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If you have been following my reviews on this site, you may have noticed that all of my reviews have been positive so far. Frankly, I feel that I should change that. While it’s good to review albums that one likes, a collection of nothing but positive reviews might make one wonder what exactly constitutes a bad album. Well, today I will explain what makes a bad album. Here is weedily weedily tech death at its worst–Gorod. (If you are unfaimilar with the term "weedily weedily," just listen to this album and try to describe the sound of the guitars. That's "weedily weedily.")
Simply put, Gorod’s most recent album is a soulless wankfest devoid of anything that might comprise a good metal album. Even shitty contemporaries such as Brain Drill at least have a decent riff or two scattered amongst an album of weedily trash. Here, there is nothing but weedilies and the occasional attempt at a mediocre riff. WEEDILY WEEDILY WEEDILY! From a technical standpoint, Gorod is definitely capable of playing complex music, but the songwriting on this album is simply atrocious in every way.
As mentioned before, the guitarists play nothing but weedily weedily wankery. There is no point in specifying a single song to exemplify this here because this dominates literally every song here. When they attempt a riff, the riff ends up either being hidden under weedily wankery (e.g., “Gilded Cage” at 1:40), or sounds stale and half-assed (e.g., “Rebirth of Senses” at 0:52 and 1:46; “Guilty of Dispersal” at 1:08). There is basically no variation here whatsoever and it becomes old before the first song of the album is over. Speaking of that, the first song, “Disavow Your God,” features some of the dullest attempts at making tech death melodic. From 1:30 on to a bit past the 3 minute mark, the song just plods along, weediling along like there’s no tomorrow. This is not what tech death is about! Listen to Gorguts. Listen to Atheist. Listen to some old Cryptopsy. That’s how you play tech death! Not this weedily garbage. This is diluted crap and says a lot about the failures of modern death metal. This is nothing more than a juvenile, amateur wankfest showing off how technical they can make an album sound.
My next criticism is directed toward the drums. Fuck these things are triggered horribly! Simply put, this could have easily been written in Fruity Loops or Garageband. In addition, the technicality implemented here is just not very interesting. I know it’s cool to play in an odd time signature, but if it’s boring, nobody will care. Compare this to Flo Mounier’s performace on Cryptopsy’s None So Vile. I hate bands that shamelessly plug blastbeasts whenever they feel like it, but on that album, Mounier implements blastbeasts very well, using them to contrast with his well-executed fills that are both technical and really interesting. In addition, Flo’s blastbeats really complements and emphasizes what the other instruments are playing. Here, Gorod just blast away whenever they get the urge to (e.g., a lot of “Almighty’s Murder”), and when they feel like showing off how technical they are, they slow the drums down and play some odd pattern with cymbals (e.g., the intro to “Guilty of Dispersal”). This is basically the equivalent of saying “HERE COMES THE JAZZY PART, BRO” or some variant of that. In short, this performance feels forced and soulless.
At the very least, the bass at least sounds good because it’s a fretless. Sadly, the bassist does nothing of note here besides the occasional odd part or two, which almost eliminates the point of a fretless (other than to sound “really technical”…). Even when the bassist plays something that could be good, everything else completely contrasts it, leading to what can be heard only as an amalgamation of crap.
The vocals aren’t bad, though. Nothing of note whatsoever. They don’t even warrant a lengthy paragraph.
Overall, this album is one of the least interesting wankfests I’ve ever heard. Everything here is forced to the point where there is no life in this music whatsoever. The songwriting here, if you can call it that, is simply atrocious in pretty much every conceivable way. I don’t care how technical a band may be, if they write vapid music like this, I will promptly dismiss them. In conclusion, this album title is quite ironic because this is one of the most glaring examples of the decline of technical death metal that has been going on over the past few years. At the same time, it’s one of the least memorable albums I’ve ever heard.
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com
A new name to me in the technical death metal world is the French band Gorod, and as is the case with any 'new' technical death metal band the listening experience is usually a highly pleasurable one. To help me with this listen I also got to see the band live supporting Immolation a few days ago, and most tight they were, showing straight to my face that the technical wizardry and expertise on show on "Process Of A New Decline" was not the result of studio tricks like virtually all these 'technical' grind/jazz/deathcore piles of shit, but a band who've spent hours honing their musical chops over the last decade or so.
In repeated listens to "Process..." the most obvious comparator I can offer is Decrepit Birth re their fantastic "Diminishing Between Worlds" last year as the style is that of staccato rhythms and riffs changing line on a sixpence, an evident slap-bass sound that always has elements of Steve DiGiorgio all atop growled and hoarse vocals that we all know is so much better than deep guttural growls of unadulterated brutality. The riffs, the key factor as always, know they're technical (finest example perhaps in "A Common Hope") but hold just short of over-doing it, utilising melodic leads at frequent intervals and showing themselves to match the colours and intensities that emanate from the vocals of Guillaume.
Opener "Disavow Your God" harbours a somewhat positive feeling 'chorus' riff thanks to the subtle key changes and movements at use. A dramatic point it may not be but I include it to show some of the depths that can be found in this record that have allowed Gorod to go someway to stamping a unique identity on the record. The following excellent "Programmers Of Decline", sounding most-like Decrepit Birth and Gory Blister through the thrashing-tastic nature of the intricate lead riff, and 'Diverted Logic" hammer home the band's name, make sure you won't forget it in a hurry before the first major detour appears in "The Path" as it begins with a twee symphonic keyboard sound, swiftly adjoined by Chuck Schuldiner-like guitar virtuosity. It is this combination of the various sounds that compliment the flow nice and going someway to earn the mark Gorod deserve for this effort.
The remainder of album follows in a similar style: I'm not totally sold on the odd moment of vocal effects being used which sound akin to Cynic's Paul Masdival but the brooding, delicate "Watershed" near the album's end somehow gets away with this. I think it must be something to do with the clever integration of the soft and hard in the song structure because it is most marvellous. Largely put, fans of the technical death metal style espoused by Decrepit Birth, Gory Blister, latter Death, Gorguts will love this, and I'm very thankful I made the effort to catch them in London the other day. Make sure you do the same when Gorod are near you.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net
There seems to be a backlash right now against the ongoing revival of technical death metal. The criticism usually runs along the lines of "it's wankery," "it's pretentious," or "they don't know how to write songs," and so on and so forth. For the most part this is all true. The bands that have risen above the sea of wankery, at least for me, exhibit a few key attributes. First there has to be some kind of soul to the music. Second, there needs to be some ability to channel arpeggiated calisthenics into compelling melodies. Third, well, see the above criticisms. Oh, and I prefer the lyrics to ponder aliens, astrophysics, quantum physics or robots. That's not pretentious, right?
So here come Gorod (formerly Gorgasm), from Bordeaux France, sailing on the technical seas of cheese. They totally float my boat.
There is a whole lot of shredding here, and dueling arpeggiated calisthenics aplenty. Three things tie it together for me. First, the melodies have well planned destinations. The meanderings have a beginning, middle and end that I find pleasing. Some of the tunes and solos are downright haunting.
Second, there is a fantastic grooviness here. Some very nice rhythms are on display. The drumming has an appealing, organic feel that lays off The Faceless style triggers (not that that's a terrible thing.) The drummer Sam tends more towards a Mario Duplantier vibe. The bass is pretty spicy in the mix and keeps it sharp. There is some excellent riffage along the way that keeps the ship moving. The crazed hammer-on action really works well with the rhythm section.
Lastly, I totally dig the vocals. Singer Guillaume reminds me a lot of Alex Leblanc from Neuraxis (it's a French thing). Mid-to-low range death grunts suit me just fine and ground the music in a more traditional death metal vibe than some contemporaries in this genre. Occasionally there is an inhumanly low brown-note of a growl that blows the mind. The lyrics are appropriately esoteric.
I expect that this album will do quite well when it's released in the U.S. by Willowtip (on July 28th). I guess the question for Gorod is whether they can ride the tech death wave to success. Or has the wave already crested? I hope not. A spot on the Summer Slaughter tour would have nailed the target audience.
Originally posted here: http://atanamar.blogspot.com/
Gorod’s last album, Leading Vision, is probably my second favorite album of all time. No, Process of a New Decline is not my favorite, but it is easily one of the best Death Metal albums I have heard in a while. In the Technical Death Metal genre many bands spend so much time on trying to prove that they are extremely talented and that leads to their albums being completely boring nonsense with no hooks at all. The element that made Gorod so fucking good was that they showcase how talented they are while making the music as catchy as an STD. I was worried that the band wasn’t going to be able to keep this up on a new album. Well I guess all my worries are gone.
Process of a New Decline not only continues on what Gorod has done before, but they manage to change how they sounded but still do the same thing. Many others who listen to both this album and their last will probably think I am insane, but I can tell you with each album that Gorod changes how they sound. Not sure how to explain how they have done so on this album, but it just isn’t the same as the last. This album probably seems a little more progressive than the last. It is filled with many stop-start riffs, many momentum changes, some jazzy times, and awesome solos. This is still the same Gorod, if you like the previous albums you will like this one. I cannot stress enough that Gorod does the same thing yet it sounds different. The more progressive sound does not take away from the Technical Death Metal sound. This album just proves that there still are bands that know how to make music catchy as hell and still blow you away with musicianship.
Like I said before my main worry is that I was going to be disappointed because I would be comparing their new album to the last one. Well I am still comparing it to Leading Vision but that didn’t hurt anything, this album still completely slays almost everything I have listened to in the past couple of years. I just wish other bands would look up to Gorod, not to become a clone of them, but to realize what you could do with all of your talent instead of making dry uninspiring music. I know the next album will still be awesome by Gorod, unless they change their genre, because they have produced three amazing albums in a row. Gorod is easily the top band in today’s Technical Death Metal scene.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Gorod get a lot of good press, and although I haven't actually heard their much-lauded previous album Leading Vision in full - and even then, not in years - I must say that their newest effort Process of a New Decline is...well, it's really fucking good, I can't pretend it isn't.
Talk about a complete kick in the balls with this one. All the problems with modern Technical Death Metal are pretty much eschewed and forgotten about on here, and replaced with a hungry, bloodthirsty and insanely complex template that resembles something like a truck slamming into you at 100 mph. There is not a wasted note on this album, and I am not exaggerating at all - every second of Process of a New Decline is spent thoroughly on mind-blowingly technical riff/lead layering executed with a furious, blistering intensity that will singe your eyebrows off within the first couple of songs. And they never let up, through eleven songs and forty-nine minutes of winding, twisted insanity, of completely relentless mathematical fury. Most Death Metal albums get tiring around that point, but not Gorod; these guys know what they're doing. They have more focus, anger and intelligence in one guitar string than some bands have in their entire arsenal.
There's just...really too many good moments on here to list them all in one review. "Disavow Your God," for example, check out the way the guitars harmonize and play off each other in the last half of the song. Or how about "Programmers of Decline," which barrels through the gates firing on all cylinders with a careening tempo that will have you pumped up like you just drank a gallon of Gatorade? They can even do a slower burn pretty well, as evident on "Rebirth of Senses." The band is always doing something, always enthralling the listener and always providing a lively, ear-pleasing jolt to the senses. Even on the more melodic, calculated "Watershed," they still manage to dazzle. Fuck, they're good.
Process of a New Decline plays as a soundtrack to the merciless hacking and total destruction of a main-frame computer database, a mechanical and impartial Ragnarok upon the whims of humanity's technological follies. Nobody ever thought Technical Death could sound this good. One of the best words I could use to describe this would be purpose - never do Gorod stop sounding like they have a mission to accomplish. It's very gratifying. Gorod have created a serious ass-kicking beast here, and if this is what they can do now, I shudder at how powerful they might grow in a few more years...
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com