Written by Kirk
Gorod – The Orb
> Progressive technical death metal
> Releasing March 7
It’s probably a fair assessment that fans of the tech death scene have listened to or—at least—heard of Gorod. While they’ve been around since the late nineties as Gorgasm, they changed their name in the mid-2000s. And all they’ve done ever since is hone their craft, fusing elements of progressive rock with their increasingly-complex song structures. These ain’t your everyday knuckle-dragging caveman riffs; these riffs take grooming their beards very seriously, drink only the finest craft beer (I’m guessing porters and IPAs), and grind their own beans by hand before brewing the strongest cup of espresso you’ve ever had. In other words, these riffs are one helluva lot smarter than me.
“Chrenatheism” kicks this album off both literally and figuratively. Gorod waste no time getting to work, drum beats blasting and guitars blazing as Julien “Nutz” Deyres growls like a man possessed. No gentle acoustic intro here, just pure power and aggression, like the song couldn’t help but leap full-force from the instruments through the speakers and directly into your ears. There’s a sense of urgency here that is utterly palpable, so consider yourself warned.
Wasting no time and riding white-knuckled this bullet train going at top speed, we move next to “We Are the Sun Gods.” The momentum of this record is enough to give you whiplash, and I’ve been sitting down this whole time. Then the guitar solo hits at about 1:56, and the pace shifts at 2:18, allowing everyone (especially the listener) a first chance to catch their breath. Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Albemy hold the line so remarkably well, and Benoit Claus is an absolute master of the low end; meanwhile, Karol Diers is pulling out the jazz drumming like he’s in Art Blakey‘s thrall before the riff comes back at about 3:30, and we charge forward once again at full speed.
And then we enter “The Orb,” and the entire vibe shifts. The band digs deep into their technical background, relying less on the fast-paced riffs and blast beats and instead creating a groove that is as infectious as it is punishing. The driving forces behind this song are Benoit Claus and Karol Diers, placing the rhythm section at the front of the train and telling the rest of us to buckle up. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the effects layered on top make this song feel otherworldly. Just a brilliant song on every level.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled program as “Savitri” takes flight. Now that the scenic detour of “The Orb” is over, the riff has come back, but this time it’s different. It starts off gently, carried back to the front by Benoit Claus before taking the helm again at 0:30. But it’s a more reflective riff—sensitive and distinguished—with flairs of classic rock solos of yore. Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Albamy really shine on this song, their parts in perfect harmony throughout.
“Breeding Silence” is just pure death metal. Just pure power. This song should come with headgear and a mouthpiece, and Nutz gives a performance for the ages. How it can sound both polished and brutal is beyond me, but Gorod pull it off with both talent and flair. But don’t let that 20 second fade-out fool you; “Victory” follows immediately after with at least as much force as “Chrenatheism,” possibly more. While it’s by far the shortest song on the album, it would be folly to think it doesn’t measure up. In fact, this might be the most intense song yet, Gorod cranking it up to 11 for the full 3:15. If for any reason you feel like this album is lacking in brutality, I found it. It’s right here.
So far we’ve seen elements of classic rock, progressive rock, and jazz. Now comes “Waltz of Shades,” which is literally that: A WALTZ. Yup! You read that right! This song is a waltz. Close your eyes and ignore (as hard as it is) the thunderous blast beats and face-melting guitars; at its very core, this song is a waltz. And when you add all the elements of death metal on top of it, it becomes a death waltz in a burning ballroom. Sounds pretty metal to me.
As the album’s conclusion draws ever closer, Gorod sees fit to once again melt our faces off with “Scale of Sorrows.” Karol Diers’ drumming is all over this song, his true talent on full display, and Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Albamy once again shine throughout. Their solos are brief but exquisite. By the end of this song, if your ears aren’t bleeding, the volume clearly wasn’t high enough.
And if you had a tech death band covering The Doors on your 2023 bingo card, you’re in luck. The album closes with an incendiary cover of “Strange Days” that absolutely soars. It’s a nice closer as it feels so much lighter than the rest of the album, but in a good way. It’s a bit of a palette cleanser, the band sounding a bit reigned in but very tight, and all clean singing from Julien “Nutz” Deyres, who handles those lines with style and grace.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you’re a longtime Gorod fan, you need this album. If you’re a new Gorod fan, you need this album. If you’re new to death metal and are looking for a good entry point, you need this album. On a personal level, I’m not a big death metal guy, and I really enjoyed this album. It’s fun. It’s dynamic. It’s deep and heavy and extremely technical, and yet it’s incredibly open and inviting. This album is the complete package, and it’s not something you want to miss out on.