Gorguts - Obscura
I soon found a metal album I could enjoy - Bergtatt. Finding a hip-hop album which appealed to me - A Healthy Distrust - was a bit harder, but I eventually got there. And I still listen to and check out examples of both genres regularly. Now, I am aware that, of all genres, metal attracts, to put not to fine a point on it, some of the most anally-retentive, obsessive and geeky categorisation-freaks there are. As a compulsive cataloguer and list-maker, I do not mean that as an insult. But in all honesty, I am pretty much unable to distinguish between brutal death metal and technical black metal or whatever. So I am going to ignore the sub-genres and stick to calling it metal.
When I said I was going to download tracks of Obscura and check out whether I liked it, one acquaintance (who likes the album) suggested that there was little point as all it would do is give me a headache. Others said it is the most brutal (or was it extreme) kind of metal I could find. Having listened to it, put it away and listened to it again, I now know what they mean. I am, at the same time impressed and repulsed; fascinated and appalled; and amazed and sickened.
There can be no doubt that this album represents a pinnacle. Of what I am not entirely sure, but if (as I presume) the (sub-) genre is intended to present spade loads of dense, bass-heavy, fast and opaque music, with lyrics hidden under a vocal production which reduces everything to a deep, almost robotic, ursine growl, then Obscura certainly succeeds. As a technical exercise in virtuosity, I am impressed. On a different level, the how and the why of this are fascinating. Why would someone want to do this? That anyone could set out to, and then complete something like this is quite amazing. Kudos all round - Gorguts have produced an album so unique, so intense that the like of it is unlikely to be repeated without someone rightly yelling rip-off.
But I listen to music to enjoy it. And this I do not enjoy. As a technical exercise it may be excellent, but I find music played simply to be technically good usually lacks the ability to relate to me on an emotional level. And this definitely fails on that account. It is as if the music sets out to be so extreme, so repugnant, that it is intended to deter people from listening to it. And that is what it does. It does not take long before listening to it puts me right off it and the more I listen to it, the less and less I like it, until I finally reach the point that I cannot stand it. But is that not the point of Obscura?
I may alienate a lot of people here, but maybe this is just not for me. I get put off a lot of prog rock because of its self-indulgent virtuosity, well Obscura is the same. Add to that the overall impression of being offensively off-putting and I start to be drawn towards the idea that Gorguts did this just to show how repugnant they could make music. And they succeeded. The only reason I could ever imagine putting this on is to clear a room of people as quickly as possible.
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on 2013-02-11 SolitaryMan Said:
It's all relative. For me, Obscura never came close to meeting the hype I've encountered in metal circles over the years. A perfect summary would be a pile of puzzle pieces that don't fit. There are some truly fantastic moments (and I would bump up the rating just for that), but as a full album, it's a pain in the ass to get through.