PICK OF THE WEEK: Gorguts push expectations, fire up historical plot points on EP ‘Pleiades’ Dust’

Photo by Jimmy Hubbard

It seems silly, redundant even, to shower death metal giants Gorguts as deep thinkers and extreme innovators. That’s obvious. The trail they have blazed before the rest of the world has been met with adulation, wonder, and respect, and they’ve become one of the go-to bands when we seek out something that not only chews at our intestinal walls but also broadens our minds.

It’s not like this band needs to keep innovating and going above and beyond to extend their legend, but here they go anyway. Three years after their amazing album “Colored Sands” arrived, once again shifting the plane of death metal as we know it, they return with arguably the most ambitious project to date: 33-minute, single-song mini-effort “Pleiades’ Dust.” Yes, I know we’re talking the same band that carved permanent new tracks in death’s terrain with albums such as “Obscura,” but this is next level even for this band. It’s an album that, on the surface, sounds like a challenge to tackle in one giant bite due to its length. But don’t let that intimidate you. Every visit I’ve had has been fluid and immediate, almost as if the song is half its length.

Gorguts coverOn top of the music limits they push, they also grab onto bigger ideas thematically, that being telling the tale of the House of Wisdom, a major intelligence center located in Baghdad that rose up sometime in the 8th century and lasted until the Mongol invasion in 1258, when it and all of its rich content were destroyed. When it was in operation, scholars of many faiths used the place and its resources to make advancements in math, science, and astronomy, and its fall leveled a serious blow to Arab and world science. That’s a rudimentary summary, and of course, you should read more on your own, but the band—guitarist/vocalist Luc Lemay, guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Dysrhythmia, Sabbath Assembly, Vaura), bassist Colin Marston (Behold … the Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Krallice), drummer Patrice Hamelin (Beneath the Massacre)—manages to take this idea, pay homage to its existence, and also, hopefully, extend the intelligence center of death metal and what is truly capable with this style of music.

As expected from a 32:58-long quest of a song, there are a ton of peaks and valleys throughout the adventure. It starts with strange noises emanating, drubbing rising, and weird and dizzying guitar work that unleashes, with Lemay’s animalistic growls crushing. Punishment arrives, with bizarre sequences twisting into the song, guttural fury coming out of that, and serene, mystical melodies flooding the senses. A chilling segment arrives that makes it feel like gazing into the night sky, identifying stars, but then the rumbling bursts anew, with the band taking a neck-jerk twist down a proggy bend, which they revisit many times. Introspection is around the next bend, meeting face to face with gargantuan growls and playing, shedding blood before the next spacey ambiance settles in and gives you a chance to explore in peace, at least momentarily. Slow-driving power takes over, as rubbery bass work leaves bruises, and a full-on assault gains steam. The guitars challenge even harder, if that can be believed, with the basslines seeking answers, and a total eruption filling the room with fire. This sets the stage for the final jolts of energy, with the band pouring everything they have to create an explosion you can see from distant planets, before everything melts away into the cosmos.

Gorguts remain the standard when it comes to challenging, cerebral death metal, and “Pleiades’ Dust” only solidified this thinking. They’re a band that stands out among others, and they continue to build a resume that is unlike anyone else’s. This adventure not only should expose you to subject matter not everyone knows about, but it again could redefine what you think about when weighing what’s possible from death and all extreme forms of metal.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/GorgutsOfficial

To buy the album (North America), go here: http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Or here (International): http://shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

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