I’ll start with a warning. If you are faint of heart or just a prog purist who thinks neo-prog is somehow still groundbreaking music, you probably should skip reading the rest of this review and continue to pretend that the last 20 years of truly creative music has never happened. If you are someone who knows about Gorguts, you can skip the next paragraph or two.
Back in 1998, the French Canadian band Gorguts released the album “Obscura.” Yes the band Obscura is named after that album. The album was so uncompromising and incredibly unsettling, no one really knew what to make of it. It took extreme metal to a new level. Gorguts returned two years after that with “From Wisdom to Hate” which was more tech and less obtuse than its predecessor. The band disbanded.
Band leader Luc Lemay reformed Gorguts in 2008 and finally released the concept album “Colored Sands” in 2011. That album is a complete masterpiece and continued the tradition of pushing the boundaries of what extreme metal could be. After such a great album, I figured that Lemay might fold up the tents and tell everyone to piss off again. Fortunately, he and Gorguts have done just the opposite.
“Pleiades’ Dust” is a 33 minute song/EP that for all intents and purposes is the definitive piece of music that Gorguts has done to this point. To be clear, this is the deep end of the Gorguts pool, kids. If you’ve never listened to the band, the odds of you surviving this track are unlikely to say the very least. “Pleiades’ Dust” does a LOT, from brutal passages to an eerie oasis section in the middle which, while peaceful, is as unsettling as the rest of the track.
The song has 7 movements and it is “a historical narrative about the House of Wisdom, an institution set up in Baghdad after the fall of the Roman Empire and concurrent with Europe’s Dark Ages.” How fucking prog is that? Very. Like anything that Gorguts has done, “Pleiades’ Dust” is a dense piece of work that is both unnerving and captivating at the same time. Even the quiet outro is a difficult pill to swallow but it’s a necessary ending to an incredible work of art.
Once again, Gorguts have raised the bar as to what prog metal and extreme metal is. “Pleiades’ Dust” is filled with the dissonant chord progressions that Gorguts are known for, plus it is quite technical with many time changes and tempo changes. It’s hard to imagine that Gorguts could top anything they have done before but once again they have. My hope is that the world finally catches up to what Gorguts does. This is what a fucking masterpiece sounds like.
I. “Thinker’s Slumber”
II. “Wandering Times”
III. “Within the Rounded Walls”
IV. “Pearls of Translation”
VI. “Stranded Minds on the Shores of Doubt”