GOROD– “The Orb” 

 by Thor

French tech-death squad Gorod is back with a new LP called “The Orb” featuring nine tracks of precise, picture-perfect extreme metal played by real humans.

These guys have been around in one iteration or another for over 25 years now, but I’ve only heard them in passing. Also, the older I get, the less appealing I find tech-death, tech-polka, or tech-anything. So, finding myself compelled to analyze GOROD’s music at this point in my life and at this point in their careers should have presented a bit of an interesting conundrum. But the interesting thing is that it did not. At least not in the ways I expected.

The thing that’s immediately apparent is that unlike many of their tech-contemporaries, GOROD and their production team have gone to great lengths to imbue this album with a palpable sense of organic instruments and the musicians who play them, which is a novel idea in 2023, to be sure. Make no mistake, everything is tighter than a gnat’s asshole, and things have surely been processed to death…or to tech-death, I guess, but the apparent effort to provide the illusion of meat and emotion here is laudable.

Another interesting attribute of “The Orb” is that, while it’s also obviously apparent just how well these guys can play their instruments, the band seems to show quite a bit of restraint, keeping their compositions within the realm of approachable song structures, at least relatively. For example, where a band like ARCHSPIRE goes absolutely bananas 100% of the time, GOROD pulls back and leans into the familiar sensibilities of Music Past from a fairly wide swath of influences. So, while some tech-death merchants make it difficult to latch onto anything familiar, GOROD somehow makes it difficult not to. It’s quite a trick.

There are a few big swings here that miss the mark for me. For example, I can do without the attempts at clean singing. Or the cover of THE DOORS’ “Strange Days.” But, by and large, GOROD’s “The Orb” ends up being the rare tech-death album that not only doesn’t exhaust, overwhelm, or bore me, but rather it seems to have had something of a shelf life in my rotation.

Fans of CATTLE DECAPITATION, NECROPHAGIST, and BEYOND CREATION will find a lot here to chew on.