posted on 8/2006 By:
Fan though I am of Willowtip Records’ output in general, I thought one of Willowtip’s weakest releases last year was the first album by this band under the Gorod moniker, Neurotripsicks. Though the band certainly fit the label’s bill stylistically, their songwriting left something to be desired; the songs were technically impressive and featured the occasional catching moment, but the constant tech-death angularities were clumsy and rarely fit together into cogent songs. Leading Vision, on the other hand, has pleasantly surprised me. By shedding some of the deliberate abrasiveness, Gorod has become a nimbler and more progressively-oriented act with a much more appealing and memorable sound.
This shouldn’t be taken to mean that they’ve abandoned technical death metal and taken to writing 20-minute prog odysseys about string theory or whatnot; the band is still named Gorod and they still adhere to an intense, death-rooted musical archetype. The prime improvement made here has been a relaxation of the convoluted approach to songwriting that appeared in their previous work; where guitarists Mat and Arnaud were once constrained to more dissonant, abrupt chordplay, they’re now free to stretch their legs and develop more interesting melodic themes. Drummer Sandrine was never really a shredder in the standard tech death tradition, but her comparatively simple backbeats now work to the band’s advantage by providing a pervasive sense of even groove. The result is a definite prog-metal tint to much of the precedings. “Blackout” and “Life Controller” both feature intricate palm-muted note interplay that calls Mastodon of all bands to mind, and the former then segues into a brief but excellent lead section that’s got more in common with Chuck Schuldiner’s rock-flavored technique than the empty, ultra-clean Muhammed Suicmez stylings that colored much of Gorod’s older solos. Possibly the album’s best riffing is delivered during ‘single’ “Chronicle From the Stone Age,” which features a number of incredibly neat circular grooves before launching into infectious, turbocharged melodeath a la labelmates Neuraxis. Despite its more disjointed and irritating structure, “Edaenia 2312” revisits Neurotripsicks’s most appealing aspects, especially emphasizing the band’s very Anata-like proclivity for hypnotic tapped melody. The sum effect of the little stylistic tweaks this band’s executed since their previous effort elevates them from throwaway status to a very listenable death metal band that still require repeated listening.
And make no mistake, you’re not gonna pick up on everything going on with these songs the first time around. Though Leading Vision is less daunting than its predecessor, it’s still an extremely cerebral listen (as if this review wasn't a clue) that will offer little in the way of immediate gratification. The abstract melodies and non-linear songs are still of sufficient complexity to put off those who don’t actively dig technical death metal, but those who enjoy the genre will find Gorod’s latest to be a solidly entertaining contribution. Decapitated, Spawn of Possession and Anata are still the forerunners for 2006’s technical death album of the year, but Leading Vision will undoubtedly crop up as a dark horse for a goodly number of listeners.
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Process Of A New Decline