Gorod – The Orb (Independent)

Friday, 10th March 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Our first exposure to Gorod was their booking at Maryland Deathfest 2010 – 13 years ago, sheesh – with a scintillating performance that was one of the better ones at the fest. That led to grabbing Process of a New Decline, and we’ve followed them closely since. If familiar with Gorod’s recorded works, one is aware that each release has been different from all the rest, managing to stay incredibly fresh throughout their long career. Æthra was no different, with a significant jazz influence to go along with the band’s technical death metal core, maintaining freshness without tearing apart their ethos. Five years later, Gorod has prepared their latest bundle of creativity with their seventh full-length, The Orb.

A frantic and explosive “Chrematheism” is the opener, with the band harkening to their earlier days of pure groovy technical wizardry. A fretboard tapping showcase kicks off “We Are the Sun Gods” along with some serious hooks, as well as sharp and varied snarls via vocalist Julien Deyres. There’s a ton of melody present, too, along with the many time changes that long time listeners are accustomed to. Single and title track “The Orb” is where a load of different influences merge together, with a synth intro that should be featured on a Stranger Things episode, leading into what is a slower paced and methodical song at its heart. Deyres’ portrays a versatile usage of clean vocals, showing off his potent range of both harmonious beauty and emotive, raw screams. The guitar work has a Hypno5e/Hacride melodic groove feel that is both hard hitting and soulful.

Longest track of the album, “Savitri,” offers a change of pace and time, highlighted by a mesmerizing clean guitar/bass heavy section (don’t forget that gorgeous solo) at the 4 minute mark, allowing the album a moment to breathe. “Breeding Silence” and “Victory” both are reminiscent of recent albums in tonality and tech death quickness, held together by a notable jazz-influenced structure. “Waltz of Shades” is almost literally a death metal waltz with the time signatures. The stop start riffing to go along with the clean guitar breaks are rather hypnotic, resulting in a song where the band walks (or dances) a new path, executed with aplomb. Having a feel of something that could have fit nicely on A Perfect Absolution is “Scale of Sorrows,” while album closer “Strange Days” is a cover of The Doors track with an added Gorod flavor, maintaining the weirdness and vocal stylings of the late Jim Morrison. A surprising addition, but it works well enough.

One of the main positives of The Orb is the varied, precise songwriting chops that have always helped Gorod stand out amongst their peers. Every note is calculated, avoiding the technical death metal chasm of narrowly focusing on making the music as complex as possible, while forgoing writing coherent songs. Gorod has never been guilty of that, making them one of the best examples of how to keep the creative juices flowing and to never become stale or boringly mechanical.

To no surprise, Gorod has another phenomenal addition to their catalog with The Orb. The band have progressed their sound further with adding new twists, while still being definitely grounded and not forgetting where they come from. In a way, The Orb is a celebration of everything that is Gorod. Here’s to keeping the vibe going for many years to come.

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