Gorguts: Considered dead
07/12/10 || Habakuk
When you read about Gorguts, you mostly get words like “Canada”, “avant-garde”, “technical” or something along those lines thrown at you. Which is obviously no complete bullshit, if you’ve heard “Obscura”, for example. Of course not. Neither is it the whole truth. Take it from a guy whose appreciation for “avant-garde” stops somewhere around Mastodon and to whom “technicality” rhymes with “wankery” despite the difference in syllables. (Nothing wrong aboot Canada.)
Take it from me: “Considered dead” is great, it’s death metal, it’s old school, and you don’t need to attend a seminar about “The pentatonic scale and its meta-implications on Modest Mussorgskij’s Œuvre” to be able to appreciate it.
9. The general thrashing speed reminds me of Pestilence’s “Consuming impulse”.
A prime example of how I came to this comparison is the song “Disincarnated” held against “Out of the body” – but that’s just part of the story. Each song has a pretty varied structure, and holds plenty of occasions for the band to shift gears and lay down the groove – which is the real strength of this album. Assorted choice cuts comprise “Inoculated life” (0:20) with its sluggish triplet riff, the buzzing start into “Disincarnated” obviously, “Stiff and cold” (0:35) or the seamless tempo change in “Drifting remains” at 1:48. All these bits are pretty early in their respective songs, but this is not “Agent Orange” with one thrash break at three quarters of each and every song. Groove is everpresent on this album and returns time and time again, making this an album still interesting after lots of listens.
6. Morrisound, which will already tell you it sounds muted and dated. Atypically though, you will be able to discern the bass guitar at many points in time, which mostly owes to the thinly buzzing guitars and fragile, treble-heavy drum sound. Yep, fragile is the correct word here, just listen to the cardboard snare or the completely “thump”-less bass drums. The whole package works in a weird way, but it could sound so much better. Blood Red Throne, masters of ripping but discernible production jobs, proved it with their cover of “Disincarnated” on their 2007 “Come Death” album – which, by the way, was my gateway to discovering Gorguts.
8.5 Everyone’s heard the story of Luc Lemay having started to play guitar only a year (or something along these lines) prior to “Considered dead” and yes, it’s intriguing – still, “technical”, the riffing cannot be termed without stretching things a bit far, I believe. The foundations for a more technical direction are here, but while the riffs are intricately structured with a lot of movement on those frets and practically no one-note-only bits, the time structures are still rather straightforward and retain a certain simplistic groove – and I actually think that’s a good thing, not exactly being a fan of “technical death metal” in general. Special notice obviously has to go to the 40 seconds acoustic intro and the clean start to “Waste of mortality”, which sound pretty fantastic – who started that shit anyway, playing acoustic interludes on Death Metal albums? Too many bands do it without being able to pull off something as great as “…and then comes lividity”.
8. Raspy, discernible death growls that don’t go cookie monster, but instead keep a bit of van Drunen-esque vermin to them. And you just gotta love those interspersed screams. “Eeeeeeeoowwwwwwrrrr!!!”
8. Yes… Great work at accentuating the guitar work, placing highlights here and there (“Bodily corrupted” comes to mind) and all the while keeping the flow steady mostly by replicating and/or supporting the rhythm guitars. While that doesn’t exactly sound creative or clever to all you sniffy guitarists, Eric Giguere does add something to the table on “Considered dead”, if not songwriting-wise, then at least in terms of giving the sound a solid grounding with fast, perfectly-executed playing. A bass player serving the band in the truest form.
7. A very naturalistic sound on the drums – unheard of in the times of triggers, Pro-Tools and whatnot. One can actually hear when the snare is hit harder than usual. Apart from that, lover of the thrash beat Stephane Provencher is reasonably tight with his snare and his fast double kicks (both of which see a lot of action), but seems almost completely uninterested in using cymbals. Blast beats, too, are a mere stylistic element instead of the basis for his works, but that scores him a bonus point from me. As an overall result, the drumming comes across as more average than it is, despite some cool kick drum use and a general groovy flow to it. However, the skilled, but down-to-earth performance on the drums actually adds to the good ole death metal sound and is another reason while I do not see this as a “technical” album in the sense of the word.
6. All forms of death and related issues like illness, death or dying.
No gor or guts though, thankfully.
6. Not exactly Dan Seagrave’s finest hour. Not exactly the skeleton dude’s finest hour either, about to be devoured from this second bone-heavy thing in the background, eager to incorporate more bones into its ivory self. Or just hang out in the chilly depths of the catacombs.
9. Awesome Batman shaped silhouette with the letters themselves being transparent. No really, I like it.
n/A. I threw it away. No wait. I don’t think my copy came with one in the… err, mail. I should probably go out and get the Metal Mind re-release, although their digipaks tend to suck ass. At least they usually have booklets with liner notes and lyrics.
Overall and ending rant
I respect when bands take a new direction and wander off into new territory – still, not always do I go along, and that’s just fine. So, no offense, but when it comes to Gorguts, all I need is the old stuff. Just like with – you guessed it – Pestilence. And while there are obviously differences in the overall sound, a lot of details in the sound remind me of the Dutch deathers’ fantastic sophomore album on Gorguts’ debut. Go ahead and analyze “Spheres” or drone your brains out to “Obscura” and the likes, I’ll wallow in my love for superb early nineties death metal happily. And that’s exactly what can be found on “Considered dead”, but with a small twist to set it apart from the heaps of similar bands from the era. Underrated but highly recommended.
- Released: 1991
- Label: Roadrunner
- Website: www.gorguts.com
- Luc Lemay: vocals, guitars
- Sylvain Marcoux: guitars
- Asshat 3: guitars
- Eric Giguere: bass
- Stephane Provencher: drums
- 01. …and then comes lividity
- 02. Stiff and cold
- 03. Disincarnated
- 04. Considered dead
- 05. Rottenatomy
- 06. Bodily corrupted
- 07. Waste of mortality
- 08. Drifting remains
- 09. Hematological allergy
- 10. Inoculated life