Review Summary: Gorguts once again set the bar exceedingly high, and produce a masterpiece of modern death metal.
From the unorthodox opening riff of ‘Inverted’, you may be forgiven for expecting another Obscura
. In a way only Gorguts know how, the albums opener simultaneously makes you nod your head and think ‘what the hell is that?’. Indeed, From Wisdom To Hate
features plenty of riffing obscurities, though there is much less of a feeling of outright experimentation, rather a mature product of their barrier-breaking efforts. Essentially, this release is a culmination of these Canadians past works, finding them at the top of their game.
Although it is fair to credit all current and previous members of Gorguts’ almost rotating line-up, it is clearly the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist Luc Lemay. One of the most important figures in death metal over the past 15 years, it’s Lemay’s penchant for unusual riffs and complex yet digestible compositions that earns Gorguts their rightful praise. Featured is Lemay’s full arsenal of riffs, along with a few well-placed solos here and there, provided in part by new recruit Dan Mongrain. Perhaps a little more rhythmically driven than previous efforts, From Wisdom To Hate
works from a mid-paced foundation, punctuated by both blasts and slower, crushing riffs. Helping greatly with the fluidity of this style is the fantastic drumming of Steve MacDonald, who sadly committed suicide shortly after this release, having battled depression for years.
While still retaining the expansive tonal palette and diversity of riffs found on Obscura
, here it’s generally more aggressive; melding the avant-garde with pummelling tradition. Though ‘avant-garde’ and ‘progressive’ can sometimes be synonymous with long-winded and unnecessarily technical, these compositions unfold very naturally, without any filler. The whole is worth far greater than any meandering ego inspired wankery.
The key theme about this album seems to be refinement, but thankfully Gorguts keep their raw and unadulterated production values. That’s not to say that this is of demo quality or poorly produced, in fact quite the opposite; the recording is very natural, with a mix clear enough to hear all the intricacies of each instrument, while still sounding punishing when it needs to be. Lemay’s crazed screams work exceedingly well with this overall sound (no need for a master of gutturals), which serve as the cherry on top of one of the strongest groups in death metal.
It’s hard to really call Gorguts anything but confident throughout their whole career; they seemed just as comfortable with their more old-school sound on Considered Dead
and The Erosion of Sanity
, as they did with their jaw-dropping oddity Obscura
, but here they just seem to have perfected their style, and effortlessly crafted a masterpiece. Few albums are this fully realised, or executed this well. Gorguts have firmly cemented themselves as leaders of modern death metal, no matter how long it is between albums.