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Profound Album - 95%

hexen, April 5th, 2013

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.