A Perfect Absolution

01. Birds Of Sulphur
02. Sailing Into The Earth
03. Elements And Spirit
04. The Axe Of God
05. 5000 At The Funeral
06. Carved In The Wind
07. Varangian Paradise
08. Tribute of Blood

[Unique Leader Records]

2012 has been an obscenely great year for death metal in all of its many forms. Cannibal Corpse, Aborted, and Abominable Putridity are keeping things on the brutal end of the pool nice and warm (oh god what), and things are better than ever for prog and tech death; Noyan recently made the claim that Spawn of Possession‘s Incurso was the best tech death album ever. Here we are, not even a month later, and the title is already being contested by French progressive/technical death metallers Gorod. Much like the phoenix emblazoning the brilliant cover art, the band have survived crippling lineup changes and have risen from the ashes, going from dwindling uncertainty to magnum opus in record time; and like the artwork, the music held within A Perfect Absolution is just as dazzling and colorful.

If it wasn’t abundantly clear, the Gorod that we hear on A Perfect Absolution is not the same Gorod that released their debut album Neurotripsicks in 2005. Hell, this isn’t even the same Gorod that released 2009’s Process of a New Decline. What we have here is another case of a band transforming itself through the revolving door of musicians over the years, leaving the band with founding core, guitarist Mathieu Pascal and bassist Benoit Claus. Gorod now have a much more refined and accessible sound, ramping up their melodic and progressive elements on A Perfect Absolution. From a songwriting standpoint, A Perfect Absolution is easily their most memorable and well-crafted album to date. You’re not likely to find death metal riffs this catchy anywhere else.

For being such a highly respected band in a genre known for being filled with unnecessary wank, Gorod keeps their technicality at a level that is tasteful and respectful while maintaining a high sense of melody. There are hooks all over A Perfect Absolution, from the climactic bellowing of ‘Birds of Sulphur‘ to the off-the-wall riffing of ‘Tribute of Blood.‘ Every track has ‘that moment’ that makes it a memorable highlight, which was a factor that their contemporaries Beneath the Massacre and Psycroptic failed to fully accomplish earlier in the year, despite how great both of those albums were. I can confidently say that there is not a single moment of filler on A Perfect Absolution.

On that note, Gorod undoubtedly shines their brightest when they’re at their most experimental, as exemplified in the two penultimate tracks ‘Carved In The Wind’ and ‘Varangian Paradise,’ which both dabble in wildly spectacular feats of funk and samba, respectively. This is a style that Gorod are proficient in, and it’s a shame that they don’t do this sort of thing more often. After all, not many bands can just jump into a funk jam and make it work in the context of the song, but the flow between the intricate death metal riffing and the grooving wah-wah and bass grooves feels like a natural occurrence. On top of that, we’re treated to guest solos from the likes of Obscura‘s Christian Muenzner and The Faceless‘ Michael Keene.

What we have in A Perfect Absolution is a band at the peak of their career, making waves and breaking new ground. This is a record where Gorod are at their most mature, crafting their most cohesive and well-put together album to date — easily a contender for album of the year. Listen carefully, because A Perfect Absolution is the future of death metal. Mark my words.

Gorod – A Perfect Absolution gets…


– JR


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