Gorguts Live at Allston, MA’s Brighton Music Hall
words and Photos by Ben Stas
Luc Lemay – guitarist, vocalist and primary architect behind the avant-technical death metal project Gorguts – recruited a new lineup for the band’s 20th anniversary in 2009, featuring guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, bassist Colin Marston and drummer Patrice Hamelin. Colored Sands, the 2013 LP which that lineup convened to create, was the rare reunion effort that didn’t register as a cop-out or cash-grab. Like their erstwhile tourmates and fellow extreme metal luminaries in Carcass, Gorguts returned from a decade-plus hiatus with new material that confidently held up among their best. Earlier this year, they proved Sands was no fluke with the release of its follow-up, the ambitious, engrossing Pleiades’ Dust EP. This fall, they’ve taken to the road to support that release on a trek that opened in Boston on October 3rd.
The tour’s openers also leaned toward the experimental and progressive side of the metal spectrum. Chicago trio Brain Tentacles, who recently released a debut LP on Relapse, trafficked in something resembling metallic free jazz. Bruce Lamont’s heavily processed saxophone squawked atop Dave Witte and Aaron Dallison’s tight rhythm section in a set that confounded as often as it transcended. LA’s Intronaut offered a more traditional prog-metal approach that felt both satisfying and much heavier than when I last saw them, opening for Between the Buried and Me alongside Deafheaven (which, in retrospect, was a strange experience for all involved).
As for Gorguts, on record they are a band that sound almost impossibly intricate. Over the course of their original four album run, the band stretched the boundaries of technicality and musicianship. Both Sands and Dust doubled down on that willingness to push the envelope. On stage, they deliver on the promise of those recordings.
Their opening volley of Colored Sands tracks left the room riveted, and the entirety of the multi-part epic that is “Pleiades’ Dust” mesmerized for the mid portion of the set. When it came time for a concluding run of pre-reunion songs (“Inverted,” “Obscura” and “Orphans of Sickness”), the transfixed crowd finally exploded into a pit that consumed most of the floor. Start to finish, every zigzagging riff and dizzying rhythmic turn fell into place along with Lemay’s roars. The band was in sync to a superhuman degree, and it was an impressive feat to witness. Perfectly paced and executed, this set was a testament to the peak of Gorguts’ otherworldly powers.
Gorguts is still on tour. Dates are as follows.
10/14 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
10/15 Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
10/16 Portland, OR @ The Raven
10/19 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
10/20 W. Hollywood, CA @ The Roxy Theatre
10/21 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
10/22 Mesa, AZ @ Club Red Mesa
10/24 Fort Worth, TX @ The Rail Club
10/25 Austin, TX @ Dirty Dog Bar
10/26 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
10/27 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
10/28 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
10/29 Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge
10/30 New York, NY @ (le) poisson rouge