Gorod - The Orb
Base Productions
Technical Death Metal
9 songs (42:06)
Release year: 2023
Reviewed by Goat

Moving on at least laterally from 2018's divisive Aethra, French technicians Gorod have returned with a surprisingly low-key seventh full-length. Those who were used to the more modern, prog-tinged experimentalism of Aethra will be a little nonplussed to find The Orb turning back towards the band's earlier, more out-there technicality - going backward being a kind of progression for certain groups, sure, but it's not the easiest of sells! Here, however, the songwriting strengths remain nearly as sharply honed as the instrumental skills, Gorod remaining a band uniquely illdisposed to selling out or turning into metalcore. Far from it; there are pieces here such as We Are the Sun Gods which must be the band's best, catchiest tech-death songs in a few years if not albums thanks to its melodic instrumental interplays! And although throughout The Orb the quality levels remain high, the cohesiveness suffers a little, making this indeed a fine collection of Gorod songs if not quite as good a Gorod album.

It takes a true tech nerd to tell the difference, of course, but when you're operating on this level such nitpicks are relevant. There's much present to delight the casual ear, particularly the more melodic and even Latin vibes of Savitri, which develops into a nicely epic old-Opeth-esque peak by the end of its near-seven minute runtime. Even relative stompers such as opener Chrematheism have plenty of the band's usual groovy hooks to draw the ear, while at the most melodic edge the title track has clean vocals and electronic backing, like some alt-universe Soilwork and Gojira mash-up. By and large Gorod stick to the tech-death, however, with hints of hardcore aggression in the likes of Breeding Silence only adding to the impact of the groovy riffing and widdly leadwork.

As ever with this band, the guitars are the true highlight, and Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Alberny remain MVPs when it comes to instrumental skills, only rivalled here by the fantastic drumming of Karol Diers. Directly comparing The Orb to past glories, perhaps it continues a little too well in the path furrowed by Aethra in being inferior to them in sheer sharpness of songcraft, if worthy of examination in its own right - process of a new decline, indeed! At least bonus track Strange Days, a wearily-but-not-ineffectively-sung cover of The Doors with plenty of tech death lead widdles, does enough to surprise and entrance, and it more than fits into Gorod's strange wheelhouse. A band as worth following as ever, even if you're far more likely to reach for any of their first five albums than what came after.

Killing Songs :
We Are the Sun Gods, Savitri, Scale of Sorrows
Goat quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Gorod that we have reviewed:
Gorod - Aethra reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Gorod - A Perfect Absolution reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Gorod - Process Of A New Decline reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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