Exposé Online banner

Gorguts — Obscura
(Century Media/Magic Arts 9176-2, 1998/2015, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2017-10-05

Obscura Cover art

Obscura was Canadian death metal outfit Gorguts' third album, following several years later on two albums that were children of the Floridian style — Morbid Angel, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, and many others. They were solid entries in the style but had not yet developed a personality of their own, it was still the work of youngsters wearing ratty Death t-shirts and mimicking the first wave of the underground. Death metal at the time was following up on thrash metal and even the most basic of bands had a streak of the progressive in their writing, with numerous stop / start changes and the occasional odd time signature, after all death metal was already one of the most transgressive of genres. But then Gorguts released their third album five years later and brought forth one of this genre's most transgressive albums, perhaps one of the five most inventive albums the genre ever brought out. Because while it had become passé to write complex, intricate and even harmonically rich music in the genre, Gorguts seemed to pull the strings out from deep within the compositions, fusing the style with a lot of slow marching doom and creating an elasticity of tempo and rhythm largely created by the groundbreaking guitar playing. It wasn't just palm muting here, there was tons of string / pitch bending, incorporation of insanely heavy feedback causing the sounds to squeal and moan, muting that would speed up and slow down, lots of play on guitar harmonics and it was all absolutely unrelenting, without any handrails to ease a listener along. Like one subset of the genre the lyrics went away from the Hammer Horror Satanism or shock gore into the realms of spirituality and suffering, perhaps taking an analogous path to Cynic, but without moving away from the anger. It ended up somewhere between the bestial and the sublime and on its way to exhaustion given that it ended up being ten minutes longer than the average release in the genre. To this day I don't think this one's ever been matched, even by the band itself whose leader is still pushing the boundaries that metal can achieve. It is the outer reaches of the extreme.


Filed under: Reissues, 2015 releases, 1998 recordings

Related artist(s): Gorguts

Latest news

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Harmonia 76 - Tracks and Traces – 1976 was a transitional year where Brian Eno changed his context for working with electronics to an ambient perspective. This was due in part to his meeting with synthesizer duo Cluster (Moebius and...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues