Released: 1998, Olympic Recordings
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Forget everything you think you know about extreme death metal! Gorguts has returned! This album is so fucking insane, technical, amazing, and unbelievable! This is the craziest, most extreme album I have ever heard! Forget black metal, this is the real thing!
Considered Dead was a death metal classic. The Erosion of Sanity, also a classic, hinted at the technical side of things. But after years of writing and preparation, along with label problems and lineup changes, Gorguts are back with a vengeance! Obscura features only Luc Lemay (vocalist/guitarist) from the previous lineup, which dissolved after their second album. But the new guitarist, drummer, and bassist have been in the Gorguts camp ever since and have had plenty of time to get comfortable. And although I miss the lineup of old, the new members are more than capable of taking over.
Obscura comprises twelve songs of utter brutality, technicality, and insanity. The guitar work is very, very strange. Not your typical death metal riffage. I don't think you'll ever see transcriptions of this stuff! The bass guitar work is outstanding, both for its awkwardness and talent, and also because of the fact that you can actually hear it. The drumming is absolutely nuts, complete with blast beats and lots of jazz influences. And the vocals are exhausting, distressing, and disturbing. Combine all of this and you have one chaotic masterpiece! Every song is jam-packed with a multitude of riffs and emotions, abrupt changes in tempo, and strange lyrics. At first listen you will think "what in the hell is going on!?" Believe me, it will take at least twenty listens before you start to figure this album out. This album is totally inaccessible and will probably go over most people's heads, but you technical death freaks will surely drown yourselves in drool over this album!
The title track, "Obscura", opens the disc. You had better be sitting down and paying attention when this song bursts open! After ten seconds I bet you'll hit the track button to skip back to the beginning again, because what you'll hear is just so over the top that you'll think "Whoooaaa! Let's try that again!" Luc plays a little viola in "Earthly Love" which adds a nice touch to the insanity. "The Carnal State" is just strange…very unorthodox riffing. "Nostalgia" is a slower, plodding, down-tuned-to-hell song that contains some great melodies. This track is very haunting. "The Art of Sombre Ecstasy" has some killer double bass rhythms. "Clouded" is by far the slowest track on the album…I guess you could call this a technical doom metal song! Great song, but it does go on for a little too long. And if you fall asleep during this song, "Subtle Body" will surely kick your ass awake! "Faceless Ones" careens into your skull like a jackhammer on full throttle with its intense blast beat driven intro, but slows down a bit with some very intimidating grooves. The last track, "Sweet Silence", is an instrumental that has some fine clean guitar now and then, some great bass guitar, and double bass drumming.
Goddamn! This is technical death at its best. Obscura is very unique and original. And thanks to Pierre Remillard for a superior production that brings out the best in every instrument! I hope it's not another five years before the next album!