On flyers for their gigs in France, Gorod are often described in parentheses as Death Metal/Jazz. The glib addition of the catch all term of jazz could well arouse the cynical side of your nature, but when it comes to Gorod this is a full and well founded encompassing of their sound. However for them, being jazzy does not mean a couple of swing sections or sporadic use of unusual Fifths. It is a root and branch approach to composition that is as fulfilling as it is expansive; as though Mathieu Pascal & co write their music wearing Duke Ellington’s socks or a favourite hat of Django Reinhardt.
A Maze of Recycled Creeds is Gorod’s 5th full length release and their first with new drummer Karol Diers behind the kit. It is immensely characterful and tobally expressive Technical Death Metal, but more so than their previous albums, it acts a lost piece of continuity between Dave Mustaine’s period of greatness and today’s bombastic TDM. In many ways this record could be a jumping off point for a proto-progressive Thrash scene should have been but never was. Such is the spiralling flair and thoughtful gloss that pervades the riffs and how they embed themselves into the songs.
Gorod have always been a band whose music portrays the personalities of the current members of the band and this has never been truer than today. Karol Diers might have had one of the toughest tasks in metal; taking over from the punchy and powerful Sam Santiago, but his presence is keenly felt. His style is to surge behind the riffs, lifting them up onto a high platform where they can be best seen. He achieves this through a debonair and jazzy flair that doesn’t reply overly on one set of techniques. His astute musical mind allows for searingly cohesive songs that may not be bursting with the superficial power of the last 2 albums, are resolute, complicated and formidable.
The guitars are densely written and filled with reams of layered articulation, which, I’m certain, have guitarists all over the world gurning with a surfeit of delight and jealousy. Riffs that blend funk and thrash are fused with casual aplomb to passages of expansive jazzy progressivism, which I’m sure can act as exemplars of how to combine technique heavy playing and song writing to anyone looking to enhance their own craft. Barby’s bass work is as fluid and innovative as on prior releases, so it is a joy to hear it slightly louder in the mix than in the past.
Conceptually the lyrics of Julian Dereyes require an in depth analysis all of their own. But his vocal stylings, which stay away from cliched DM fry techniques are always in keeping with the mood of the music and add a resonant and malevolent underpinning with their subtle and varied application.
It is impossible to experience music through words, so no matter how much I rhapsodise about solos or atmosphere it won’t become clear until you have listened to this album several times yourself. So I will conclude by saying that this is a prowling, explorative, complex, intelligent work of effervescent skill; that while it may not have the chiselled immediacy of A Perfect Absolution, it has a dark intensity all of its own that needs to be pathologically explored.
The album is available to pre-order now and is released on October 15th.
– John Whitmore