Unlike the sterile production job of predecessor From Wisdom to Hate, Coloured Sands boasts a thick, dense atmosphere akin to the monolithic black cloud of Obscura. Like Obscura, guitarist/vocalist/principal songwriter Luc Lemay seems more interested in exploring dark musical landscapes through classically constructed movements instead of writing the year’s fastest, bludgeoning generic metal.
Each song contains a multitude of moods and surprises. Whether it’s the chamber music of “The Battle of Chamdo” or the tranquil interlude leading one to be swallowed by brutality in “An Ocean of Wisdom,” Gorguts keeps things interesting through their avant-garde songwriting skills.
What separates Coloured Sands from the (sometimes overly) progressive metal scene is that, while Gorguts certainly do not mind showing their chops, they write music that is intelligible to a listener without any classical background. Many bands content themselves with fitting as many time signature changes and polyrhythms into a song, but, at the end of the album, their technique overshadows actual songwriting skills. This is not the case with Gorguts, as they write technical music, but music that sticks with the listener instead of flashing by in an incomprehensible mess of too many lofty ideas pieced together.
Challenging? Oui. But there is no other album like Coloured Sands, save for its inception piece Obscura.