Review Summary: Mortal fool… Mutilated...
With the release of 1998’s Obscura
, Gorguts rightfully took their place as one of death metal’s most interesting and important forces. This powerhouse of a record shook the foundations of technical and experimental death, taking the jazz inspired compositions of Atheist and Cynic and pushing them to their most dissonant and jarring forms. Inspiring a multitude of legendary acts (and even more horrible rip-offs), the group cemented themselves as a cornerstone band in off-kilter extremity. Yet, before this, the band was in a bit of a tight spot. After the release of Considered Dead
, the band worked on creating an album that worked in both the crushing force of their previous work and the forward thinking songwriting bands like Death, Pestilence, Jumpin’ Jesus, and Nocturnus were also flirting with. As a result, this large step towards more challenging music, titled Erosion of Sanity
, was released, taking very obvious influences from Suffocation’s early works, especially Effigy of the Forgotten
Erosion of Sanity
finds the members of Gorguts retooling the adrenaline pumping sound of their first album, attempting to join together said raw, unrelenting sound with a more elaborate and precise song writing. The sound featured here is leaner and faster than Considered Dead
, yet not as cyclical and discordant as Obscura
and proceeding releases. Rather, it progresses from one violent composition to the next, with impeccable accuracy and nimbleness. Released in 1993, this was among the first breeds of technical death metal, without sacrificing the meaty style that makes the genre so cathartic. Auditory onslaughts like “A Path Beyond Premonition,” and the title track show this dedication to taking the bests of both brutality and complexity. Much of this brawn comes from the bass, with its gargantuan tone and thick, prevalent sequences of unsettling ambiance. Working well in tandem with the bass, the percussion is prominent and energetic. These drum patterns are also surprisingly complex, helping to further the goal of a more thought-out and more resounding take on the genre’s deeply rooted conventions. These elements serve as context to the two guitarists, who use their murky six strings to craft blood pumping and agile criffs that are just as surreal and inventive as they are hard-hitting.
The ideas that Gorguts fleshed out here were, at the time, amazingly fresh and poignant. Even to this day, it's hard to deny how truly important this release is, an early foray into a sub-genre in its infancy. Even on its own, this album is just as effective today as it was when it first came out. Every element is used to evoke a strong sense of uneasy violence, giving the compositions an extreme abrasiveness and distress. Its controlled and harnessed technicality effortlessly bodes with its unleashed vigor and aggressive nature, which can be found in spades on cuts like “Hideous Infirmity” and “Condemned to Obscurity.” The band expertly planned out each verse, each breakdown, and each lead riff to establish constant flows of macabre. It's an extraordinarily natural evolution of 1993’s death metal sound, no doubt. Despite its initial poor treatment by Roadrunner Records and initial lack of a cult fan base, there is no denying how important this album is for both the evolution of Gorguts and the evolution of tech death.