Album: The Orb
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Release Date: March 10th, 2023
For Fans Of: Spawn Of Possession, The Faceless, Death
Gorod are one of the best technical death metal bands that I almost never listen to. Their most recent album, 2018’s Aethra, was excellent, but sounded a bit dry and got overshadowed by other releases from the previous yearsuch as Archspire’s Relentless Mutation and Dying Fetus’s Wrong One To Fuck With. 2015’s A Maze Of Recycled Creed was similarly excellent, but was exhausting to listen to and got overshadowed by contemporary releases by Cattle Decapitation and Alkaloid. 2012’s A Perfect Absolution had to deal with Spawn Of Possession and The Faceless. You get the picture. With The Orb, Gorod’s seventh full-length, I’m hoping for the album that finally breaks through for me as the record that is simply excellent without any caveats.
Gorod are a French technical death metal band that started in the mid-2000s. While they’ve had some shifts in their approach to songwriting, the core of their songs remain the same: tight, clean, and ferocious guitars on three-to-five minute songs with the occasional bass, drum, or vocal spotlight.
Gorod’s production has always been a sticking point for me, so let’s start there. The production isn’t as off as on A Maze Of Recycled Creeds. The songs sound clearer and fuller than on early albums such as Neurotripsicks. Every note rings clear. While this lets the dual guitar approach sparkle, it does come with a cost, which is that the album doesn’t feel as heavy as other death metal releases. Instead of sounding like lightning striking a tree, The Orb sounds as if it’s floating in space. That’s not necessarily good or bad, and in certain moods I’d prefer to listen to this over a heavier album.
The guitars that are so vital to Gorod’s identity remain. They will trade off riffs, slide solos in between a solid foundation, and provide a staccato attack that gives The Orb a unique identity among death metal releases so far this year. Gorod have been able to stick around for twenty years because they are fantastic players, and The Orb shows them maintaining their proficiency.
The drums feel more important than usual on Gorod records, at least to me. The Orb contains good uses of blast beats to really ramp up up energy, but more importantly contains long stretches of softer swing beats, some exclusive tom drum passages, and rambunctious moments that serve as a nice variety to the typical onslaught that these types of records sometimes have.
The bass, while not as clear as on some Gorod releases, still shines. It doesn’t quite act as a third guitar, as it spends some time supplementing both guitars rather than providing melodic lines on its own, but with The Orb’s production having this low end support prevents the somewhat fragile sound of Gorod from completely imploding. The growling vocals sound as good as always, but the cleans would have been better left off the album. Luckily the clean vocals aren’t on every song, and aren’t too much of a detriment when they do show up.
My biggest concern about The Orb is that it doesn’t really change anything about the band. At this point in Gorod’s career they are what they are. And yes, “what they are” means that this is another top-shelf death metal release. But in five years, I honestly don’t know that I’ll have listened to The Orb anymore than I’ve listened to Aethra up to this point. The ultimate reason behind my past reluctance with this band has been that while they tend to play their music well and to write intriguing guitar passages, the end result is a bunch of interesting guitar passages stapled together in a vaguely death metal shape with some other instruments draped on top. They write excellent and unique music, but not necessarily memorable, distinct songs.
While The Orb didn’t solve any of my past gripes with Gorod, it does continue Gorod’s trend of releasing top-notch technical death metal with absolutely no compromises to their artistic approach. More time is needed to know if this is the album that finally manages to permanently implant Gorod into my brain on a regular basis, but regardless Gorod have accomplished something marvelous with The Orb. I recommend this to anyone interested in strong guitar playing.
- We Are The Sun Gods
- The Orb
- Breeding Silence
- Waltz Of Shades
- Scale Of Sorrows
- Strange Days
Total Playing Time: 42:06