The Orb

France’s tech-death metal gods, Gorod, return with The Orb – their seventh album.  Holy smokes I did not realize how time has flown by and the band is self-releasing this through Bandcamp.

For me, the best tech-death metal bands are First Fragment, Gorod and Obscura.  I know, I know there’s like a bajillion of tech-death bands, but these are my top three.  Over the course of Gorod’s existence, they have gone through a few musical changes.  Primarily starting out as a straight tech-death metal band, then adding jumpy progressive jazz fusion moments, which the band has continued to hone and craft with the last 3 albums, prior to The Orb.  On The Orb we 8 original songs and an insanely enthralling cover of “Strange Days”, by The Doors.

“Chrematheism” begins with straight-forward blasting before slowing down, then erupting into a monster jazzy groove with an absolute monster growl and the signature Gorod sound is there in full force.  “We Are the Sun Gods” with the monster blasts and the jumpy guitar riffing is quite breathtaking and the lead guitar riff, and melodies, are just light years above so many tech-death metal bands.  It’s to the point I find it quite amusing as this is complex music, but how Gorod can make these songs so damn catchy..it’s really beyond me.  The guitar solo at the 2-minute mark, reminds me of something Marty Friedman would do, and then the song traverses into an atmospheric, flamenco moment…something the band has flirted with in the past to great effect.  This classical, Flamenco-influenced moment, takes us on quite a journey-especially those drums!!  Listen to how insane the drumbeat is.  This part is a strong instrumental moment before some far away vocals come in, then the death metal vocals of Julien “Nutz” Deyres return.  The song’s stop n start moments are dizzying.  One moment I don’t know whether to headbang, do a swing-type of ball room-esque escapade across the floor or just listen in wonderment as to the talent Gorod possesses.

The title track is more accessible, as it features spoken word moments and some commercialized moments.  I find a very strong Cynic prog influence on this track.  It’s still metal, though, but definitely, a slight departure from the music Gorod usually writes.  It matters not as the song is excellent with incredible guitar solos towards the end.  The song is a mid-paced prog crunch fest with so many varying musical/vocals changes.  I’d welcome more of this type of style on their next album.

In 1967 The Doors released the Strange Days album, which features one of my favorite songs from them – the title track.  Gorod figured let’s take a stab at this classic rock song title and OMG….Gorod makes this track their own, while still retaining the majority of the key elements which make the original so special. We get the organ-based synth, just like the original, and then the washed-out vocals, with a potential vocoder effect-but he sounds like Jim Morrison-fantastic.  The guitar soloing that erupts as the song reaches a crescendo, before the catchy chorus, is EPIC…  The song features some off-kilter drumming and the double bass drums, accompanying it, are a thing of beauty.  The main guitar riff emulates the original perfectly.  I was listening to this track, blindly at the gym, for the first time and I was like…they covered The Doors..what the heck??…then I proceeded to repeat this song, like 20x/in a row..no joke.

The production on The Orb is excellent and the instruments…every one of them, and the bass guitar are crystal clear and at times, quite pummeling.  The drum sound is chest collapsing-I love it.  Gorod continues to be exciting, original and ever-advancing in the over-saturated tech-death metal scene.  The jazz moments, brutality, proggy jumpy rhythm section are mind-boggling awesome.

I know it’s pretty early for 2023, but there will have to be something so dynamite coming out this year in order to usurp this as the best tech-death metal album, of 2023.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
March 13th, 2023


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