Gorod / Cognitive / Summoning the Lich / Flub – April 11, 2023 – Crowbar, Tampa, FLSaturday, 22nd April 2023
Photos by: Brittany Barkasi
In support of their latest album The Orb, France’s preeminent progressive/technical death metal group Gorod made their return to the US in a whirlwind 28 date tour that took the band across the country. That’s a lot of miles, and with the tour winding down to the last handful of dates, we were lucky to have the band and their considerable support package stop by in Tampa at Crowbar – a long standing local icon in the underground music scene.
Like stated in my review of their latest LP of crushing and thought provoking death metal, Maryland Deathfest 2010 was the last time I’ve been able to catch Gorod live. That’s way too long, having since released four extraordinary – and all quite different comparatively – albums with many songs that would be darn cool to see executed in a live setting.
Having brought along an eclectic mix of support bands for this tour – consisting of Flub, Summoning the Lich, and Cognitive – everyone in attendance had an evening of enterprising and differing interpretations of death metal to take in.
Kicking off the show were local thrashers Corrupted Saint. With their singer sporting a Murdersome shirt sporting Chris Benoit’s face (if you don’t know, don’t ask) emblazoned on it, one wondered what kind of spectacle we were about to witness. Thankfully, it was a relatively solid set of thrash with a slight tinge of death metal dropped into the mix. Solid and forthright, the Lakeland, FL natives warmed up the crowd and seemed to have fun doing it, while also showing their genuine appreciation for gaining the opportunity to open such a stacked show. Well done, and I’m sure we’ll catch them again sometime.
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Sacramento, CA’s Flub opened for the touring package, providing the audience a lively exhibition of one-of-a-kind melody infused technical death metal, enhanced by a smidgeon of funky hardcore. Brimming with positive energy, the band was all smiles throughout, with lead vocalist Michael Alvarez gracefully grooving about the stage while providing his ferocious growling delivery. Live members Bobby Carroll (guitars) and Josh Mathis (drums) – both of Cyborg Octopus – displayed quick chemistry with the rest of the band to combine for a tight and captivating performance. Leaning on their self-titled full-length and their latest EP Dream Worlds, the band presented a solid mix of what they have to offer, with their complex arrangements being executed without flaw on this night.
Flub is traversing their own path, and their live show matches the quality of their recorded content, showcasing a flair that sticks with the crowd. These gentlemen absolutely were this writer’s favorite of the support acts on this tour, and we can’t wait to catch them again in the future.
Summoning the Lich
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Melodic death/deathcore upstarts Summoning the Lich were next on the billing, purveying an energetic and to the point approach to their chosen style. Their sound is technical and precise, putting forth a steady flow of riffs courtesy of guitarist and Jamie Hyneman doppelganger Ryan Felps (sans beret). There was no busting of myths, however, the band definitely busted the riffs. Pay no mind to this writer’s stupidity in that pun, but it couldn’t be helped.
Vocalist David Bruno brought a spirited performance with screams that fit well with their heavy breakdowns and thumping mass of sound. Specific elements of Summoning the Lich aren’t my general cup of tea – namely a few of the squealing vocalizations and trigger-filled deathcore devices – but those are more spread out than dominating their varied overall sound, and in concert form, they’re a good time and a solid addition to this bill of differing styles.
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Cognitive brought a palpable energy, bursting out of the gate with a flurry of technical death metal prowess. Vocalist Shane Jost is a proverbial fireball, not so subtly nudging the crowd to match his level of verve, successfully whipping up a notable frenzy. Guitarists Rob Wharton and Harry Lannon bring a thick twin guitar attack that defines the band’s sound, and their riff barrage was most welcome to the masses in attendance.
One of the highlights of Cognitive’s recorded works is the expected rhythmic pummeling, and that unrelenting presence was on full display. Also notable were the band’s persistent hardcore/deathcore influences, and while some purists may be turned off by said nuances, they’re impactfully well-placed and serve what they’re trying to purvey for this writer’s money. Simply said, Cognitive is a force that’s always on the offensive, and they don’t often miss, as evidenced with this evening’s exuberant performance.
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After having a nice chat with lead vocalist Julien “Nutz” Deyres at their merch table (check out our interview with him here), it was time for Deyres to hop onto the stage and begin headliner Gorod’s highly anticipated set.
Putting together this tour in support of The Orb, there were plenty of songs from that album that I was hoping to hear. To my pleasure, just like on their latest opus, we begin with the furious and groovy “Chrematheism” to start their set right. Jazzy technicality prevailed in songs like “Breeding Silence” and “The Path,” with guitarists Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Alberny weaving fretboard magic with every lick. There’s loads of chemistry between these two, and there needs to be in order to tightly play music as complex as Gorod’s live. They, along with the entire band, don’t miss a solitary beat.
My favorite moment of the set was the back-to-back performance of “We Are the Sun Gods” and “The Orb” from the new LP. These two songs connect phenomenally well and display many angles of their sound, with heavy riffs, melodic leads, extraordinary finger tapping pieces, and Deyres immense versatility. His growls have gotten more ferocious as time has gone by, while also honing and flexing his distinctive cleans to construct a perfect concoction. Scintillating and so precise; it was something to behold, capturing every emotional tinge and portraying it in such an effective manner.
Capping off their enticing set with classic tracks “Birds of Sulphur” and “Disavow Your God” couldn’t have been a more fitting crescendo. Both entries encapsulate Gorod’s musicality and keen songwriting prowess while also highlighting their penchant for crafting shredding death metal.
Everyone who attended got everything they could have hoped and a whole lot more. Especially for a mid-week show, the crowd was fully immersed in the varying styles of metal before them, and not a neck in the house was without a little bangover the next morning.
What each band on this show had most in common was an obvious passion for what they do, and the great time they were all having on this tour together shined through in each subsequent performance. It would be impossible to leave Crowbar on this evening not having enjoyed the engaging cornucopia of live music.
Let’s make sure we don’t have such a long gap between seeing Gorod live, as they again proved exactly why they’re one of the leaders in progressive death metal. Engrossing, emotive, and surgically precise while bringing their fans along with them on an aural journey that is top class in all conceivable ways. My only regret was that Gorod was looking forward to some nice Florida weather, and they got nothing but gray skies and windy conditions. Not really what one comes to expect (damn you Florida man), however, let that be a sign of the band returning in the very near future. More Gorod equates to more better, after all.
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