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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.