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Ever had one of those days where you're just so full of rage that your hair morphs into rainbow colored peacock feathers while your eyes burn with orange flames and your boobs start growing horns as you get buzzed by a flaming phoenix? Personally, I haven't had the pleasure of being subject to such a fit of fury, but evidently Gorod was trying to channel that very image via a bizarre fit of musical brutality and progressiveness known as A Perfect Absolution. Needless to say, the results are a bit of a mixed bag, and at times a reasonably competent one, but they tend to underscore a general flaw in many modern tech. death albums of late.
Some bands in this style saw fit to rival the mathcore scene with an exuberant mess of guitar solos under the guise of riffs (Brain Drill comes to mind here), whereas others tend to express their chops by trying to impress the listener with how many random genre shifts they can work into their songs while maybe occasionally slathering on a few cacophonies of sweep picking insanity around the edges. Gorod definitely aims for the latter category with a near soldier-like precision, so much so that this album tends to listen like an automaton going through the motions and occasionally hobbling on one foot unexpectedly with a jazz interlude like one of its limbs is suffering metal fatigue.
Unfortunately, this formula doesn't pan out as well here as it usually does for the likes of Decrepit Birth and Revocation, and the result is an album that too often seems to be overcompensating and simply offering up gimmicks instead of landing on a substantial idea. Take, for example, the jazz ballad turned Nevermore meets death metal crusher "5,000 At The Funeral", which is actually one of the better songs on here. The quirky intro doesn't really do much to accent the song and is completely dispensable, and while a lot of the guitar work that commences when this song actually gets going is impressive, it gets pretty convoluted and goes overboard on throwing different parts at the listener.
It goes without saying that every instrumentalist in this fold has a solid, if not outstanding command of their respective instruments, and vocalist Julien "Nutz" Deyres isn't a slouch either when it comes to mixing up his shrieks and grunts. In fact, it wouldn't be much of a stretch that the parts that make up Gorod could rival the likes of Necrophagist and Beyond Creation in terms of sheer ability, but turning all of that raw talent into a consumable musical entree is where things fall short. Not to mention that that annoying funk section in "Carved In The Wind" is heavily reminiscent of those experimental early 90s MTV thrash debacles that most everybody wants to forget, not to mention the off-kilter intro to "Varangian Paradise" which almost sounds like a nod to the theme song from Shaft.
It's all well and good to be a fan of artists who noodle, and Gorod proves to be among the most proficient at it, but they mixed way too much tribal sauce and odd spices into this sea of sonic spaghetti and ended up with something that lacks a consistent flavor. It's far from being a terrible album, but it gets so outlandish at times that it almost seems like it's unintentionally parodying much of what passes for tech. death of late. There are a few solid standout songs like "Birds Of Sulphur" and "The Axe Of God" that manage to work by sticking to a brutal mix of speed and stomp with a side order of shred, but apart from the lavish and bizarre imagery adorning this album's cover, it's largely a forgettable endeavor.
This French technical death metal project stole my heart years ago with the excellent Neurotripsicks (been there a few times), and have been in my rotation ever since, establishing themselves deeper and deeper into my tech death database. Not only is A Perfect Absolution a sweet album, it’s one of the finest French tech experiences ever wrought, standing tall in my rotation this year alongside the excellent new album from their countrymen Outcast. I was slightly surprised to see that it’s their shortest work to date, clocking in at a hair under 40 minutes, but once you give this a spin, you’ll know immediately it doesn’t lack for content. Indeed, hibernating within that fiery artwork is an immense showcase of skill, biding its time till it can explode out of your speakers and tear your mouth agape in wonderment.
It must be stated that yes, this is very twiddly, overtly techy stuff, and if that irritates you, it might be best you look elsewhere. However, this is far from derivative, as Gorod reshape that innocuous shell and inject much more substance that your average ‘tech-for-tech’s-sake’ ADD architects, writing some songs that have a very real flow about them. That’s coming from an unabashed fanatic of wanking tech music, though, so take that for what it’s worth. There’s a new guitarist here, who’s inhuman enough to fit right in, as well as a new vocalist, another purveyor of the grunty growl, acting as another percussive instrument in the circus of amazing rhythms barely contained within.
Opener Birds of Sulphur trades off mathematical rhythmic gymnastics and a vast array of jaw/pants dropping leads, letting you know in no uncertain terms that you’re about to get your mind blown, every instrument a consistently flourishing showcase of talent and creativity. Make no mistake, there are riffs here, tons of them, and even the chorus is a fist-pumping, memorable affair. Many of the tracks follow this formula, flexing their muscles with a ridiculous variety of progressions, circling around a couple of central lines. It’s truly a maddening expedition, and one that fans of this kind of epileptic insanity with adore… not so much the old school elite, though, as I wouldn’t really call this dark or menacing. On the contrary, A Perfect Absolution is pretty uplifting at times, sawing its way up toward the skyline and painting it with the brilliant colors of its vibrant notation.
It probably goes without saying that these musicians are absolutely nuts, every one of them. As a drummer, I was often speechless by Samuel Santiago, as you will be by any of these guys if you practice music. The guitars of Mathiu Pascal and Nicolas Alberny swirl and gyrate around each other in astonishing ways, and the warm pulse of Benoit Claus’s bass is perfect, as he both stays in rhythm with the drums and crafts his one unique, curving lines. They integrate some odd elements sometimes to mix things up (the funky circus midsection of Carved In the Wind, the atmospheric bludgeoning of 5000 At the Funeral, the island-breeze eclecticism of Varangian Paradise, the clean, almost Machine Head-like chorus in The Axe of God, and a whole smorgasbord of interesting and varied solos), but mainly they’ll be grooving along to one riff or another at a pretty feverish pace, with the lead guitar constantly needling out a wild array of notes. It’s all pretty similar on the surface, and tends to blend together if you’re not paying close attention (a common tech death trait), but if you have the ear for the style, there’s actually a lot of variety, if that makes sense.
It can admittedly be difficult to recall a great many sections from A Perfect Absolution, a tribute to its density rather than a condemnation of content, but the prevalent shifting of its acrobatic momentum will give detractors of the style all they need to write this off, I’m afraid. However, if you’re into monumental displays of skill set to a progressive death metal aesthetic, you’re going to want to spin this again and again, as I’ve been doing since its release. It doesn’t have the most innate memorability or emotional depth, but it’s an amazing exhibition, and one that does it’s damnedest to write interesting song structures and varied passages, rather than being relegated to the status of ‘tech demo’, a la Brain Drill. What truly matters with an album like this, though, is how interesting it is to go through, and how amazed you are by it that you keep repeating the experience, and for that, it’s a resounding success. I may enjoy them slightly less than I do the more prominent Obscura, The Faceless, or Spawn of Possession, but they’re still among the elite, and A Perfect Absolution is an unmitigated thrill-ride. I’d love to hear Gorod’s attempt at a truly progressive album, as I felt the most captivating moments were the more surprising, outside the box elements, but as it stands I’m more than satisfied with this.
-Left Hand of Dog
Gorod is a tech-death band from France that's always kind of stood apart from the pack in my opinion. Ever since I heard their first album, Neurotripsicks, back in 2006 I was hooked. Their trademark sound is comprised of very technical guitars intertwined between heavy bass chugging and excellently precise drumming.
Where to start with this album, well the vocals are a good place. Guillaume Martinots death vocals are replaced by Julien "Nutz" Deyres on this latest album. The first thing you'll notice is the range of different sounds in the vocal arsenal of Deyres. A lot of the mainline vocals don't sound horribly different from what Martinot brought to the table, but there are lots of exceptions. From the pig-squealy intro to "The Axe of God" to the low, spoken-word style vocals in "5000 at the funeral" to the excerpts of actual singing ( a rare instance for Gorod up till now) in a couple of the tracks it is clear that "Nutz" is a decent vocalist with a good range of tricks in his bag.
In terms of guitar work not much has changed since "Process of a New Decline". The guitars are technical as ever, without going into the realm of "technical masturbation" which is easy as hell for tech-death bands to fall into. The thing I love about Gorod, and have loved ever since their first album is their songwriting ability. The guitars flow with the song and help pull the pieces together, instead of just presenting meaningless chunks of riffing and chugging. The bass guitar is just as detectable as the leads in the mix and it all just fits together so well. A bunch of "trademark" riffs return from older albums as well, in certain songs, and you'll never doubt you're listening to a Gorod album.
I've always used the term "groovy" to describe Gorod, and this album is just as "groovy" as anything else in their catalog. Death metal DID in fact evolve from blues to a degree, and the bluesy groove has not been lost by Gorod.
Now, the crazy stuff, exactly why I love Gorod more than the other contenders in this crowded genre. Gorod brings a lot more to the table than just chugga-chugga-riff-riff, and throw in some stuff that may make some metalheads go "what the fuck man?", but in the best way possible. From the slow meandering bluesy riffs of pianos, guitars, and what I think is a cello at the beginning of "5000 at the funeral" to the wacky "Starsky and Hutch" style rattles and guitar wah-wah-ing and eventually what my brother referred to as "Death-Mamba" in the middle of the same track, with sounds that almost make you think you're headbanging in the Caribbean, Gorod never fails to amuse. Throughout their discography you can grab little snippets of things that make you go "what?" and that's what I love the MOST about them.
My only complaints at all would be that some of the vocal work gets a bit boring at times, and as cool as the "Death-Mamba" and "Starksy and Hutch" stuff was, it was a little out of place. I gotta say something negative, don't I?
So, to conclude, this album definitely did not disappoint this long time Gorod fan, and even makes a great place to start for curious listeners. This album is technical, but flows in a way many other tech-death bands could learn from. Gorod is consistently improving, and have been with every album since their debut. Definitely pick this one up if you're a fan of tech-death or just groovy metal in general.
originally written for http://zushakon.blogspot.com
Since I first heard Leading Vision I was sold on Gorod, and that album still stands as an absolute peak in modern technical death metal. Gorod are the idealistic band of this style: ass-kicking riffs, enough technicality to make any self-respecting musician doubt their skill, but avoiding the ram-it-down-your-throat-widdle-away-through-the-album approach. 2012 sees Gorod unleash their fourth full-length studio effort, and sadly sees the band's sound beginning to stagnate.
Their previous album Process of a New Decline was good, if patchy in places, and on A Perfect Absolution things are pretty much just patchy. One thing that sticks out to me is that the music really doesn't fit the album cover; with the cover having a warm natural feel I was hoping this could have been reflected in the music, but really it's just the same old cold mechanical Gorod. Here and there are odd moments of genre influence outside of metal, "5000 at the Funeral" has a jazz style intro and there are some almost funk moments in the middle of "Carved in the Wind".
The best track here is easily "Tribute of Blood" which is Gorod doing what they do best, boasting an array of bad-arse riffs. As is always the case with Gorod the music is very well played, and tech nuts are going to blow their loads over the solos here, sadly for me nothing on here besides the odd moment of quality here and there and the aforementioned "Tribute of Blood" stick out. Fairly average material from a not so average band, I can only hope we see a leap in songwriting come their next release.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com