Gorod // A Perfect Absolution
Rating: 4.5/5.0 — A near perfect absolution, in any case.
Label: Listenable [EU] | Unique Leader [US]
Websites: gorod.free.fr | facebook.com/GorodOfficial
Release Dates: EU: 12.03.2012 | US: 04.18.2012
Over here at Angry Metal Guy we work our hardest to not make our reviews a lovefest. There’s enough ass kissing and comforting reach-arounds from the Internet media that’s out to secure their position as the most-linked heavy metal zines ever by giving records great scores (8/10!) while talking about how mediocre they are. That niche is filled. Our general guiding principle here is “We have important opinions,” and we do. So important, in fact, that we can’t be bothered to blow sunshine up the ass of labels that already get all sorts of unnecessarily good press for mediocre shit. But holy shit is March 2012 a hell of a month… and French death metallers’ Gorod‘s followup to 2009’s pretty-damned-good Process of a New Decline is definitely one of the highlights of the month. Frankly, it’s good enough that it’ll probably be left standing as 2012’s best technical death metal record.
A Perfect Absolution rips out the gate with the track “Birds of Sulphur” and a Behemoth-style over-produced vocal line that made me cringe—but that’s where the similarities with the overproduced Poles ends. Instead, the album continues on a technical path, ripping out pummeling but melodic riffs interspersed with just enough groove to not loser the more casual listener of tech death. Like the band’s earlier material, the tracks are thrashy and fast with plenty of harmonized guitar noodling that get offset by heavy death metal riffs. But the thing that’s always distinguished Gorod in my mind from Obscura or a Spawn of Possession is the ease with which they move between technical death metal and sort of jazzy interludes underpinned by Benoir Claus’ immense fretless presence.
A Perfect Absolution brings these jazzy and progressive tendencies even more to the fore. While on Process the jazzy parts were confined to “Splinters of Life” and “Watershed,” they play a larger role here with the funk-like intro to “Varangian Paradise,” or “5000 at a Funeral” with its noir introduction. Even the riffing at the beginning of “Carved in the Wind” is more jazz-influenced than Necrophagist or Anata-influenced. Still, there’s plenty of the latter as well. Gorod is nothing if not tight and technical. Every song is a whirling dervish of notey goodness. And it goes without saying that there are some fantastic solos on this record—including from Christian Münzner who can’t keep his dirty little fingers out of anything, apparently.
I think my biggest complaint is that I’m not sure what the story is because I don’t have any lyrics for the album. But I have to say that any record that deals with “Varangians” is good in my book and it seems obvious that the narrative flow helps take A Perfect Absolution to the next level, because like all good concept albums it’s got The Flow™. I guess the other complaint that one could think to muster—aside from the fact that the second half is a bit stronger than the first—is that the record is only 40 minutes long. But given my well known Reign in Blood syndrome, and as a fan of records that leave you wanting more, I don’t even see this as a downside. Rather 40 minutes of top-notch technical death metal than 55 of mediocre songs.
So go out my pretties and purchase Gorod‘s new album A Perfect Absolution! It is the technical death metal record you’ve been waiting for. And watch out for the intro riff after the noir part in “5000 at a Funeral.” It will rip your fucking face off. You’ve been warned.