Review – Gorguts: Pleiades’ Dust

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  • Bio: "From their early days as part of death metal's first wave, through their transformation into one of most progressive and influential bands in extreme metal, GORGUTS has been impervious to trends, and a vehicle to expand and redefine the language of extreme metal." - Bandcamp
  • Label: Season of Mist
  • Release Date: May 13th, 2016
  • Genre: Avant-Garde Death Metal, Technical Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Easily one of the most important figure heads in the death metal realm, Gorguts contributed heavily to the influence of a number of bands over the year, not to mention the success of the genre as a whole. The impact, of course, wasn’t exactly felt immediately when Considered Dead (now a collector’s wet dream of owning a complete copy of) and The Erosion of Sanity initially dropped. It wouldn’t be until Century Media picked the Canadian act up to release Obscura in 1998 that they would start their rise to death metal glory before disbanding briefly in 2005. 2008 saw them return with full force, but it wouldn’t be until 2013’s The Colored Sands that fans would get something new. Fast forward to 2016 and the beast awakens once more with a brand new one song thirty-three minute EP titled Pleiades’ Dust. But is it one worth taking the trip with, or is it nothing more than a collection of songs loosely connected like so many extensive track efforts that came before it?

There is a good deal of care put into the making of Pleiades’ Dust, though it does depart a bit from the group’s norm. The rougher nature of the audio gives off a sandblasted effect that doesn’t wear the deeper tones down at all. If anything it encapsulates The Mad Arab’s deserted worlds nicely, captivating the listener with gloomy, foreboding environments of mysticism and wonder, though not right away. Shortly after a brief ambient introduction, the listener is cast into a relatively technical world of raw death aggression that sounds like someone took the guitars from an Atheist album and slowed them down in certain spots. Some chords early on even seem to dangle alarmingly close to the mathcore world, which doesn’t really hinder the impact at all given the abrupt timing changes and variances in speed throughout the performance itself a few minutes later, eventually dropping that highly complex route to incorporate a doom metal vibe to the mix.

Come about eighteen minutes in, we go from a combination of Atheist and Death to a large chunk of noise that is genuinely unsettling, like finding yourself lost in a series of winding catacombs with the sensation of something lurking not too far behind you. It does its job well of giving the band a break, but there’s no denying that it does feel like a separation of songs, similar as they may be. By the twenty-two minute mark, we’re met with a gloomy doom metal presence in the vein of My Dying Bride, flowing smoothly in the most aquatic of manners to attempt drowning the listener over the next two minutes before brutalizing you once more with the eccentric guitars from earlier above a blistering double bass kick background that shows off the dexterity of the group in what is the most dynamic aspect of this just over a half-an-hour creation.

While there are two hefty bits of noise/ambience as separation, it’s the second that clearly marks the break that could have just as easily been its own song on the b-side of a cassette or vinyl pressing instead of being lumped in as one extensive composition to try to create “another groundbreaking piece of music” as the press release proclaims it to be, especially since that last eight minutes can easily stand on its own as a separate creation that greatly dwarfs the first eighteen. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s well worth applauding Gorguts for trying something new and managing to keep the atmosphere they establish early on alive through the entire thirty-three minute effort, and the music between the gaps does move along without many disturbances while the group rummages through technical, progressive, and even mathcore realms to expand on their sound. Even the bouts of ancient Egyptian themes through much of the effort (particularly towards the closing) and ritualistic sensations here and there are top notch.

GorgutsBut, the bottom line is that Pleiades’ Dust still falls prey to the typical “It’s one song that makes up an entire album or EP!” pitfalls due to how the continuity for the sake of making one offering just comes off forced, as is proven when the pacing just stops for about two minutes and breaks the emersion entirely. This is the biggest downfall of them all, sadly, as being engrossed is basically the whole point of an adventurous release like this. Even the slightest disturbance can pull the listener out during the first spin, which is what we get here. The impact is there, you know what lies ahead, and on future spins you become distracted while waiting for that random dislocation of noise, leaving you to anticipate hitting that one point instead of the stunning conclusion to an otherwise kick ass performance.


Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records.