’ debut, Considered Dead
, was a pretty standard but catchy and well written slab of death metal, very much influenced by bands like Death and Carcass
and with plenty of great songs with quality hooks. Why
did I mention that album in a review for this? Because The Erosion of Sanity
completely blows it out of the water, as this was a massive evolution beyond the rather primitive approach of the debut, not to mention far more original and legitemely progressive in its approach. This is definitely one of the best death metal albums I’ve heard overall.
’ death metal, to me, is often a useless tag, because the best death metal band in my mind always have striven to be violent or brutal as a natural byproduct of the songwriting… in the best of bands in the genre. (the worst of course interpret that in the most retarded, hamfisted way possible but that’s a rant for another time) Gorguts
’ sound on this album is certainly based out of the rather percussive songwriting style of NYDM (namely Suffocation
), but where Gorguts
succeed where others fail miserably is due to a couple major elements on here.
For one, the arrangements are some of the most natural one’ll hear in the genre, despite the percussive emphasis. The band know how to put a song together, and they know the meaning of dynamics by building up the songs. For example, in the song “A Path Beyond
Premonition”, at 2:52 the band actually go into a single note chugging breakdown riff, but what separates this from the complete fucking stupidity of something like Bring Me the Horizon
is the fact the band not only keep said breakdown pretty short, but they also throw in an outstand counterpoint melody played by the bass guitar, which keeps it from becoming so easily monotonous.
Secondly, the band often throw in a liberal helping of counter-melodies that complement the (absolutely excellent) riff-work on here, be it an additional flourish or something along those lines, or a counter melody from either the other guitar or the bass. The most obvious example is the breakdown that I mentioned in “A Path
…”, but pretty much EVERY song on here features them to some extent. There’s a level of variety offered on this album that makes it a cut above most so-called ‘brutal’ death, at times this gets pretty damn technical as well (to the point where you could even call this a technical death metal album as well).
For the songs… “With Their Flesh
, He’ll Create” kicks this album off with a fucking bang, with a massive intro bass riff and its lightning quick and confident pace. (there’s no constant blast-fucking on here, thankfully). “Condemned to Obscurity
” sports an incredibly eerie piano intro and some exceptionally tight, powerful riffing. “Orphans of Sickness
” is possibly the most conventionally arranged tune on here, with one of the most instantly memorable choruses in the entire genre. “A Path Beyond
Premonition” is also incredible, for its laudable building up of tension before releasing it in one of the most memorable breakdowns I’ve ever heard. “Domant Misery
” is an incredible closer, sporting an incredibly sorrowful Spanish acoustic guitar (at least I THINK that’s the correct style there, feel free to correct me) intro before exploding into the song proper. Everything else I didn’t mention is also exceptionally well-written and played, of course.
Musicianship is thoroughly excellent on this album. The players are all incredibly tight and precise on here, you’re not getting a sloppy sound, but neither are you getting something clinically boring and sterile. The bass and the drumming especially deserve notice, for the two do a MASSSIVE amount of work in fleshing out these compositions. I can’t say about the original issues production, as I have the Metal
Mind’s remaster. I can say that the production on my copy of the album is absolutely perfect. The guitars have a thick, bass-heavy but well-defined tone, the bass guitar is spring-y and up-front in its attack, and the drums are generally very well recorded and well-placed in the mix (IE, pushed back a bit to let the other instruments breathe). The bass drums unfortunately have that clicky tone to them, but the rest of the kit is so well-recorded that it’s hardly an issue. Luc Lemay’s vocals are a tortured, dry sounding death growl, think Chuck Schuldiner’s vocals on the early Death albums but more ‘tortured’ in approach than anything else. A lot of people don’t like ‘em, but I think of them as massively befitting of these songs.
The Erosion of Sanity
does everything a sophomore effort should do – it was a massive improvement over the fairly strong debut without losing any of the potency or power that tech-death metal often does. At the same time, it deftly avoid the ham-fisted feel of a lot of the ‘brutal’ percussive death metal groups. While Gorguts
would later become known as one of the most groundbreaking and experimental bands of the entire metal genre following this effort, nonetheless they deserve to be commended for being in top form on this album. Outstanding death metal, one of the best in the genre.