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Like every metal subgenre, death metal started as a primitive technically-humble music movement of dominant simplicity but clearly determined attitude and motivation that made those mid-80’s early records so amusing and fresh, anyway. Progressively, a higher level of refinement and difficulty was introduced, pushing away the old formulas. Some of those enthusiastic crazy kids eventually became professional musicians. Albums from icons of the subgenre, particularly Death’s Spiritual Healing and Obituary’s Cause Of Death (both featuring the contribution of Mr. Murphy, coincidence?) meant a giant step forward to next level, which seems to be the kind of stuff people like Gorguts took bigger inspiration from. It wasn’t until the new decade began when technical death metal was completely developed as subgenre of the subgenre itself, mostly about 1993 was the year a bunch of records of that superior complexity came out, including The Erosion Of Sanity, probably the most influential of all.
Considered Dead was an evocating album on which these Canadians explicitly showed their fascination for difficulty and astonishing technique, their intentions remain untouched on this memorable successor that inherits most of the first record schemes. The tremendous diversity of structures, severe tempo changes and advanced arrangements are a vital part of the band’s methodology, which constructs epic songs as the title-track, offering a stunning display of abilities and creativity. The variations of riffs are nearly countless, so insatiable, the elaborated progression and versatility of the instrumental basis simply exquisite, revealing a truly musically superior effort from great musicians at their best. Among all this excellence, you can find a couple of straight-forward simpler numbers however, which ain’t that firmly focused on overwhelming complication, actually “Odors Of Existence” and “Hideous Infirmity” present an easier composition, which on other hand provides more rich alternative sections and challenging instrumental passages - yet concisely executed, plenty of velocity. In fact, speed is omnipresent here; the dynamism and constantly loose tempos determine the nature of most song-sequences, even though “A Path Beyond Premonition” and “With Their Flesh, He’ll Create” incorporate weighty slow breaks that interrupt for a moment the supremacy of vigor. “Dormant Misery” (probably the tune with the most uniform rhythm of the pack) and “Orphans Of Sickness” with those accented blast-beats, give energy and speed considerable control – always controlled and disciplined, proving the splendid precision and harmony of Gorguts. So there’s predominant technique and velocity during the whole record, demonstrating the huge potential and instrumental level of these guys, who display admirable musicianship and inspiration without exception, definitely conceiving one of the most unforgettable death metal records ever.
Gorguts had the required virtuosism to design and execute such intricate music, unlike most early death metal acts that needed to make about 2 or 3 records till they finally refined their skills and eluded the typical clichés, not only technically – their capacity to compose and provide sense and consistency to the songs is unique. Others failed and succumbed to the difficulty of their pretentious schemes because sometimes technique doesn’t equal good music but these Canadians had the ideas and possibilities to reasonably combine dexterous arrangements with unadulterated speed & aggression – conceiving well-constructed competent music, making it difficult without denying the original essence of this subgenre. Unlike most of their peers, they concentrate almost exclusively on velocity, adding just a few heavy sequences but generally playing it fast and so energetic instead with competent rhythms performed with extreme detail and grace by Provencher. Blast-beats ain’t numerous – yet hyperactive double bass-drum kicks define the nature of this stuff with notable dynamism and power. Guitar combo Lemay-Marcoux’s contribution is absolutely professional too, leading the band through passages of extraordinary taste and solidity, introducing a massive bunch of riff alterations, evolving and designing instrumental shifts of complete heterogeneity, always refusing to repeat the same lines without inventiveness. Maybe pickin’ parts are the only intolerable handicap, occasionally too concise and noisy, using the archetypical dive-bombs and assorted pedal effects that might sound cool once or twice – but undoubtedly affect the consistency of solos when you abuse of them. Luc’s voice materializes the abstract surrealistic words (compared to the predictable – yet enjoyable gore/sickness/guts themes, they’re mystical and spiritual, indeed), effectively with his crude growling, whose lyrics you can perfectly understand, though he gets too repetitive, his modulation too homogeneous and tedious, deprived of eloquence and let’s say charisma but we’re familiar with the inevitable limitations of the subgenre, low-range is mandatory.
The Erosion Of Sanity incarnates the next evolutionary stage for death metal, denying totally the technical fragility of the mid-80’s phase but maintaining brutality and speed. Actually, Gorguts’s music remained unadulterated from the growing experimental trends other bands were introducing; there are a couple of acoustic guitar and piano intros here, though external elements don’t interfere with ferocity and purity of the music. Others were getting melodic as they increased the level of complexity, some started using synthesizers or adding groove, luckily these Canadians preferred to believe in the genuine form of death metal, adding of course their predilection for difficulty. So this is one record any subgenre fan shouldn’t miss, representing the brilliance before the upcoming decline this kind of music would suffer by the mid-90’s.
I fucking love death metal. If you were to ask me, what is my absolute favourite death metal album, there's a very strong chance that I'd pick this. Its up against some pretty stiff competition (Death's Human and Individual Thought Patterns, Suffocation's Breeding The Spawn, to name a few) but when all is said and done I think The Erosion of Sanity comes out on top and for me, has done for about the last 8 years. In my opinion this album, released at the tail end of death metal's initial explosion of popularity in the early 90s, represents that "old school" formula taken to its upper limit. In a few ways its also quite a progressive album, released at a time when that style death metal was really coming into its own and a bunch of more advanced, forward looking albums came out (1993 in particular was full of them). Though The Erosion of Sanity is not as "out there" as say, Thresholds or Elements, it is still definitely something of a left field choice for favourite death metal album over the likes of Tomb of the Mutilated and Leprosy. What really makes this album stand out to me is the quality of songwriting and the riffs, many of which are among my very favourites in all of music, period. The progressive tendencies of this album serve to embellish the music and give it additional intrigue, rather than being the sole focus.
Gorguts' first album, 1991's Considered Dead, was an enjoyable if somewhat derivative (recorded at Morrisound, produced by Scott Burns, guest appearances from James Murphy and Chris Barnes, etc) slice of solid traditional death metal. It had a bunch of great riffs that made it stand out as being better than average, but on the whole it wore its influences on its sleeve for all to see. For The Erosion of Sanity, the band seemed to make a gigantic stride forward into a sound that was entirely their own. Apparently this album was inspired a fair bit by two albums in particular: Suffocation's Breeding the Spawn and Atrocity's incredible Todessehnsucht (another big favourite of mine), two albums that are considerably abstract compared to most "standard" death metal. This influence can be detected in some of the riffs and choice of harmonies (Breeding's jerking, unusual rhythms and Todessehnsucht's almost neoclassical compositional values), but Gorguts have still managed to create a unique piece that is quite rightfully hailed by many as one of the genre's greatest achievements. After "With Their Flesh, He'll create" flays the skin from your proverbial limbs with its barrage of intense riffs and addictive tempo changes, the metal attack stops for a moment and the startling piano intro of "Condemned to Obscurity" emerges from a sinister low keyboard drone. This is hands down, one of the most profoundly beautiful and haunting things I've ever heard. What's even better is that it, in the best compositional way, subtly mirrors the equally bewildering pinch harmonic driven opening riff which then lurches into a series of equally irresistible riffing. The intelligence of the arrangement behind these songs is something that has never ceased to impress me, displaying a level of compositional awareness that lesser bands wish they could get near. Everything just flows so well, and there is a definite sense of subtle and bewitching melody behind many of these brutally punishing themes. The production this time is handled by someone called Steve Harris and is mixed by the well known Colin Richardson. To be honest, the move away from Burns and Morrisound did this album a huge favour. I don't dislike the classic Floridian death metal sound, in fact I love it, but this album wouldn't be as good if it sounded like another Morrisound job. The production is clear while retaining the right amount of grit, it has qualities that I'd describe at both warm and bright and it sounds unlike any other death metal album I can think of (the guitar tone in particular is just great). The mix, while heavy on the guitars and vocals, allows everything to be heard well enough. Attentive listening may be required to pick out the more subtle nuances in the drumming and bass playing.
Which brings us to the performances. As I have mentioned, the guitar riffs are just impeccable. I cannot praise them enough. Luc Lemay and Sylvain Marcoux achieved a fantastic quality of riffing on this album. Lemay has always been one of my favourite extreme vocalists and here he gives a thoroughly caustic performance, his agonized sounding vocals lend the album a character that it just wouldn't have if the vocals were merely your standard "low as possible" growls. Up there with the likes of Martin Van Drunen on Consuming Impulse for sure. The bass work by Eric Guigere is precise to the rhythm guitars, which considering the complexity of some of the riffs is admirable in its own right, yet the playing is also highly imaginative elsewhere, not afraid to offer an additional melody to create a sound that is harmonically quite rich in places. He also uses an overdriven bass tone for the most part (and a chorus/flange at a few points!), something I would normally not be very fond of in death metal, but it seems to fit the feel of this album quite nicely. Stephan Provencher's drumming is also to be commended, keeping a solid beat with plenty of propulsive double kick, great fills and very interesting use of the cymbals and hihats. I also have to point out that he only uses one blast beat on the whole album, allowing more creative beats to be used. All this is complimented by a brilliant set of lyrics concerning such subjects as insanity, nightmares and the subconscious among others, taking it yet further beyond the worn out cliches of years past. And then, the cover art. Just...wow. Dan Seagrave never drew a better picture in my opinion, and that must be saying something as he drew a lot of undeniably classic album covers. The image is very strange, full of fantastic details and rich colours (sadly the album cover only represents around a quarter of the whole painting, which can be viewed here: http://www.danseagrave.com/detail/the-erosion-of-sanity/) and to me it illustrates the "feel" of this music perfectly, and really completes the whole thing.
So, can you tell that I really, really like this album? In an ideal world, this album and others like it should have given the genre the shot in the arm required to not go through its period of creative limbo during the mid 1990s (which saw some pretty mediocre albums such as Morbid Angel's Domination somehow sell truckloads of copies...go figure). Around this time Roadrunner began to drop many promising artists (Suffocation, Immolation, and others) from their roster in favour of...I'm not sure what, but it probably sucked. Gorguts were also dropped, and disappeared for a few years before finally re-emerging (with a new label and lineup) to turn everyone's idea of death metal on its head with 1998's Obscura, an album that baffles new listeners to this day. Though that is a wicked album for sure, it doesn't quite have the instant charm of The Erosion of Sanity, which is accessible enough to any extreme metal fan on the surface, and which reveals its captivating intricacies over time.
After releasing a fantastic debut in the form of Considered Dead, Gorguts still felt they had something more to prove with their sophomore album. Few could have predicted just how big a step up 1993's The Erosion Of Sanity would prove to be, but Gorguts made progress in leaps and bounds. Their sophomore release was the last album they put out that was still firmly routed in the old school death metal genre, and is often considered to be a staple of the genre. It showcases everything that made their debut so good, but generally feels just a little tighter, from the vocals to the riffs to the song structures.
The guitar work on The Erosion Of Sanity is some of the best you will find anywhere in death metal. The squealing pinched harmonics are all over the place in the title track to add a nice dimension to that particular song, whereas Dormant Misery makes great use of an acoustic introduction before it cuts into the brutality in great fashion. The riffs here are not the constant tremolo picking that many old school death metal bands decided to make use of, but instead they show off a good level of technical ability. Orphans Of Sickness has some really fast chord based playing as it progresses that show off the technical side of the band really well.
The other instruments here are also fantastic. The drums are constantly evolving throughout the duration of this album, cutting from ridiculously fast blast beats to some more crushing mid-paced beats in seconds. Hideous Infirmity opens with one of the most creative beats on the album before diving into a thrash beat and a lot of bass drum leg work to keep the listener interested. Meanwhile, the bass attempts to deviate from the norm of death metal of just following the guitars on songs like the introduction of With Their Flesh He'll Create, where the guitars play a couple of chords and then break whilst the bass continues rumbling away. Gorguts' bass player must be one of the most criminally underrated in all of death metal, and he shows exactly why on this release.
The vocals are the tormented howls that were there on their first album, and not a whole lot has changed on Luc's delivery. He grunts and shrieks his way through each of these songs, adding a great voice to fling the lyrical content out there with. His growls are not the most powerful in the genre but they definitely add a nice characteristic to their sound. The actual song structures here are another reason why it succeeds, diving between really fast riffs and slower dual-guitar parts with ease, such as the more plodding part of With Their Flesh He'll Create. Meanwhile, the guitar solos on this album are found occasionally and also add a neat texture to the music. Gorguts' second album is truly a masterpiece that any death metal fan should consider checking out.
Gorguts' second album is one that most every death metal afficionado has heard, or will hear at some point. It is widely considered a classic of death metal, and following in the footsteps of their American peers, this Canadian group is a band that I have come to respect quite a bit. Although they would reach their true artistic zenith with the third album 'Obscura', 'The Erosion Of Sanity' is a strong album from the band. Albeit not yet having the innovation and mind-boggling direction that Gorguts would become better known for, I would still sake out 'Erosion' as one of the stronger conventional death records I have heard.
Although I would not consider myself a fan of much death metal, I have listened to enough to identify what I consider to be the better, and less glorious aspects of certain bands' sounds within the genre. As an album that came out in the early 90's, Gorguts here has a sound that is easily identified with many other contemporaries from North America; most notably the style's pioneers, Death. While I would say that Gorguts takes a sound of their own entirely on the third album, 'The Erosion Of Sanity' feels like a disciple to mid-era Death, particularly from that band's second album 'Leprosy' up to 'Individual Thought Patterns'. The guitar tones, solos, and even vocalist Luc Lemay's growl are very close to what Death was doing only a few years before. For any death metal fan, this is not necessarily a bad thing- and Gorguts pays an impressive tribute to Death here at that- although it has nothing on the sense of awe that 'Obscura' gave me.
The music is not particularly heavy or technical by today's standards, but there are riffs and sections here that sound as powerful as they ever have. 'Condemned To Obscurity' has one of the best riffs I have ever heard in death metal; an amazing song that is led in by a classical piano introduction, and then erupts with this apocalyptic pinch-harmonic fueled barrage that gives me chills. The riffs are potentially immense here, and there's even some nice bass to be heard here, provided it manages to peak through the mix. Lemay's vocals are strong, although he does sound like a disciple to Chuck Schuldiner here, more than anything. The thing that I am not finding myself too impressed with are the drums, played here by Stephane Provencher. While he certainly knows how to beat a drumkit to death, there are plenty of sections here where he uses blastbeats, and they do not work nearly as well as they should have. The muddy drum mixing does not help matters much either.
While I would not consider myself to be a fan of much that the death metal style offers, I believe that in its conventional form, the early 90s was the best period for the sound, and an album like 'The Erosion Of Sanity' backs up this notion. Gorguts would not break out from under the thumb of Death and other American bands until their third album, and while nothing else that Gorguts has ever done can raise a finger to 'Obscura', 'The Erosion Of Sanity' comes in second place; a fine, classic-sounding record for death metal.
If you read my last review you'll know that I have just recently started really listening to metal again because of some cheap CD's at my local store. Well this (along with Gehenna) is a major part of it. Also like Gehenna I listened to Gorguts several times, and thought it was cool. I liked them, and I'm that big on death metal. So I bought it while it was still on sale knowing I'd regret it if I didn't.
And now here I am. Since listening to this album I've been listening to as much death metal as I can stomach. It was if I was blind to what death metal can do, and Gorguts opened my eyes. Please excuse that horrible cliche, but it does describe it. I always felt death metal was a little pointless. If I wanted some mood music, I'd listen to black metal, and if I wanted to headbang, I'd listen to thrash metal. That and I always saw death metal as pretty stupid, as every band seemed to have a fixation on zombies and just making as much noise as possible. Pardon my ignorance. I've realized that every band is that way, there are a ton of black metal bands that just scream SAAATAAAAANNN!!! And then trem pick for forty minutes. And there are plenty of thrash bands that just say anything really then pinch harmonic for forty minutes. As for when to listen to death metal, it's kind of the middle ground between thrash and black for me. It has a sense of the macabre but is still good to headbang too.
Time to actually talk about the album (go figure): this is an eight track metal masterpiece in not so many words. Each song has something sweet to offer the album. They don't just run together like on a lot of albums. The clean breaks on Condemned to Obscurity and Dormant Misery are nice to get a break from the brutal riffs and solos, making the album that much better to listen to all the way through whch is one of the best features of an album in my opinion.
The overall sound of this album is great old school death metal feel with some moments of all out insanity and others of slower (still pretty fast) riffing. At no point do I get the sense that the band is trying to put as much sound in one second just to sound more metuhl; but they definitely don't hold back either. Great varied drumming (plenty more than double bass and blasts) and the dueling guitar riffs and solos teamed with an audible but not over-zealous bass make for an excellent sound.
The vocals are a huge part for me. I never really got into pig squeals or inhales. This is more my speed. Very raspy growling with at least a bit of comprehendablility. I can't see why anyone who likes harsh vocals wouldn't like the ones on this album. I have nothing else to really say on that side of things. YOU WILL LIKE THE VOCALS.
The lyrics have the classic death metal flavor, but it seems there was some effort to make them interesting, as opposed to just played out descriptions of various ways to get killed. The lyrics are almost like dark fantasy to a degree, as they tell short stories (it seems to me). With Their Flesh, He'll Create seems to be a Frankenstein type story, Odours of Existence is like a person trapped underground rotting and all that is left is his/her stench. So yeah, the lyrics are actually really sweet. Shout out to Lord Worm, I didn't mean to say your lyrics were stupid in my Monotheist review, I barely read any of your'e stuff, I'm sure there is something to it but all I remembered was something about a funeral goat. I was out of line, so I apologize. Either way I shouldn't compare Monotheist's type of lyricism to that type.
Again pardon me. So much stuff I write on a whim that I don't really mean. As I said above, this albums instrumentation is top notch, with plenty of variety and brutality to go around. Lots of riffs WILL get stuck in your head and you'll have to explain to your grandmother whom you are eating dinner with that the music your humming is Gorguts. Ok, this didn't happen. I was humming the opener to the title track but she didn't ask. So yeah the riffs are catchy and worthy of the finest headbanging you have to offer, so save your neck muscles!
I pretty much have to give this a near perfect score as I wouldn't be listening to death metal without it right? That and the fact that the vocals, instrumentation, and lyrics are all awesome, catchy, brutal but not stupid, and technical without being showoffy. The only real minor, tiny, small, scintillating issue I have is the production is a little quiet. Wow thats really minor. I do have to have the volume pretty high to get the full effect. Aside from being really minor, that isn't realy the bands fault is it?
So for being excellent on every level, and for doing me a huge favor, Gorguts' sophmore release gets a well-earned 99 out of 100 or a 5 out of 5
With Their Flesh, He'll Create
The Erosion of Sanity
Orphans of Sickness
Odors of Existence
(notice that I listed 5 out of 8 songs, and the others are good too)
Some will undoubtedly balk at my close comparisons of the Gorguts debut Considered Dead to its painfully obvious Florida influences, in a courageous effort to deflect reality, but I drew those comparisons for a very good reason. When the time came around for the band to produce their sophomore effort, the Quebec band would begin to step out from under such shadows, winding into a terrain all their own. The Erosion of Sanity is a more hungry, powerful effort, than the debut, and the effort paid off with some mildly more memorable songwriting. The band still honors their influences here, but you can start to hear the more shit kicking extremity of upper East Coast acts like Suffocation and Immolation creep into their sound.
The result is a more dynamic and impressive disc, and Gorguts were beginning here to edge beyond some of their more lackluster peers. "With Their Flesh He'll Create" ranges from an explosive cycle of grinding and chugging to a few breakdowns, thick bass flying everywhere. "Condemned to Obscurity" has a manic intro, the low end strumming below the clinical arithmetic of Luc Lemay and Sylvain Marcoux, a lurching juggernaut of body parts that twist into patterns of brutality. Just listen to the complex little guitars woven through the latter half of this song, and tell me that about 11,785 brutal tech death bands of the 21st century are not directly channeling these Canadians, as if by seance. "The Erosion of Sanity" features large, arching grooves; "Orphans of Sickness" a rush of caustic calamity; and "Hideous Infirmity" some of the most condensed, jerking rhythms on the entire album, and a personal favorite here. It would also be remiss not to mention the closer "Dormant Misery", for the beautiful intro of flowing clean guitars transmogrified into pumping, technical pit fuel.
The Erosion of Sanity might not feature Gorguts at their most creative, genre defying level of brilliance (that is yet to come), but it's a damn fine sounding album, one of the better efforts of its type ever fielded in Canada, and one that a lot of later acts owe a huge debt to. I often see this compared to Suffocation's Pierced Within, an album I sadly have never found any love for; and I can't say I get it, this is just a lot catchier to me. Its intensity sprints past the debut, but it does trade off a bit of Considered Dead's dark, subtle atmosphere, which I can live with. Perhaps most importantly, this album is just so much brighter sounding, due to the fact it was produced by a pop/rock guy (Steve Harris) and not Scott Burns. Overall, it's a small step forward, but a step in the proper direction, one step before the band's reconfiguration and Luc Lemay's plummet into an unexpected paradise of exalted paranoia: Obscura.
One of the biggest disappointments that one can possibly have is to buy a CD that is supposed to be great and not like it. "The Erosion of Sanity", however, took it to a whole new level: it is praised by everyone who has bothered to review it, yet it lacks the very elements that make a recording stand out from the rest.
One thing is sure, and it is that this band is extremely technical. They do have a lot of riffs, they do have a creative drummer and they don't show most of the symptoms of bad death metal (like loud-as-fuck bass, nonstop tremolo picking and wall of noise), but this is a rather average album. Creativity falls short sometimes, starting with the riffs: they are sure varied, but most of them are not that great. Actually, excluding the opening riff of the title track and the one that introduces "Condemned to Obscurity", I am pretty sure I didn't like any of them, and the reasons are clear to me: the band overuses rhythm changes, prefers the "brutally disgusting" over the "brutally beautiful" and sometimes even makes use of atonal riffing. The two guitarists are great technically speaking, but they fail to deliver anything that you will remember after not listening to the album for two days. The vocals are another source of problems: Luc Lemay doesn't do his job perfectly in terms of technique, but the biggest letdown is that the vocals are pretty much a growl followed by a scream, which is followed by another growl. The pattern stays the same for the whole album, which is weird for a recording that has variation from beginning to end as its main selling point.
One thing helps the album, though: the bass lines are extremely interesting. Not only the bassist stands out from the rest of the band by refusing to stick to root notes, but also makes the music sound undeniably malevolent. Gorguts was literally trying to do something that was on the line where the bizarre unconscious meets the rational thinking, and unfortunately the bass is the only element to be exactly on that point: it is at the same time audible, consistent and unpredictable. The drums are not your average death metal drums either: the drummer refuses to stick to blast beats (although they are there when needed), preferring instead to deliver a smooth double bass when the focus is on the guitars or on the vocals and then using his creativity with the snare drums and the cymbals when the focus in on him.
There is nothing to complain about in terms of production. The mixing was great, never letting the bass go unnoticeable and never letting the double bass attract too much attention. The production is thick and heavy, but also unbelievably clean, to the point where you don’t miss any details delivered by the guitars. Yes, they are many, and yes, most of them are completely unnecessary, but what matters for the production is that they can be heard. Summarizing, this is not a terrible album that you are supposed to hate, but this isn’t the masterpiece it is often said to be either. I would say that it is unnecessary in your metal collection, but if you like death metal a lot, go and buy it, it will not hurt. It is not the best death metal album of all times and not the best album by Gorguts either, but quite enjoyable if given a chance.
Ahh, Gorguts. The amazing, pioneering Tech-Death metal band from Montreal. You left most of us very confused with your Obscura record, and many more of simply amazed by the sheer amount of versatility mixed in with the brutality of the thick, dissonant chords and riffs.
But enough about Obscura, this is The Erosion of Sanity, and boy, does it ever live up to it's name. From the demonic vocals and crushing riffs of the first track, to the completely insane atonal riffing that coincides with the simply extravagent piano piece of introduction of track 2 (which also reappears in a slightly jumbled up manner, along with the guitars), this really is completely insane music, but not at the same time, completely marvellously technical.
The first thing I'd like to mention is the guitars. There are two guitar players in Gorguts, which opens doors for incredible amounts of technicality and just plain kick-ass riffing. There are very well-balanced solos, which combine a great amount of technicality and beautiful melody, as well as brutally disgusting sounding riffs, and they are just plain awesome.
The drumming of this album is no laughing matter, either. There are few blast beats, which seem to be too common of a factor in todays technical death metal scene (ORIGIN, DECREPIT BIRTH, ETC). Instead, there are very complex rhythms and time signatures to go along with the complexity of the guitars. The drummer might not be a Flo Mounier or Neil Peart, but he is certainly up there.
The production of this album is truly amazing, especially for the time it came out. Completely drenched in bass, but not so much that you cannot understand what the band is doing.
The vocals of this album really stand out as well. They will take some getting used to, but rest assured, they aren't your typical *grunt grunt moan*. They are almost like a mix of John Tardy and Frank Mullen, except a lot raspier. Another great thing, is you can (most of hte time) understand what he's saying, which only makes the music scarier. But that's a good thing, right?
If you disliked Obscura, do NOT let that stop you from picking up this record ASAP. It is truly one of the greatest death metal albums, and certainly deserves more attention than the albums being given high reviews today. Pick this up if you love old school death metal, or technical music in general.
Death metal encompasses the twisted and surreal side of life that no one wants to notice. With the right execution one can find the deepest and darkest through this form of music. Gorguts conceded this partition so that on this album, The Erosion Of Sanity, we’d all be ready to take it in first hand. Demilich further deepened this approach with their own album the same year as this release, but Gorguts made what you can consider (although inaccurately) a more accessible figure.
No doubt, my first listen through was no less than unimpressive: songs weren’t too easy to grasp, the riffs were convoluted, and the journey felt too dense to comprehend. The flow of this album doesn’t die after the first track; nay, the entire album runs like a recon patrol through the uncovered portions of the psyche – thoughts bordering the land of madness. Therefore, it may take sometime getting used to this particular style and course of direction (especially for those who aren’t fans of technical death metal, such as myself). The first spectacle I took pleasure in was the intro involving the final seconds of “With Their Flesh, He’ll Create” and the beginning of “Condemned To Obscurity.” Back to back, these songs are seamless. You’ll undertake an incredibly brooding undertone followed by a most somber of piano passages. This is the point of no return for listeners – it marks the Rubicon between virtue and blasphemy (melody and tension).
Something that always ticks me off is the sound of the toms on the drum kit on many death metal albums. You’ve heard them: very thin, hollow, powerless, and annoying as all hell. Tons of bands have a ferocious drummer that capitalizes on all other portions of the kit, but no amount of technicality, patterns, or rhythmic changes can alter the sound of those pathetic toms. Here it’s not atrocious like on Lykathea Aflame’s Elvenefris, so in actuality it doesn’t really detract too much from the music. It’s just noticeable and I see bands ruin their sound by letting this mistake slide uncorrected. Blast beats are present here, don’t let anyone fool you, but they’re rarely heard. Provencher managed to keep the drums entertaining and just as psychotic as the winding leads, proving more than a match for showmanship.
It’s easy to forget what’s going on in the songs, since Lemay and Marcoux leave no pause for the slow and retarded. Every second they play means that you’ll be on your feet trying to pay attention to every detail – this album requires you to think about the riffs you hear while interpreting the rest of the music, so hopefully you paid attention in school. The guitars sound colossal, though not overwhelming, in their endeavor to create complete madness within that little head of yours. Backing them is both the production and the bass, but I’ll give more props to the latter for actually being present in the mix. Bass playing isn’t plucky like with Atheist, but more gargantuan, crushing, and sounds vastly more evil than anything coming out of the guitars; it’s the true evil hidden within – the unconscious that must be forced into the conscious.
Lemay I don’t find guttural; his growls sound cosmic, agonized, monstrous (in a sense), but focused most importantly. They’re a little monotonous, but he uses them appropriately and in acceptable measures at key moments. They fit extremely well with the music, giving me an overall picture of the cover art – pixel by pixel. When I hear the music on this album, the colors red, orange, yellow, and black all come to mind and form that exact picture – purple only comes in with the aforementioned interlude. All talk of digging through one's head can be perceived in that artwork.
Gorguts played an important role in giving death metal more abnormality, but I feel as though they kind of slipped under the radar in comparison to big named American and Swedish bands. Most have heard their music, but death metal continues to remain a popularity contest like most other genres. Give this one a listen and I’ll guarantee you it’ll something to remember (in your own special way).
Just a heads up, no amount of 99-100% ratings can do this album justice. It needs to be heard, felt, and experienced by every individual who considers themselves a fan of the genre.
With Gorguts' first release we were offered fairly straight forward, classic death metal. A few years later Luc and the gang return to crush our brains with what, in my opinion, is the finest death metal release. From the second I started peeling the shrink wrap off of Seagrave's sickening cover art, to the last note of Dormant Misery, I was completely consumed by the greatness that is The Erosion of Sanity.
This album has so much going on and is very hard to digest on the first listen. After a couple more spins, I began to realize what was going on. In order to explain what I discovered I feel it is best to break the parts up:
1. Vocals: Luc does an amazing job, consistent throughout the album and fits the music perfectly. Nothing more to be desired here. (Not to mention some of the best death metal lyrics in... well... ever.)
2. Guitars: Impeccable. Luc and Sylvan unleash fill your head with the most brutal, yet melodic riffs ever written. This, for me, is the defining feature of the album. Melody, without flamboyancy. Like I said, it may take a few listens to pick up on it, but there is so much musicianship and subtle genius in this album. It's completely insane. One of those CD's that truly gets better with every listen.
3. Bass: Don't even get me started. Get this. A death metal album, with audible bass, and it's perfect. The bass throws a completely different musical idea into the mix and does everything but slam away on root notes. Again, amazing.
4. Drums: No surprises here. Again, perfect. Supplements the rest of the music with incredible skill and precision. No typical blast beat train wreck drum playing here. Incredibly well done.
5. Piano and Acoustic Guitar: Thanks Gorguts. Just as I was about to lose faith in anything that wasn't plugged in you guys came along. At the beginning of "Condemned to Obscurity" you are treated to the best piano playing on any metal album. Not cheesy in the least and fits the tone of the album perfectly. Then at the beginning of "Dormant Misery" listeners are treated to an acoustic duet courtesy of Luc and Sylvan. Beautiful.
Production. Artwork. Songwriting. Musicianship. Lyrics. All perfect. Undoubtedly one of the best death metal, if not metal, if not music, releases of all time. Please pay for this album. I'm telling you, owning this one makes it all the sweeter. Essential.
Ah, technical death metal. While some of it can come across with little heart or emotion, sometimes you find a band who can pull it off with such precision that it puts the genre as a whole to shame. Gorguts have made one such album in "The Erosion of Sanity". I've really loved all of their releases (except for Obscura, a bit too weird for my tastes), so labeling one of their albums as a favorite is a tough decision. But if I were forced to make a choice, I think it'd most certainly be "The Erosion of Sanity".
This album is dense and hard to digest at first. Each song is a brutal uncompromising slab of brutal/technical death metal of the highest caliber. One of the things that sets this release above so many others of the same genre is the compositional ability of one Mr. Luc Lemay. This guy has attended music college and his knowledge of adding classical elements into death metal are subtle and hard to recognize, but they are there on every song. By classical elements, I simply mean insanely technical, free flowing songs which seem to be influenced by European classical composers. Do not think that by classical influences I mean anything related to Yngwie Malmsteen or anything of that nature. Gorguts does not try to emulate Pagnini like Malmsteen does, rather Gorguts implement a more Bach-like presence to their songs : two guitar leads playing insanely technical riffs going completely opposite directions on every song yet complementing each other at the same time.
The drumming is unique and help the songs stay cohesive and the bass is present in the mix which is always a plus. This is important because with this innovative approach to the death metal genre, it would be easy for the songs to lose their meaning. Luckily, Gorguts play their instruments at such a high level that their songs never become boring or repetitive. Luc's vocals are very good : extremely intelligible and with great tone, but still very brutal to complement the music. The songs all follow a similar pattern : they are all heavy as fuck with riffs which would not be out of place on a Suffocation or Immolation album. I don't know though, I almost prefer "The Erosion of Sanity" to anything the aforementioned bands have ever put out, though I must admit there is some stiff competition, especially considering Immolation's latest masterwork. I guess it's the crystal clear production on this album, plus the obscure classical music references within the song structures which set this album apart.
At 8 songs and 36 minutes, that's pretty much the perfect length of a death metal album. So no complaints on length or lack of content. Solos are scattered throughout, and they are very good, extremely technical and well thought out. Another thing worth mentioning is on the second song "Condemned to Obscurity", the piano playing by Luc is some of the best I have ever heard on a death metal album. I really dislike keys in my metal music, but Luc does it perfectly (even better than say, Nocturnus's "The Key" & Pestilence's "Testimony of the Ancients") and as far as I can tell, it is the only song featuring a piano. Oh, one other thing to be sure not to miss is the classical influenced acoustic guitar playing on "Dormant Misery"... it is brilliant. So really, if you're looking for one of the best technical death metal albums ever, this is it : 99%.
After hearing from countless people that this was one of the best death metal albums of all time, I naturally had to find myself a copy as soon as I could. It took me awhile, and after pretty much giving up all hope, I stumbled across it sitting in the country section at Best Buy. How it got there I do not know, but I take it that it was a sign for me to get this album since I hardly go in any other area other than rock/pop. I snagged it, brought it home and put it in my CD player...
During my first few moments with "The Erosion Of Sanity" I instantly knew I had found something very special. As "With Their Flesh, He'll Create" blasted it's way into my mind, I could do nothing more but sit there and listen. Next, what I consider one of the sickest riffs in all of death, "Condemned To Obscurity" came on. I was so shocked at how the overall feel of the song was conveyed, as if Luc was drawing a mental picture for you. Speaking of pictures, if you listen to the title track and look at the album art it seems to make more sense, if not just something cool to look at. This is probably one, if not my favorite album cover art ever. The production is perfect, the bass in the title track and every track of the album sounds nice and springy, almost foreign. Just perfection.
"With visions in vortex that collapse endlessly"...this is what I'm talking about. The writing in this album is genius, perhaps the best writing in death metal next to Chuck Schuldiner's work. It's not all about satan and corpses and being haunted, it's about life and making it sound complex yet fully enjoyable to listen to. I listen to this album two times in a row most of the time, it's just that good. Luc's leads keep things fresh, even though they never get stale in the first place. Marcoux also has some nice leads as well, and the drumming is top notch. Most of the time it's a smooth double bass, no blast beats. The reason there are no blast beats on this album is, well, it doesn't need them because the lyrics and guitars are what is supposed to grab your attention, not the muddy sound of bass. The drums, just like everything else on the album is perfect.
To me, each song is a story. Just like with their previous album "Considered Dead" which is great in it's own right, Luc Lemay does an excellent job of making each song stand on it's own and feel to be telling a small story through lyrics. This is what I get from each song when I listen to Erosion:
1. With Their Flesh He'll Create: A no name being has the ability to re-animate the dead for his own purposes
2. Condemned To Obscurity: Being lost in a realm with nothing in site except fear...not knowing whats going on and just floating through time
3. The Erosion Of Sanity: Obviously someones sanity slowly becoming lost, as he contemplates his own existence
4. Orphans Of Sickness: How abortion and other medical procedures are common place these days, despite how wrong it really is
5. Hideous Infirmity: A person with a facial deformity is forced to look back on how his life was before, realizing atleast he still has his life
6. A Path Beyond Premonition: A way to swap the minds of the dead into fresh human beings to regain information from the past
7. Odors Of Existence: Perhaps after a war, a person is left for dead and becomes one with the Earth. These are views through his soul in it's current state
8. Dormant Misery: Being caught in your dream state, coming close to death experiences, and then waking up to do it all over again
As I've said before, I simply love this album. Anyone who enjoys death metal in any sense should seek out this album now, it's available as a two disc coupled with "Considered Dead" on Roadrunner records, who were the pioneers for death metal in the early 90's. Being as this album went out of print in 1996, I'm very happy they brought it back, seeing as I was much too young back then to appreciate it. So with that said, check it out, you won't be disappointed.
WOW? What's this? Wankery-free technical old school death metal? Damn, unique leader's bands should take notes. Because IT IS POSSIBLE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, TO PLAY TECHNICAL DEATH METAL WITHOUT CONSTANT BORING BLASTURBATION AND NONSTOP TREMOLO PICKING WHICH BECOMES BORING REAL QUICKLY, the pitfalls of modern bands.
This is easily within the top 5 death metal albums of all time. Immolation (dawn of possession) and Suffocation (effigy and pierced) were trailing closely behind, but they never really achieved this level of asskicking. Them, and of course Possessed's "seven churches" belongs up around the best of the best. Anyway onto the album:
Everything about this album is executed flawlessly. Plenty of skullcrushing riffs, subtle melodies that arent flamboyant or bombastic, and perfect musicianship. The riffs go all over the place, there is no boredom here at all, no repititive riffs, no annoying drumming. Infact the drumming is perfect. The riffs all are perfect, all constructed to weave around each other perfectly, none of them sound out of place at all. The vocals are pretty much the same throughout the album, but they fit rather well, this can infact be said of many albums that absolutely dominate (torture squad - pandemonium comes to mind). Anyway, as far as highlights go on this album, its rather difficult to say, as everything on here fucking rules. I suppose the first three tracks are my favorites though, espcially the title track, which is fun to play. However, don't worry, the entire album rules. Condemned to Obscurity is a 10/10 as well, there's a piano piece which actually fits, and the opening riff for this song is excellent, the drumming here really stands out. Did I mention that this album shits all over pretty much anything and everything? Fucking untouchable.
So if you're not familiar with this album, its strongly recommended you get acqainted with it. If you can get your hands on this (ebay is probably the best method of going about getting it) I'd say go for it.. anyone who calls themself a fan of death metal should own this.
Just as I start kicking around the idea of writing a review for this album, Pete beats me to it. Ah, well. BTW, Pete, if you ever read this you don’t have the first track of the album (a shame).
This is one of the greatest death metal albums ever recorded It always winds up in my top 5 albums of all time, and with good reason. Everything on this album is absolutely perfect. The production is great, thick and bassy and powerful and consistent. The drum sound is also perfect, very similar to Amon Amarth’s “Versus the World”. The bass is audible and has an excellent tone to it. The mixing is also superb. In fact, the sound on this album is so thick and heavy it’s almost tangible.
The actual songwriting is stunning. There is so much going on during this album’s short (also a good thing) duration that I often listen to it twice back to back. There are riffs galore here, each song has tons and tons to listen to and although it is daunting at first. All of the riffs are uber technical, with many notes and most are heavily palm muted to give it that extra thick sound. I should mention that this album doesn’t musically dominate you for its entire duration, there are two acoustic breaks. The first occurs in “Condemned to Obscurity”, a beautiful piano piece that is hinted at again later in the song. Although the piano part is nice, the low throbbing noise in the beginning makes that intro what it is. The second acoustic piece is the beginning of “Dormant Misery”, a brooding and well placed guitar piece. Very catchy after a few listens. The rest of the album just rules, as I mentioned before the riffs are top notch, the songs blend together well, Luc Lemay’s vocals are different from Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate. It’s more of a low, drawn out growl. The lyrics all deal with real life horrors, none of that “I’m gonna eat your corpse” nonsense, the songs deal with being blind, insane and deformed. OK, so they are still typical metal stuff, but they are extremely written. The bass is not always audible, but when it is it’s usually playing chords or harmonizing with the guitar. The drummer is superb you’ll find yourself anticipating drum parts as much as you anticipate guitar parts. The drummer can use the double bass with the best of them but he usually chooses to do little triplets and hit the symbols as well.
The cover art for this album is also absolutely fantastic; I’m not really sure what it is but it fits the music perfectly. If this album had a color it would be the red and orange sunset type colors on the painting. Every time I hear the piano bit in the beginning of “Condemned…” I get a mental image of Luc sitting on top of the mound on the cover, playing a monstrous grand piano.
Alright, I could go on for hours so I’ll cut myself off here. This album is so complicated and interesting that it has not gotten old yet, truly this is one of the few reliable albums that you can be guaranteed will not get boring after a few listens. The perfect mix of brutality and fragile beauty make this album a must have at all costs (it isn’t really THAT expensive, you should be able to find one for about 25 if you look hard enough).
There has been talk of RoadRunner records re-releasing during the second part of their Two from the Vaults series with Considered Dead. If this even slightly interests you PLEASE send them an email and tell them. The more potential customers that email them the better the chances of us seeing this classic album get reprinted.