1 of 2
2 of 2
Death metal fans are spoiled for choice this fall, between Carcass's long-awaited Surgical Steel (the pioneering British band's first record since 1996) and Colored Sands, the first record from Quebec's Gorguts since 2001's From Wisdom To Hate.
The problem with Gorguts and its only remaining original member/guiding intelligence, Luc Lemay, is that they'll probably never top 1998's game-changing Obscura. That record invested death metal's howling intensity with legitimately avant-garde sensibilities. (Lemay credited himself, pompously, with "artistic direction" on that album.)
On Colored Sands, Lemay seems more interested in musical interplay and dynamics than in re-bottling Obscura's out-there factor. Most songs push well into the seven-minute range, and The Battle Of Chamdo is a straight-up orchestral composition recorded with a string quartet. Taken all together, it's a rousing record fit for serious-minded death metal fans convinced of the genre's capacity to produce art - not just pained expression.
Top track: An Ocean Of Wisdom