Gorod
Aethra

A staple and standout in the tech death metal scene since 2005s Neurotripsicks, France’s Gorod have delivered 5 albums of superb technical, yet playful and catchy death metal. And I’ll admit that I was a little concerned about the band switching to their own label, Overpowered Records, for album number 6, as this might indicate a change in style of quality that a regular label might not be willing to take a chance on. And to some extent, the use of some more shouted sort of clean vocals overlaying and complementing the more traditional growls and rasps (think Decapitated and Psycroptic), does indicate a slight change in direction, but fear not little else has changed.

And the forgetful, choppy opening track “Wolfsmond” does little to really alleviate any concerns, but second track, the deeply conceptual “Bekhten’s Curse” bursts open with the band’s signature, addictive,  jazzy, and once again happy,  catchy take on tech death metal that turns the genre on its head. Even with the focus on more shouted vocals, its an outstanding track. The title track comes next with an almost 6-minute foray into more tempered, progressive yet still tech death metal pastures, and it works well.

“The Sentry” is a classic Gorod paced and styled track, with staccato, melodic stops and starts, while one of my favorite tracks, “Hina” delivers a real surge of classically inspired melodic energy and urgency, showing the band is still effortlessly, atop of the hill. “And the Moon Turns Black”, sees the band more straight up brutal tech death with some nice stop-start groove and stomp, but still flocked with supine guitar work and a nice short sharp keyboard burst, that’s a pleasant if short lived surprise.

Things get super playful and jazzy for my other favorite track, “Chandra and the Maiden”, but goddamn it just makes me smile from ear to ear, shred my air guitar and drums, yet still manages to use blast beats effectively, and makes me tell my self how really good these guys are. After that wonderful ditty, “Goddess of Dirt” goes straight for the throat with a more direct burst of burly, hefty tech death energy, showing the band can simply do it all. But on a dime, the next track “Inexorable”, a slow waltz-y number, then as if to show off, they deliver some of the album’s most truly jaw-dropping guitar work for the closer, “A Light Unseen”.

Yet another stunning album from these French masters of the genre and where Obscura’s 2018 release, Diluvium, didn’t really register with me for some reason, Gorod and Aethra absolutely hits the spot and delivers one of the year’s best pure tech death albums.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
December 2nd, 2018

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