Review Summary: An unforgettable trip that pushes your sanity to its limits, Negativa is a must listen for any fans of the late Gorguts. It's a 20 minute project, 3 song EP, that has the weight of a full album.
Luc Lemay – Guitar and vocals.
Steeve Hurdle – Guitar, lyrics, and vocals.
Miguel Valade – Bass.
Etienne Gallo – Drums.
Negativa, during the time of recording, consisted of the main lineup of the extremely renown technical death metal band Gorguts. The EP was recorded and written by ex-Gorguts members as a continuation of the sound on their last two albums, mainly Obscura. Ironically, the band was formed by Steeve Hurdle as his own experimental band before he left in 1999, and the split-up of Gorguts in 2005. Even more so, Luc Lemay reconvened under Steeve's project to record songs that go hand-in-hand with the late Gorguts sound. This eventually led to the split up of Negativa, as the other band members realized a resurrection of Gorguts made more sense than primarily playing the same music under a different band name.
Biographies and mysteries aside, the three-song EP is an incredible journey that quite surprisingly lasts a little over 20 minutes. Only 1000 copies were printed off, which one should question given the incredible songwriting, but a full length album to support it was written and never released. This reviewer will forever look forward to the day that there is a glimmer of hope of it being released, but since Steeve Hurdle's death in May 2012, it looks like that may never happen. Now, everything else aside, what about the actual music?
The EP starts off with the song Chaos in Motion. There's nothing really to say about it, other than the fact that it's absolutely hypnotic, mesmerizing, and crushing. The main riff to the song is easily the best on the release, and that is an extremely strong statement as this EP is filled with incredible songwriting from start to finish. This review doesn't even need to point out where in the song the riff plays; the listener will easily understand once they hear it. Also, as one should suspect if they've heard Obscura, the song is very eerie, but not even close to the eeriest on the album. An absolute monster of a song, it is easily a full 5 out of 5.
The second track is Taedium Vitae. Clocking in at 9 minutes, 35 seconds; the song does exactly what the listener should expect at that length. Instead of keeping the listener entertained for that entire length, it pummels the listener with the darkest and eeriest song they've probably heard in their life. The early passages of the song maniacally travel along without direction, creating an atmosphere of complete hopelessness. The monstrous mid-section consists of what is probably mankind's closest resemblance to Hell itself, and Luc Lemay roars with its burning passion. After the midsection is a primarily ambient, very reminiscent sound of the early song, and perhaps plays for just a little bit too long. However, it is the unrelenting length of the song that is also its greatest strength. Creating a darker, slower atmosphere in vein of the late Gorguts sound; Taedium Vitae comes highly recommended to not fall asleep to. 5 out of 5.
The third and final track, Rebellion, brings the EP back around full circle. Rebellion is certainly the most intricate and experimental song on the album. It is here where the sound of the Obscura album really makes itself heard. The beginning especially represents a violent chaos of what is likely the bands most focused effort. As the song reaches out to the brink of insanity, it falls back on itself for an extended section of creeping brutality. Something one might expect to hear as they run away from death itself; Rebellion creates a sure reminder here that in this world, you're not safe. It's a very uneasy sound, and once you think you've had enough, the song kicks back into an insanely technical section. A section so (sorry for the lack of a better word) f***ked that your brain may very well just lose any grip of reality and completely shut down. After this intense portion of the song blows over, you find yourself swimming in a desolate sea filled with grim hope and evil; pushing the brink of insanity once again. It is an ambient section that no fan of Gorguts should ever miss - a somehow tragically beautiful whirlwind of harmonics and noise. 5 out of 5 and an incredible end to an incredible EP.
RIP Steeve Hurdle.