Tech Death Thursday: Gourmand – Blossoming From The Grave
We’ve got some tasty new prog death today courtesy of Gourmand. Sadly, they are not a band dedicated to chronicling the life and times of Anthony Bourdain through song. Missed opportunity, guys.Only one news (new?) for you today:
- TDT vets The Odious Construct have a new album on the way through The Artisan Era, and you can check out a teaser right here. I liked their first EP quite a lot, but this sounds like the guys are stepping up their game in every way. Look for Shrine of the Obscene on October 12th.
Before we dive into the album, let’s take a moment to appreciate that cover art, shall we? It’s pleasing to the eye on a basic level, vibrant and colorful without being garish. The grim symmetry presented by growth and decay is both pretty and unsettling; perfect for an album titled Blossoming from the Grave.
That life-and-death dichotomy is present throughout the album, both in the lyrics and the music itself. At first blush, Gourmand sound like a big, beefy modern melodeath band with a bit of an acoustic flourish, and… well, that’s honestly not too far off, but there’s a lot more going on under the surface than that. Every song on the album goes between at least two emotional extremes, examining its core ideas and motifs from multiple angles. “Between Vessel and Body” does a particularly good job of this: the thrash riff you hear for the first half of the song gives way to a clean guitar break that initially follows the same chord progression, slowly blooming into something that goes wider and utilizes the clear tone to the fullest. When the distortion kicks back on, it’s with a big, heavy riff, but with a cello harmony underneath that gives it some added emotional pull, the kind of thing that leaves a pit in your stomach. The melody that follows ties back into the first strains of clean guitar earlier, bringing it full circle.
Oh, and that cello isn’t just a one-off. Vocalist Luke Adams is also a strings player, as it turns out; just not the instrument one would expect from a death metal band. You get a little taste of it at the start of the title track, but it’s brought in throughout the album’s run time. It’s not a constant presence, but any time it shows up it adds a super unique texture to the song, especially when used alongside distorted guitars and blastbeats. “Redemption,” the somber instrumental at the halfway point, gives it some time in the spotlight, too.
As previously mentioned, the lyrics also run the gamut of human emotions and experiences, from a celebration of childbirth to calling for unity in the face of global climate change. “The Price of Consciousness” follows the same conflicted path as the music, observing both the good and bad sides to the experience of sentience, and “Perpetual Sickness” expresses frustration at the paradox of a benevolent god that allows his followers to suffer. There’s a lot at play in the lyrics here (or maybe it’s just where I am in life right now), and I found myself much more invested in them than a lot of other death metal bands.
Another thing that caught my ear was the clean guitar tone, though I suppose “tones” would be more appropriate here. While the overall engineering job is neither amazing nor terrible, Gourmand use a lot of different clean guitar sounds throughout Blossoming. As insignificant of a detail as that might look on paper, it totally changes the way certain passages feel; combined with the cello, it helps each individual tune express its ideas with greater depth.
It’s a good time to be a fan of prog death, especially if you’re into a lot of the less noodly bands that have been putting out music lately. Fans of more reserved acts such as Xenosis, Inverted Serenity, or Beyond Grace should absolutely have Gourmand on their radar. Even if you only have a passing interest in this type of music, they do enough things differently to be worth at least a quick listen. Blossoming from the Grave is out now, available from Bandcamp. You can follow Gourmand on Facebook as well. That’s all for this week, so until next time,
Is your band tech as heck? Got a juicy piece of news or an upcoming release to watch? Send it my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check it out. I might even talk about it.