Canada's prog metal titans preview their mindblowing new EP

Instinctive square pegs in a world full of timid conformists, Gorguts have been subverting the death metal blueprint for decades now.

The Canadians’ intuitive originality has exerted a massive influence over generations of adventurous extremists, but there are still precious few bands that dare to plunge as gleefully into the avant-garde as Luc Lemay’s virtuoso brutes do on this sneak preview of forthcoming new EP Pleaides’ Dust, which comes out on May 13 via Season Of Mist. A 30-minute concept piece focusing on the ‘House Of Wisdom’, an ancient library in Baghdad that was once the epicentre of countless transformative scientific discoveries, the follow-up to 2013’s Colored Sands album takes Gorguts’ churning intensity and fearless disregard for convention into ever more dense, profound and challenging territory.

“As Pleiades’ Dust consists out of a single long narrative composition, it was not written with the intention of being edited in segments,” says band mastermind, Luc Lemay. “As the storyline proceeds in chapters, though, I was able to isolated this part called Wandering Times, which will give the listener a good idea of the composition aesthetics which are present throughout the whole piece. The lyrics tell the story of the ‘House of Wisdom’, which is referring to a library that was based in Baghdad sometime between the 8th and the 13th century. There much of the intellectual activity of the Middle Age took place while Europe was stuck in the Dark ages after the fall of Rome. Many scientific discoveries were made at the time such as algebra, optics, astronomy and many more… Without the translation movement that brought this library to life, we would have never had the Renaissance that we know. It is a story about curiosity, beautiful minds and sadly, about how man destroys great discoveries and achievements.”

Cover artist Zbigniew M. Bielak adds: “ As a child I was fascinated by the Middle East. My uncle used to work on civil engineering contracts in Libya and Iraq, so we kept receiving exotic, mosque-graced postcards throughout the otherwise lacklustre 80s behind the Iron Curtain. I have a genuine affection towards the region’s architecture, climate and aesthetics, therefore it was a pleasure to illustrate Luc Lemay’s new concept album, which is a tribute to the scientific heritage of the Islamic Golden Age. Although the pun of the album title was not intended – as much as NASA supercomputer Pleiades today, Baghdad’s Bayt al-Hikma – The House of Wisdom, epitomised the Middle East’s scientific sophistication. Boasting the largest library of the medieval world, this vibrant multicultural research and educational centre, drew in learned scholars including those of Jewish, Christian or Buddhist origin to translate, preserve and further develop important works of scholarship from across Europe and the Middle East whilst the Occident regressed into Dark Ages. Spanning from the 8th century of our calendar to its symbolic ending with Genghis Khan’s grandson’s bloody Siege of Baghdad in 1258, resulting in obliteration of the House of Wisdom, The Golden Age of Islam left the world much indebted also to its numerous original contributions in diverse fields. From astronomy and medicine, to humanities and mathematics, Islam’s heritage helped pave the way for the rise of the West to its present prominence. The mindbending intricacy of Gorguts’ aural landscapes portrayed in this single, over 30-minute-long piece of almost classically structured music, lends an aptly dramatic narrative to the story of a leading civilisation abruptly returned to dust.”

This segment, Wandering Times, is just the tip of the iceberg. Still blowing minds 27 years into their career, Gorguts have upped the ante once again.

Check out Gorguts’ Facebook page here

Enter the world of cover artist Zbigniew M Bielak here

And pre-order Pleiades’ Dust here!

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.