When you picture France what do you see? Paper thin mustaches? The Eiffel Tower? Romance? Baguettes?
How about death metal? No? Well open your pretty little mind because it’s about time you did. France has been churning out some of the craziest and most forward-thinking metal to hit the masses in years. Acts like Gojira, Benighted, Kronos, and Gorod have been leading the pack with little opposition, and with A Perfect Absolution, Gorod once again show us why we should all bow to them in defiance of all other metal.
A Perfect Absolution sees Gorod stepping up their game once again, infusing unrelenting technicality with stark and inescapable groove to create one of the most awesome and memorable records so far this year. Guitarsits Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Alberny dance poetically around each other in a most hypnotic way, constantly pushing the music forward while keeping the listener on their toes for the entire ride. There are so many genres artfully infused into this album that it’s hard to keep track. Tracks like “Sailing Into The Earth” and “Elements And Spirit” find themselves traversing dual guitar harmonies reminiscent of late-era King Crimson while “The Axe Of God” and “5000 At The Funeral” keep their feet firmly planted in the thralls of death metal’s incessant brutality. “Carved In The Wind” and “Varangian Paradise” even incorporate funk and blues themes that will surprise the listener but never for a second feel out of place. The diversity is really remarkable.
It’s not just the guitars that astound on the record. The rhythm section is so tightly entwined that they’re almost invisible, and I mean that in the best possible way. Their performances, while physically mind-bending, are so tight and complimentary to the overall composition they’re almost omnipotent. Drummer Samuel Santiago delivers one of the most precise and tasteful performances of the year, always making a left when you think he’ll make a right, and keeping the pace and tone of the album right on point. Meanwhile bassist Benoit Claus marches on underneath it all, holding it together like glue. There are no tap-happy bass breaks on the record—which seem to be a trend in death metal as of late—because they’re unnecessary. Claus doesn’t need to show off to prove how he talented he is, it’s painfully present in every pluck of every string throughout the record. It’s this discipline that makes this album a true masterpiece; the perfect accolade to the otherwise ferocious technicality.
There’s a lot to be gained from A Perfect Absolution. At its heart it is a musician’s record, but underneath all of the odd meters and complexity are the (not always s0) subtle grooves that escalate the album to a whole different level in terms of what it means to be a “technical” band. There isn’t a moment of ennui, nor a second that a meter feels out of place. It’s a meticulously crafted album that proves once again that Gorod are far ahead of the pack when it comes to modern death metal.
To get a taste, watch the music video for their first single, “The Axe Of God”, below. The video’s nothing special but the song is fantastic and a great example of what you can expect from this monolith of an album.
A Perfect Absolution – 9.8/10
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
Favorite Song: 5000 At The Funeral
A Perfect Absolution is out now via Unique Leader Records.