It seems like the number of metal fans that followed the progression of liking traditional heavy metal, to thrash, to death metal is dwindling, and instead are replaced by legions of fans who started with other, more extreme styles of metal. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but as I listen to Gorguts’ “Colored Sands”, and see the opinions of many others, it is clear that I’m just out of touch with a considerable portion of the metal world. The reason why “Considered Dead” is, and will always be Gorguts’ best record is because it brings an unearthly amount of headbangable riffs. “Obscura” showed the band taking a different path towards far more technical and progressive boundaries, which is a theme that is only continued on “Colored Sands”.
“Colored Sands” opens with “Le Toit du Monde”, and nearly the entire sound of the album is immediately revealed on this one song. There are lengthy, swirling melodies that float over top of Luc Lemay’s still brutal vocals. These sounds dominate the majority of the record and are my biggest issue with it. The songs are completely directionless. They go on and on, without any semblance of attention to songwriting. There’s not a moment on this record is easy to recall. When you combine this frenzy of confusion with a playing time of 62 minutes, it sort of leaves you scratching your head. Why release this much music when all of it is so difficult to get into? It’s complete overkill, and makes the record more unappealing.
At this point, I’m definitely being a bit harsh on “Colored Sands”. The second song, “An Ocean of Wisdom”, immediately reveals the best part of the album: pure Immolation worship. When there are riffs, they are heavy, dissonant, and complex. These riffs alone are worth the price of admission, and aside from the aforementioned opener, as well as the exotically influenced interlude, “The Battle of Chamdo”, they are present on every track. In general, they tend to make use of chords and intervals that provide an uneasy feeling as those notes wait to be resolved (but ultimately aren't).
It should be mentioned that “Colored Sands” is not a bad album. It is clear that this record is worlds apart from 4th or 5th tier albums from other genres. Unfortunately, it is somewhat in opposition to my tastes. It's still good enough for me to enjoy and listen to, but it just meanders around too much to get consistent rotation in my playlist. Nevertheless, all fans of metal should hear this album simply because it is a unique release in the metal world.
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"An Ocean of Wisdom"
3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott