Gorod – Transcendence EP Review

Transcendence EP

The French are becoming some serious contenders in the metal world as of late.  With bands like Gojira, Benighted, Kronos, and Goryptic continuously proving that there is no single formula to follow in metal, it’s no surprise to see technical death metal masters Gorod still challenging the general idea of what it means to be a metal band.  Ever since the release of their debut full length Neurotripsticks in 2005, Gorod have continuously explored and reinvented their style, ultimately turning into one of the most prolific and interesting bands working today.

With the release of their new EP, Transcendence, Gorod have once again put forth a very versatile offering that’s sure to please any fan of music in general, not just metal.  Craving some stellar musicianship?  Like a little melody tossed into your heavy metal salad?  Enjoy a frenzy of well thought out “weedily weedily” riffs?  Look no further, my friends.

Most of Transcendence consists of re-recordings and re-imaginings of some of Gorod‘s earlier work, along with a cover of the classic Cynic tune, “Textures“.  Don’t let this dissuade you, however; it is anything but a lazy attempt at putting out “new” material.

The first track, “Earth Pus” is a re-recorded version of the track off of Neurotripsticks.  It’s painfully evident how far the members have progressed as musicians with this song.  The playing is tighter, the guitar work more creative, and the overall production has been amped up heavily, giving the song a more contemporary sound without sacrificing the organic elements that seem to be slowly fading away in this day and age of digital production.  It’s the perfect introduction to what you can expect from the rest of the EP.

Blackout: Renewed Souls” is an acoustic version of a song from their second album, Leading Vision.  “Grandpa’s guitars in metal,” you ask?  Oh yeah, and I won’t lie, I think it’s fucking awesome.  This song, along with the other acoustic track on the record, “Earth Pus: Salvation” are some serious demonstrations of just how talented and ambitious these guys really are.  They’re never boring, and more importantly, they still have a “heaviness” underlying them that only Gorod could pull off.

The highlight of the EP, and the whole reason for its existence as far as I’m concerned, is the 15 minute epic, the title track, “Transcendence”.  Holy shit.  I’ve listened to this song going on a dozen times in the past couple days and my jaw is still dragging on the floor.  It’s utterly fantastic.  By far the best thing these guys have ever recorded.  It touches on every aspect of their career up to this point, while simultaneously progressing forward as they’ve always been known to do.  It’s got some of the best and most intriguing guitar work I’ve heard all year.  Founding member Mathieu Pascal and newcomer Nicolas Alberny weave some of the most complex and hypnotic guitar lines I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to, flowing seamlessly from one to the next without the slightest misstep.  It’s utterly enchanting.

Rarely can a band actually pull off a 15 minute long song without becoming redundant and uninteresting, especially in metal.  But Gorod don’t give you the option of becoming bored.  The song is constantly shapeshifting, going from one extreme to the next, and it’s done so flawlessly you barely even notice it’s happening.

Also worth mentioning is the band’s newest addition, vocalist Julien “Nutz” Deyres.  He fits right in with the bands bewitching style, shifting from deep guttural growls, to raspy black metal-esque shrieks, to atmospheric clean singing wherever the music calls for it.  It adds a very compelling element to the music, especially since the vocals are so tastefully done.  They’re never overpowering or feel out of place; Deyres gives the musicians and melodies ample room to breathe and strut their stuff whenever necessary.

I know not every one here is a metal fan, or even into metal music at all, but I strongly suggest that everyone give this EP a shot.  It will suck you in and play to the deepest and darkest parts of your soul.  And the good news is, you’ve got nothing to lose.  MetalSucks is currently streaming the entire EP for free!  You have to hurry though, it will only be up for a few days.

So give it a go, and if you fall in love with it like I have, make sure to order your copy from Gorod‘s webstore.  I dare you to be disappointed.

Transcendence EP – 9.3/10

Track Listing:
1. Earth Pus
2. Blackout: Renewed Souls
3. Textures
4. Earth Pus: Salvation
5. Transcendence

Favorite Song:  Transcendence

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