Transcendence EP

Two years after their dizzying third album Process of a New Decline, French tech-death sorcerers Gorod return with this 5-track EP of inspired remakes and re-imaginings, plus one epic of a closer.

First off is “Earth Pus,” a new recording of a track from their 2005 release Neurotripsicks. It’s a blustery, groovy beast, all spidery scramble atop bassline strut. The new recording separates the high and low ends even more, so that it sounds at times as nimble and playful as Process, but with the heavier lurch of 2007’s Leading Vision. The languid passage at the song’s core gets a bit of subtle synth work this time around as well – a nice touch. Ultimately I don’t know if this version was a mandatory re-record, as the original version is still pretty great, but it’s likely here as a setup for what’s to follow.

Now, if you don’t already know “Earth Pus” from its previous incarnation, you may have to listen to the new version a few times before you can link it to “Earth Pus: Salvation.” It’s a scampering, acoustic gypsy-jazz version complete with chiming bells and swelling strings. Basically, French tech death by way of Django Reinhardt, with a bit of the Nutcracker Waltz thrown in for good measure. No, I’m not kidding.

And yeah, that’s certainly a WTF execution for death metal, even for the adventurous antipodes of technical death. However strange it may be, it also shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for Gorod fans. Remember the end of “Hidden Genocide,” the final track on Leading Vision? It closed out with a nimble little acoustic hopalong, and it was so well-rendered and well, charming, that I wondered at the time what an entirely acoustic Gorod or tech-death album might sound like. Well, here it is, with bells on.

The other acoustic re-imagining covers “Blackout,” the third track from Leading Vision, and it’s my favorite of the two radical reinventions: a graceful Spanish flamenco number, complete with clop-clopping percussion. Occasionally you’ll recognize a bass passage or melody from the original “Blackout,” and the ending sequence comes across loud and clear. For the most part though, you can just close your eyes and picture festival lights strung across a moonlit square, beautiful senoritas twirling across the dance floor, their white dresses blooming and fanning out from tanned and shapely legs – wait, I’m still reviewing a death metal album here, right?

The final cover here is of instrumental track “Textures,” from Cynic’s groundbreaking Focus. Unlike the two gypsy-jazz interpretations detailed above, this is a much more straightforward and metallic version. There’s a sharper bite to Gorod’s version, but it remains as fluid and dreamlike as the original, with very little monstrous death metal heft to weigh it down.

And that finally brings us to the title track, a twisty, progressive epic which touches on influences from Zappa to Opeth. Some clean Akerfeldt-style vocals, jazz-fueled flights of fancy, muscular stutter and Cynic-al, double-helical grooviness – this song’s got it all. At fifteen minutes, it’s the longest and most ambitious thing that the band has ever created, and if it’s a sign of things to come, then we’ve got a monster of a full-length to look forward to.

Look, I know everyone’s still feeling tender from Morbid Angel’s bizarre sidestep into mid-90s industrial stomp, so those of you more traditional death metal listeners out there might find this EP to be a bit much. Your loss though (and really, how can a culture so rooted in anti-conformism be so damn conservative sometimes?). Even if the loopy, virtuoso and downright ballsy gypsy-jazz covers make you furrow your brow, the other offerings here still cement what I’ve known for the last five years – that Gorod is one of the most exciting, versatile and creative death metal bands on the planet.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
June 27th, 2011


  1. Commented by: thisblacksession

    This seems vaguely familiar.

  2. Commented by: Clauricaune

    “latin”, “salsa”, “Enrique Iglesias”, “that instrumental is weird and I don’t like it!”

    That other review was amusing.

    I like this EP. Nothing essential here, but it’s still enjoyable.

  3. Commented by: Oceangrave

    Much better!

  4. Commented by: Vegard

    Yeah, where did the other review go? Like Clauricaune said, it was really amusing.

  5. Commented by: Storm King

    Big question is, does this EP has a salsa influence?

    Bless that other review.

  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Did the other review get deleted? Cause I kinda want to read it now after these comments. :P

    Also, Gorod can pull off experiments like these, quite unlike Morbid Angel and their Illud Divinum Anus debacle.

  7. Commented by: Storm King

    Highlights of the now deleted review:

    1. Did not know the first track was a new version of an existing song.

    2. Did not know the acoustic songs were also new versions of an existing song, let alone that one was THE FIRST SONG ON THE EP. Called the two acoustic songs “Salsa.”

    3. Did not know that “Textures” was a Cynic cover.

    All of this while claiming to be a fan of technical death metal.

    It was glorious.

  8. Commented by: Evil In U

    Gorod reviewed by someone who knows what the hell he’s talking about. Good job!

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