Gorguts is a Technical Death Metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. The band was formed in 1989 and was part of the first wave of Death Metal. In 2013 I wrote a post about their fantastic release Colored Sands, a concept album about the Tibetan culture and history (Here’s the link to the article).
In 2016 Gorguts still surprises with exceptional music and a concept and topic that’s more than unusual for today’s Metal. Pleiades’ Dust is a concept EP consisting of a single track that lasts for more than 30 minutes. “A long narrative composition, that was not written with the intention of being edited in segments.” as Gorguts frontman Luc Lemay says about the EP.
RISE OF THE HOUSE OF WISDOM
The lyrics as well as the cover artwork tell the story of the House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma), a major intellectual center based in Baghdad during the Islamic Golden Age, founded by Caliph Harun al-Rashid (reigned 786–809).
“Much of the intellectual activity of the Middle Age took place (in the House of Wisdom) while Europe was stuck in the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome. Many scientific discoveries were made at the time” LUC Lemay, Gorguts
Besides Muslim scholars even people of Jewish or Christian background were allowed to study in the House of Wisdom. An outstanding example of curiosity and knowledge bridging a gap between religions – something we unfortunately still struggle with today.
The House of Wisdom wasn’t just a library, it was famous for its astronomical observatories, an unrivaled center for the study of humanities and for science in medieval Islam, including mathematics, astronomy, medicine, alchemy and chemistry, zoology, and geography and cartography. By the middle of the ninth century, the House of Wisdom had the largest selection of books in the world. (source)
All these different parts of the House of Wisdom can be found in the artwork of Pleiades’ Dust. The books, the central head symbolizing the knowledge for mankind, the maps, sketches and equations.
ATTACK OF THE MONGOLS
Along with all other libraries in Baghdad, the House of Wisdom was destroyed by the army of Hulagu Khan during the Siege of Baghdad,1258 AD. The books from Baghdad’s libraries were thrown into the Tigris River in such quantities that the river ran black with the ink from the books. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi rescued about 400,000 manuscripts before the siege (source). See details of the artwork below.
“Islam’s heritage helped pave the way for the rise of the West to its present prominence.” Zbigniew M. Bielak, cover artist.
The artwork was created by Polish artist Zbigniew M. Bielak. Bielak has previously worked for bands such as Mayhem, sólstafir, Ghost or Watain. His work lives from an almost insane level of detail what Gorgut’s cover artwork impressively showcases. This cover invites the viewer to discover all the different parts of the unique story of the House of Wisdom while listening to the acoustic monument Gorguts builds on this EP. A release that is impressive on all levels – you listen to something new, see something new, learn something new.