October 14, 2009


First things first. This record was described to me as the Trout Mask Replica of Death Metal. If that doesn't grab you don't even bother with this record. It's hard. All around; the riffs and vocals are hard and the album as a whole is hard to listen to. Really, like 2 bottles of cough syrup hard. It took a while for me to really like this record. When I first heard it I had a feeling I would grow to love it, but I had no idea where, when or how.

So here the skinny. Gorguts put out their debut record, Considered Dead, on Roadrunner in 1991, right as labels are scooping up any death/black metal bands they can get their hands on thanks to the buzz generated by Norway's Black Circle bands and it's surrounding controversy. I've never heard this record and am not really planning on going out of my way to because I already know what 91/92 North American Death Metal sounds like (see Deicide's Deicide and Legion albums). The next outing from Gorguts, Erosion Of Sanity '93, seems offers a little more substance, but is still, if you ask me, tethered by the restraints of a genre. One that was on it's way out of style, at least according to Roadrunner records who dropped them in 1993, causing the band to pretty much break up.

Then in 1998, out of nowhere, vocalist Luc Lemay recruited guitarist Steeve (yes, with two 'e's) Hurdle, bassist Steve (with one 'e') Cloutier and drummer Patrick Robert and reformed Gorguts, making himself the only returning member. The album that Lemay, Hurdle and Cloutier wrote (pretty much) together, Obscura, would redefine the Metal genre by removing all expectations of what metal should sound like, both in writing and production.

This is one of those weird records that definitely is part of a genre but refuses to play by it's rules. The dissonant cacophony contained within these 60 minutes and 25 seconds can feel sort of repetitive and monotonous on first listen, but once you get a grasp on what is going on here you can really start to enjoy the almost free-jazz complexity in how this record is put together. Just listen to the guitar at the halfway point in 'Sweet Silence' and try tell me that isn't jazz, some H.R. Giger version of jazz. It's rare in the metal genre to find a record that is heavy, yet smart and kind of silly at the same time (see the Melvins for more examples); there is no way the vocals in 'Carnal State' are to be delivered straight faced. This is a record that needs to be swallowed and digested for a long time. I recommend letting it sit in your belly until it comes bursting out of your chest.

It's now 10 years after it's release and this record still sounds like it was recorded 5 years from now.

It appears that Olympic Recordings, who released this CD originally, was threatened with litigation by the United State Olympic Comittee (USOC) and therefore closed their doors completely, effectively making e-bay or MP3s the only chance to grab this record.

Download and Enjoy!

Track listing:
from CD:
1. Obscura
2. Earthly Love
3. The Carnal State
4. Nostalgia
5. The Art Of Sombre Ecstasy
6. Clouded
7. Subtle Body
8. Rapturous Grief
9. La Vie Est Prélude...
10. Illuminatus
11. Faceless Ones
12. Sweet Silence

Link remove by request of some douche in a suit

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