry. Inspired by Death, Morbid Angel and many others, they did two awesome "old school" death metal releases. But a couple of years later, they went on hiatus. They came back as nobody would have expected. The album "Obscura" is the most technical thing Gorguts has ever done in their career. But three years later, in 2001, they did their best effort they have ever done with unorthodox riffs and melodies. Let's analyse it.
First, as Luc Lemay said, they concentrated most of their efforts in the structure of the record. In fact, the transitions between riffs and chorus are awesome. They experimented so much things before recording these tracks that the structure of the songs are almost perfect. It's not only about harmonizing, but exprimenting. The song Inverted is one of the best proof of how exprimenting gives good results. You know, Luc Lemay is in a good position to talk because he went to University for three years learning the violin and its structure.
This album has one of the best production ever. Every instrument sounds clear. You have the best proof out there that they are exceptional musician, each and everyone of them. It has an egyptian feeling to it, which make it richer in sounds and harmonizing. Quest For Equilibrium is a proof of Egyptian feeling in it. Steve Cloutier is at its best with awesome performances on most of the songs.
In fact, It can't really get any better than this. Luc Lemay has a powerful voice on this one with an endless imagination for riffs are bridge, it's unbelivable.
Well, If you guys love Death metal and some of experimental feelings to it, you will fell in lvoe with this record. It has everything to be a mdern masterpiece, Original, heavy, technical and on top of all, a unique sound that nobody can recreate. Why ? Because Gorguts are virtuosos of their own instrument. Death metal at its best.
PS: I know it is out of print and you will pay ridiculous prizes for it. But I Swear, For Wisdom to Hate really worth it!
This is the first Gorgut's album I listened, so that, I supose is my reference for this band and the one I like more, too. This doesn't mean any criticism or disconformity with the other albums of the band in any way. Only that this is the one I have listened more times, and my ears are more in habit of this one.
And this is a crucial point with Gorguts and with this album: to give them a chance..., or two, or wathever you need, to accustom yourself to its sound. But please, if you have to give them more than one chance, don't do it in a consecutive manner. It may be exhausting. Specially paying attention on the music and not only hearing it, entails an intellectual effort.
The listener acquainted with the "chaotic" and syncopated sound of jazz music, doesn't will be surprised by this side in the album (and band). But this chaos doesn't flow out from the improvisation (the way it occurs in jazz), but from a calculated and complex structure that takes a shape at the end of the listening. A track by track review will be particularly unsuitable with this album because of this. I like to take it as a backwater on my metal universe of predictable cadences.
The voice of Luc Lemay sounds enough anguished (and howling, of course) to express the general atmosphere of oppression. It could be mostly qualified as intense.
The instrumental work is great. I will be very pleased to listen them on a live show, but I hadn't that chance. I prefer to doesn't appraise each musician one by one since the construction of the music affects to all them as a set and a solo has no any mean here. Just to say that they seem to be excessively prepared to perform what they perform (what are you doing?, try it now!).
At last, I want to clarify that this is not a one to tear apart your neck. Only your brain health.
I'm really a big thrash metal fan, but this album just blows me away, every time. One review here on metal-archives just doesn't to this album justice.
The production: I'd give it an 8/10, its good but not awesome. A tiny bit muddy overall, and a little noisy as well (namely in the rhythm guitar section) but nothing to shake a stick at. The fact that they have a ton of distortion on their guitars doesn't help with the chords they play, which is where most of the noise seems to be coming from. The balance of guitar/vocals/drums/bass is very good except for the bass, which you can't hear terribly well. Which is a shame too, because the bassist is an incredible talent at that. The EQ on the drums are real good; they aren't overwhelming during the blastbeats, but aren't too quiet anywhere as well. The album lacks little in this department.
As far as the monicker "technical death metal" I think Gorguts is as good as it gets. Many "technical death metal" bands seem boring and repetitive to me, especially as far as the drumming goes. Listening to this album I don't think the drummer uses the same beat in more than one song, which makes it much more interesting to listen to in my opinion. This is one of the things that makes From Wisdom to Hate such a great album; it never, ever gets boring, and each song (and riff for that matter) is memorable. That brings up the riff structure. It is none like any other I have ever heard. The chords they use in the riffs here... I don't know where the hell they get their ideas from. It seems like they have almost no influence in their writing at all, its 100% unique, un-borrowed stuff. Even with no tremelo picking to be found on the whole album, the songs range from fast, to brutal, to fucking heavy, and even to some level where adjectives fail me. The songwriting gets a well-deserved 10. It's really that good.
I'd like to compare Gorguts to another band so that the ones reading this review could get more of an idea of what they sound like... but I cannot. Think: Technical in a Jazzy way like Atheist, but brutal and full like a Suffocation or Immolation album. Thats all I got for comparison.
If you are a metal musician looking for something different and unique, you've found your album. This stuff is enough to keep anyone interested, and for a long-assed time.