GorgutsHow do you follow an album like Colored Sands? That perfect comeback album, following 12 years away from the studio, was their career pinnacle so where do they go from here? Well, here’s proof that the answer is to cling to their own coat-tails and hang on for dear life.

Pleiades’ Dust is lyrically and conceptually based on the destroyed mediaeval library of Baghdad and describes the terrible loss of scientific discovery in many fields of learning that was housed within. It extends to 33 minutes of atmospheric meanderings crushed into the spaces between the dark gnarled roots of technical death metal. Complex and convincing, to this metalhead it feels almost physical in presence. Its dips and crescendos are palpable. They hang in the air like gelatinous touchpoints, oozing with life.

Initial dramatic reverb bounces around echoing chambers before trickling its way onto the canvas. When it hits, the wall of drum and bass thunder simply smashes a hole right through it. Tugged along, as if on a chain, comes the brutalising inhuman roar of Luc Lemay and before you’ve noticed this single-track behemoth has begun the inexorable consumption of your soul.

Gorguts have been careful here to keep the central thread of the music locked into position which allows for the extraneous edges to expand and collapse, to career wildly from pillar to post, to dissolve into thin air and be plucked back out from nowhere. Fiendish in design, this conjuror’s magic trick is coaxed gently into life by the most talented heavy collective. To keep things so tight and focussed and yet elegantly organic takes skill beyond comprehension.

And yet, there are moments when the thrill of the chase wanes and the immensity of the power the players wield becomes overbearing on the listener. At times, its the overzealous jazzy elements that lurk beneath, at others its the unyielding crush as the band applies the full pressure of double-kick and electric violence to the piece.

Despite this, there are moments where either the hairs on the back of your neck or your hackles will raise. At the half way point, the listener is immersed inside the subsonic creaking bones and cavernous belly of the beast and it is an absolute thrill. At 24 minutes, the progressive hammering finger runs and slow chugs ready your senses for nothing less than impending war.

Pleiades’ Dust is a jaw-dropping experience. It’s probably the most absorbing piece of music I’ve heard since The Ocean sunk us into the expanding depths of their Pelagial. Sure its not faultless, but like the aforementioned band, Gorguts are surfing high upon the wave of their career highlight and riding it as kings.

(7.5/10 John Skibeat)