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Gorguts - Obscura
Review: Taking metal's exploration of chaos toward a further point of existence than it has previously occupied requires a breakdown of basic song construction into something which distinguishes itself from the layers of complexity of the same essential idea, over which different degrees of embellishment normally achieve little more than an aesthetic progressivism.
Gorguts have refined the metal art of songwriting along the axis of melody in a plausible interpretation of post-black metal underground musicology and have, in order to reveal the face of the schizophrenic reality lyrically described as a balance between peaceful harmony of dissonant elements and calming disharmony of like elements, embedded their sinuous virus of melody in towering structures of variation encompassing the extremities of metal hereto known and styles from other genres within a package presenting the metal vision in a clarity never before achieved: a chaotic universe in which structures find a similarity independent of immediate categorization by demonstrating similarity in informational content and its relevance to the core of each system, a simple ruleset based upon a fractal arising from an elemental opposition.
High speed counterpoint baffling chord structures buttressed by recursion, tonal centering through droning cyclic melted sound emergence, ragged fugues of dissonant melodies converging toward oblivion, tempos shifting through the elements of one another into each other, cyclic two-hit metal percussive structures and free-form progressive harmonic jamming are packed into these songs as overhead to the essence of each, which no matter how aesthetically different it appears at first listen reveals itself as fundamental Gorguts when the emergent melody encoded within begins to find form in the various aspects of its decomposition showcased by differentiation structures creating a vast tonal motion in their evolutionary journey from the point of chaos to clarity. The same voice that crafted the strength within the sturdy structures of death metal on two previous albums speaks through the chaos on this release with a newfound power in its ability to fuse what to most will seem like a salad of riffs juxtaposed for their difference rather than similarity.
Throughout the album the use of dissonance and difference is profound; at any given point, one or more instruments is probably working through something jarringly contrapuntal to what preceded it, whether rhythmic or harmonic or both. Riffs will repattern themselves from the other end of their tonal spectrum while drumbeats will collapse inward to pull forth their own nemesis and reintegrate it toward the shifting collection of dominant patterns through which each song moves to a conclusion. As always, tasteful use of open chords and harmonic complexity in non-standard chords allows the painter a wider range of color upon which to set the rigors of line; a richness of tone provides a space for melodies to motion tonal points through a twisting set of harmonic boundaries which resemble DNA more than any other music seen before in this genre. And over all of it the husk of a hoarse roar that is Luc Lemay's lead vocal shudders with eerie precision despite the quicksand of rhythm and phrase over which it moves.
Every instrument is played to an extreme of technicality not found in the perfection of each fretted note, but in the ability to weave complexity out of any element of all elements at any given moment in the song, with an aplomb for varied technique and subtlety. Composition is amazing; this album takes the promise of Morbid Angel's Blessed Are the Sick and combines it with the chaotic multiplexing first gestured at by music like Suffocation or Deeds of Flesh, unifying it along a melodic evolutionary language straight out of the innovators of classical or harmolodic jazz, having learned from the nihilistic reliance on the dynamic relationships of notes innovated by wildcat geniuses like Burzum or Darkthrone. Furthermore behind all of what is created lies a profound understanding of the nature of darkness in the universe, from chaos to mortality and beyond, in an unflinching eye which can see the fusion of destruction and harmony in one and the same; the melodies that are simultaneously harsh and spiritually uplifting in their complexity, gentleness and relevance create their own will to freedom in the listener's mind. While to the ear trained in current music this may seem on the edge of unlistenable, to those with an aural line to the future this is the pure beauty of open potential waiting to explode.