Albums are considered to be classics after a certain amount of time and influence, but while most of them take time to reach that level, others become instant must-haves. One of those is Gorguts’ third album Obscura, which was released 18 years ago today.
If you’re a fan of technical or experimental death metal, you surely own or know about Gorguts 1998 album Obscura which is considered to be one of the most important records of their 27 years of career and in the technical death metal genre. The album was written right after the release of their sophomore record The Erosion of Sanity in 1993, but it took a few years to see the light of day, as the band had recently finished their record deal with Roadrunner and couldn’t find a label interested in the style.
The style of the album was different than the band’s previous releasesm as the Canadians were not interested in writing another traditional death metal album and the genre was losing traction at the time they wrote it. Even by today’s standards Obscura is considered to be one of the most complex and technical records in the genre, due to its unprecedented dissonance and experimentation brought by the band’s late guitarist Steeve Hurdle. While the songwriting was the result of the collective work of all the members of the band, frontman Luc Lemay still attributes a big part of the concept to Hurdle, stating:
Steeve was a very curious, sensible and creative person. He is the one that brought the concept for OBSCURA since he was very much into Osho’s books back then. Guitar wise he always wanted to push the limits further, which he succeeded very well for that. He would always look for new sounds and textures on guitar.
[…]Steeve would bring the theme and we would agree on who is gonna sing where then we would each write our lyrics without showing our ideas one to the other. Then once the song finished, we would put both of our lyrics together and it was like one person wrote the whole thing.
Once the album was released with the help of the now-defunct label Olympic Recordings, its reception was massive and ultimately positive due to its originality and unique approach. Obscura quickly became the direct inspiration for many bands in the genre like Ulcerate, Origin, Brain Drill, Spawn of Possession, Beyond Creation, and the German band Obscura which obviously inspired their name after the record.
This is definitely an album that requires a particular taste for the dissonance and syncopated rhythms, but it is a staple in metal history that should be praised by what it was back then and what it is now. What were your thoughts on this record when it came out? Let us know and enjoy a good hour of its weird music below: