Review Summary: Gorod's many layers strike again in a furry display of Death Metal excellence.
I think Technical Death Metal is becoming irrelevant. To me, it seems to be overtaking metalcore as the new nu-metal. Where two years ago, you'd have seen kids gasping at completely uninteresting genericore chug-a-lug breakdowns, you now see the masses going gaga over vapid, unnatural time changes and contrived, unnecessary arpeggios. This was the result of tech-death turning into a genre of its own; people took the Sound of Perseverance
a little too seriously, and this allowed for several schisms to form;
- Unnecessarily layered, "chaotic" tech-death (Atheretic et al)
- Boring blast-beats accompanied by uncalled for free-jazz that sounds forced and serves absolutely zero purpose (Sleep Terror)
- Dweedle-Doo (Necrophagist)
- Compositional as well as technical balance (Anata, Spawn of Possession)
Just in case you were wondering, Gorod falls into the fourth category. And, for the record, they can all overlap (3 and 4 in particular).
hit me like a fuck
ing freight-train covered in barbells (that were lathered in acid). It was heavy, technical and most importantly, it was listenable. It was complicated as fu
ck without sounding fuck
ing forced, so naturally I was looking forward to their follow-up.
When I first heard Leading Vision
, a thesis I formed upon hearing their debut was instantly confirmed; Gorod is fuck
ing hairy. Let me elaborate. Gorod is the musical equivalent of body hair. I'm not just saying this because their bassist (the hilariously named "Barby") is so hairy that it's a nearly impossible feat to differentiate between his beard and chest hair (where one ends and the other begins we can never be sure). Hell, for all I know [female drummer] Sandrine could be sporting natural leg warmers, but the bands accumulated fur is not irrelevant; they are French, after-all. And as much as I'd love to ramble on about body hair, I'm just using it as a metaphor. Gorod is fuck
ing hairy. Now let me elaborate some more.
Bands like Necrophagist
would be equal to a bearded lady; she can be pretty ordinary if it wasn't for one discernable trait, in this case her beard. This is representative of the fact that a lot of people listen to Necrophagist for one particular riff, instrument or solo. Gorod on the other hand are like a nice meaty chest wig, not unlike that of their bassist. This is depictive of the fact that Gorod writes great songs
; songs formulated with the overall precision and feel that Necrophagist would kill for. Their shape, texture and feel is varied, as is their instrumentation, but they're always tight and full and most definitely thick.
pushes Gorod into an entirely new realm of hairyness; much like chest hair, the album hints at something more. A nasty scar? A tattoo? Let's find out.
Beneath the Hairy Layers of Gorod's Leading Vision
Gorod's strength is not far from that of their technical compatriots; they're really fuck
ing good at their instrument. However, rather than letting us know how fast their fingers know with no rhyme or reason, the members of Gorod flex their muscles in multiple ways. Never content with just shit
ting out an abundance of notes just because they're capable, they'd much rather flex each pectoral muscle at the same rate; the right being their technical prowess while the left is their compositional ability. Gorod can write outstanding death metal that's both technical and listenable. The guitarists have an uncompromising ability to simultaneously flex complexly without distracting the listener from what's going on. Barby, the bassist, almost always steals the show in this typically mid-paced affair with his intensely complicated bass-runs. He pushes bass to the forefront without it sounding completely ridiculous (see: Spiral Architect
). Sandrine, though perhaps the least virtuosic of instrumentalists in the band, varies from faster blasted passages to slower, half-timed chugs without restraint. Even the vocals have seen an improvement, as they no longer enter the picture at random. And, to my satisfaction, Guillaume refrains from beating that god forsaken pig-squeal into the ground; the vocals are 98% growled, just as the gods intended.
Beyond the ripped physique (or maybe it was above, biology was never my strongest of subjects) lays a nice, healthy layer of fat. This shows that while the band has definitely been to the gym, they still love to eat (sick of these fuck
ing metaphors yet?). The lyrics on this album, well, they're still not the best. If you were to compare them with those off Neurotripsicks
, however, you'd be praising them as genius. Rather than stringing a bunch of unrelated words together, Gorod has decided this time around to focus on actually writing lyrics with something to them. Don't get the idea that this is some immaculately thought out story, because 2112
this is not. Nonetheless, Leading Vision
is actually a concept album, and from what I can gather (they're still pretty abstract) they tell a dystopian tale complete with slavery, murder, genocide and all that happy shi
t. Still, it's great to see they're at least putting some effort into their lyrics.
(which are basically scars):
Much-like the scenesters who immaturely get flavour of the week band logos tattoo'd on their pencil thin arms, Gorod wears their influences on their sleeve. Alright, that's more or less a lie. Nonetheless, Gorod's music is layered with styles and influences that spawn from the blatantly obvious to the blatantly obvious. Much of the music on this album is accompanied by a distinct jazz and theoretical feel. Where bands like the abovementioned Sleep Terror
are completely inept when it comes to naturally integrating jazz into their music, Gorod apply it in a totally implicit fashion. They concurrently exhume two conflicting ideas, calculation and improvisation, all the while having it come off a lot less ostentatious than this sentence will. None of the melody on this album falls into the realm of the contrived; the guitars harmonize, certainly, but it's in congruence with all the instruments. Counterpoints run amuck, while the occasional bout of dissonance never reaches Obscura
-like territory (thankfully). While my previous notion of bands listening to the Sound of Perseverance
too much could be seen as a negative, Gorod has definitely done Chuck proud on this beast. And one of the coolest endings to a Death Metal album ever, Hidden Genocide
closes the album with an awesomely French sounding acoustic guitar romp.
So when you shave off the awkward metaphors of this review, you're still left with an outstanding album. Gorod has somehow managed to up their technicality without sacrificing the music. They've clearly been working on the already outstanding formula they created on Neurotripsicks
, and with Leading Vision
, they've solidified their position at the top of the Death Metal game. This is an album you can listen to because you want to, not because you want to show your pals how "fuc
kin' shred" the band is, but hey, if you want to, this album allows it, and that's what makes it so fuck
ng good. Let's just hope they never discover Brazilian waxing, because the hair Gorod has amassed is what's helping them save Technical Death Metal.