Gorod - A Maze of Recycled Creeds 01While other bands focus on heavy hits and constant pummeling, Gorod have made themselves the Muhammad Ali of death metal: light on their feet and surgically precise, and incredibly fun to bear witness to. Unlike many of their peers, Gorod have always had a fantastic understanding of flow and dynamics, making all of their stop-and go riff switches and snappy progressive interludes flash by with the smoothness of a well-greased porpoise. Their unique brand of jazzy tech-death hasn’t been seen since 2012’s A Perfect Absolution, which I will defend as one of the best tech-death albums of the decade thus far. Now death metal’s wine-drinkingest, cheese-eatingest surrender monkeys are back to dazzle and defy, with the beautifully-fronted A Maze of Recycled Creeds.

Like A Perfect Absolution, the album begins floating like a butterfly through the airy temple audience that bears whispering witness to “Air de l’Ordre” before the band stings like a bee, flying away with “Temple of the Art-God.” It’s a dynamic and impressive song with a catchy chorus (“now let your trumpets blow!”), but only serves to further whet the palate for better material, and as you may already know, the following single “Celestia Nature” is just that; Gorod at their top, manning a chariot pulled by flaming guitars that spills notes onto the road at every jump and jostle. “Inner Alchemy” follows in the same vein but with a swaggering verse riff that’s a great example of A Maze of Recycled Creeds‘ unique personality.

Whereas A Perfect Absolution was cinematic and grandiose, loping across a huge swath of musical ground, this album is less adventurous but more focused, exploring a fast-paced crystalline riffing style. The songs are more immediate, but have to trade off individuality in order to do so. That’s not to say that the band have abandoned wacky hi-jinks, though. There’s plenty of head-scratching to be done over excellent songs like “An Order to Reclaim.” Led by Benoit Claus’ funky bass, it’s one of the catchiest songs the band has ever written and somehow manages to be incredibly heavy while flipping the bird at anything resembling traditional death metal. Not only is the bass theme ripped straight out of some cheesy Bossa Nova song, the chorus features off-beat guitar strums a la my least favorite genre, Ska. Only Gorod could conceive of this sort of absurdity, and only Gorod could pull it off.

Gorod - A Maze of Recycled Creeds 02

What’s more, A Maze of Recycled Creeds is sonically unique; Gorod‘s guitars have been getting progressively cleaner since Leading Vision, and this is their least distorted tone yet; the album has tons of space in the mix because the guitars don’t dominate the low-end frequencies, which makes the bass shine and the drums pop naturally. It doesn’t sound heavy unless the band is playing something heavy, so the album feels very dynamic and taut.

After a few listens, A Maze of Recycled Creeds had me both intrigued and slightly disappointed; the songs aren’t as memorable as those on the last album, but the band’s sense of fun kept me coming back, and every time I listen to the album it gets better. Only time will tell whether I come to love it as much as A Perfect Absolution, but given the rate at which I’ve been coming back for more of it, the album will soon be tied with its predecessor for second place in the halls of Gorod release quality. Right after the Transcendence EP. Fight me.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Listenable Records | Unique Leader Records
Websites: gorod.free.fr | facebook.com/gorod
Releases Worldwide: October 16th, 2015

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  • John Mosley

    Looking forward to this one. Lots of great metal from France of late. “Surender-monkeys” may be a bit much, a tired cliche best retired.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      He can’t just give up! What do you think Kronos is, France or something?

      • 517H

        Capital double entendre

    • Kronos

      I’ll never apologize for Groundskeeper Willy.

      • John Mosley

        Ah anything is forgiven for a Simpson’s reference…

  • Francesco Bordoni

    Gorod is one of those bands: they’re still to release something that doesn’t classify as “BUY THIS IMMEDIATELY” to me. As a plus, it’s always a pleasure to read a beautifully written review of a beautifully written album. GJ

    • Kronos

      Thanks, and a beautifully written album it is.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Awesome review, as always.

    However

    ‘Their unique brand of jazzy tech-death hasn’t been seen since 2012’s A Perfect Absolution, which I will defend as one of the best tech-death albums of the decade thus far.’

    To what extent? Huh? Wanna fite me brah?

    *sexual tension rises*

    • Requiem

      Nothing like a good sexually tense fight eh?

  • AndySynn

    I will accept that fight… with gusto!

    Mainly because I actually find that A Perfect Absolution was the less adventurous album. It was certainly catchy and immediate, but lacked that sense of weirdness and wonder that I associate with Gorod… which thankfully this album has in spades.

    • thiR

      Ok good, I feel a bit better about it then. I was a bit disapointed by A Perfect Absolution after following them since Process of A New Decline and Transcendence. The later was very adventurous and really a great record, so when APA was released I was a bit pissed that they switched to something a bit more “conventional” (even though it was still a solid record).

  • groverXIII

    Gorod is easily my favorite tech death band, but I will take that fight, mostly because I think that Process Of A New Decline is their finest work, followed by A Perfect Absolution. This album actually took a while to grow on me, and I’m not a big fan of the mix, which I’ve always loved on their previous albums. Everything feels too flat, especially when I compare it to their previous work, and the songs here aren’t as immediately catchy, but it definitely grew on me and is one of my favorite albums of the year.

  • Hammersmith

    They had me at Here Die Your Gods, been a fan ever since. Can’t wait for this to drop.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Second place in the halls of Gorod release quality, Right after the intro to Varangian Paradise.

    So smooth.

    • Rob

      Right? It sounds like the opening credits to the most badass 70’s cop show ever.

  • 517H

    Forgot about these guys. A Perfect Absolution was great. Thanks for the reminder!

  • WalrusKing

    Very excited for this. I loved A Perfect Absolution and Transcendence. Especially loved the subject matter of APB dealing with Olga of Kiev. I’ve heard that AMORC is a concept album as well but the subject matter is not as easily decipherable. Regardless ver much looking forward to this. Thanks for the review Kronos!

  • Worldeater

    Assuming that the album is on par with the embedded track i´m sold on this one!

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Great review and great band. I need to get this little gem.

  • Thatguy

    Thanks, Kronos, for the well written review.

    I’ve been looking forward to this. Mostly tech-death bores me but Gorod are an exception.

    But, ska is your least favourite genre? Where’s my pork-pie hat?

    • Kronos

      Yep, I hate me some Ska.
      Too happy.

      • Gaia

        Kind of ironic since you quoted a famous ska song, ‘Float like a Butterfly’ – Pama International

        • Kronos

          That’s a Mohammed Ali quote.

          • Gaia

            Apologies. Trickle down cliches must originate somewhere, however famous.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Great review!
    Octobers off to a good start.
    It seems a while since I’ve been excited by a Unique Leader release. Temple to the Art is a cracking good tune with an infectious chorus, I will definitely be picking this up had a look on Bandcamp but no preview there…I do hope they put a couple of tracks up soon.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Off topic Has anyone heard the new Satan album…will it be receiving an AMG blessing?

    • Kronos

      Pretty sure Fitsing is on that…

  • Hey whats with the new snobbery logo?

  • KingKuranes

    Where can I get Transcendence (legally)? It’s nowhere.

    • Kronos

      I actually don’t know, and I’ve looked for it myself. I think it was only ever sold at shows, which makes it the kvltest Gorod recording.

      • thiR

        Nope. I definitely ordered it online when it was released (I was living in France at that time though). It’s a great EP btw. I highly recommend it, especially if you are a tech death nerd and worship both Gorod and Cynic.

    • Guilherme Eduardo

      I actually begged for a guy that had it to upload the EP for me when it came out 4 years ago or so, I’ve been trying to buy with since then if no sucess hahaha

  • CyberJesus

    Process of a New Decline and A Perfect Absolution both took some time to digest but I love them both! Here’s to going through it all again!

  • thiR

    I really wasn’t impressed by “Celestial Nature” just like I haven’t been impressed by “A Perfect Absolution” compared to “Process of A New Decline”. Don’t get me wrong, APA was good. But definitely not as stellar nor an instant classic like Process of A New Decline was. I fear that this album will also suffer from the comparison with the masterpiece.

  • michalR

    the album gets stronger with every listen, its heavy, progressive, complex and contains great and memorable melody lines. no disappointment at all.

  • Protogamer

    Bah, Leading Vision is still my favorite. Love this, of course, but it’s not quite as good.

  • Sharp-Blunt Boy

    I recently took receipt of the cd. What a treat. I was a massive fan of their last two but loving the new sound. The cleaner and more open sounding instruments really breathes new life into the tech death arena – kinda reminds me of an Akercocke aesthetic in places (instrument tone). I even heard some funk and definitely some jazzy Thundercat style progressions on the opening to Celestial Nature. Dammit, there’s some Diablo Swing Orchestra in Rejoice Your Soul.

    It sounds like there is a proggier Gorod fighting with an avant guarde Gorod for prominence. I already can’t wait to hear which Gorod surfaces next.