Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gorod - A Perfect Absolution

Gorod's A Perfect Absolution the fourth full-length entry into the ongoing saga of these French metallers' discography. After 2009's Process Of A New Decline I was pretty damn skeptical. That album failed me on several levels. I initially enjoyed it, blinded by the glistening, mechanized guitarwork. As I listened though, I grew bored and eventually found Process to be a dull, uninspired and overproduced album compared to their high-profile early material (Gorgasm to Neurotripsticks and Leading Vision). It was a big disappointment in a year of great music.

So then Gorod released A Perfect Absolution this past Monday, and after seeing the cover, many people cried foul. The bright colors and odd design made people wary of just how poor Gorod's last release was, and many approached A Perfect Absolution with skepticism.

I was included in that group, but I came out pleasantly surprised. On A Perfect Absolution we have a more mature Gorod that realizes the importance of rhythm. Bassist Benoit Claus is a fiend on this album with layered, heavily textured basslines that keep time with the melody. The low-frequencies are present in the mix, even though it is pretty clean overall. The fact the mixing is vastly improved is enough for me to enjoy it over the previous release, where the mixing was awful and the bass was all but inaudible.

Add in inventive neoclassical and jazz-influenced riffs and you have yourself a winner. That's exactly what Gorod do.

Guitarists Nicolas Alberny and Mathieu Pascal weave in and out of tracks like two ancient dragons entwining out of Asian myth. Their movements are precise, fluid, and often long-winded. Their riffs often reach beauteous breaks and apexes, like on "The Axe Of God" or "Elements And Spirit," and other times they find themselves furiously flailing around like on the headbanging closer "Tribute Of Blood."  There's a few clean vocals scattered throughout, like on "The Axe Of God," and I'm not entirely sure how I feel. They fit the progressive nature of the album at least. "5000 At The Funeral" is another track that makes use of progressive elements to further its long, fluid introduction. Other tracks like "Varangian Paradise" with its tropical interlude and "Elements And Spirit" with its jazziness make A Perfect Absolution feel quite progressive as opposed to their more technical earlier releases.

The concept behind all these interesting tracks is the story of a 10th century King Of Kiev who traveled to gather tribute from a neighboring people known as the Drevlians. They tied his limbs to trees, bent down, and released them causing him to be torn limb from limb. His wife took revenge in creative ways such as agreeing to a proposal to meet with the Drevlian ruler, after burying all his messenger's alive. All the high ranking members came to the feast and she had all 5,000 of them killed in the night. Then she forced the neighboring power to submit to her will, and afterwards ironically converted to Christianity. She became a saint for her actions. The cover image is supposed to be of her in some mystical fury-driven state, and I find it pretty fucking sweet despite the design being a little bizarre.

The production is a bit clean at times (during solos, which I guess is appropriate) and sometimes the sweeping in say "Birds Of Sulphur" feels a bit trite. Other than that I feel like Gorod have released a pseudo-return to form album with some really catchy riffs and a better understanding of their appeal. I find A Perfect Absolution  an impressive feat from a band that I nearly dismissed when their last album released.

8.0 out of 10


1. Birds of Sulphur

2. Sailing Into the Earth

3. Elements and Spirit

4. The Axe of God

5. 5000 at the Funeral

6. Carved in the Wind

7. Varangian Paradise

8. Tribute of Blood

Unique Leader.

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