Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gorguts - The Erosion of Sanity (1993)

Some will undoubtedly balk at my close comparisons of the Gorguts debut Considered Dead to its painfully obvious Florida influences, in a courageous effort to deflect reality, but I drew those comparisons for a very good reason. When the time came around for the band to produce their sophomore effort, the Quebec band would begin to step out from under such shadows, winding into a terrain all their own. The Erosion of Sanity is a more hungry, powerful effort, than the debut, and the effort paid off with some mildly more memorable songwriting. The band still honors their influences here, but you can start to hear the more shit kicking extremity of upper East Coast acts like Suffocation and Immolation creep into their sound.

The result is a more dynamic and impressive disc, and Gorguts were beginning here to edge beyond some of their more lackluster peers. "With Their Flesh He'll Create" ranges from an explosive cycle of grinding and chugging to a few breakdowns, thick bass flying everywhere. "Condemned to Obscurity" has a manic intro, the low end strumming below the clinical arithmetic of Luc Lemay and Sylvain Marcoux, a lurching juggernaut of body parts that twist into patterns of brutality. Just listen to the complex little guitars woven through the latter half of this song, and tell me that about 11,785 brutal tech death bands of the 21st century are not directly channeling these Canadians, as if by seance. "The Erosion of Sanity" features large, arching grooves; "Orphans of Sickness" a rush of caustic calamity; and "Hideous Infirmity" some of the most condensed, jerking rhythms on the entire album, and a personal favorite here. It would also be remiss not to mention the closer "Dormant Misery", for the beautiful intro of flowing clean guitars transmogrified into pumping, technical pit fuel.

The Erosion of Sanity might not feature Gorguts at their most creative, genre defying level of brilliance (that is yet to come), but it's a damn fine sounding album, one of the better efforts of its type ever fielded in Canada, and one that a lot of later acts owe a huge debt to. I often see this compared to Suffocation's Pierced Within, an album I sadly have never found any love for; and I can't say I get it, this is just a lot catchier to me. Its intensity sprints past the debut, but it does trade off a bit of Considered Dead's dark, subtle atmosphere, which I can live with. Perhaps most importantly, this album is just so much brighter sounding, due to the fact it was produced by a pop/rock guy (Steve Harris) and not Scott Burns. Overall, it's a small step forward, but a step in the proper direction, one step before the band's reconfiguration and Luc Lemay's plummet into an unexpected paradise of exalted paranoia: Obscura.

Verdict: Win [8.25/10] (limbs of those forgotten)

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