Quick Review: GOROD A Maze of Recycled Creeds
I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority of bands that dare to call themselves technical death metal are “good bands,” insofar as they are musically tight and could beat the pants off of most amateur practitioners of the craft. And yet so few of them can get the hell out of their own way and write a decent song.
Gorod actually achieved this feat a few times over on their 2006 album Leading Vision, which popped up like a trippy little mushroom in the middle a torrential downpour. Not merely content to duct-tape a bunch of sweep arpeggios together and call it an album, Leading Vision was a minor revelation. Still a wildly dexterous album, it was guided more by feeling than a suffocating need for precision.
But then band members, as they are wont to do, started melting away, taking with them all the little things that helped Gorod stand out. Drummer Sandrine Bourguignon’s immaculate sense of groove and control (see: "Blackout") was dearly missed on the 2009 follow-up, Process of a New Decline, which exhibited a lot more speed and a much higher rate of RPS (Riffs Per Song), but little in the way of personality or, y’know, songs and stuff. Then, few years later, A Perfect Absolution completed the transformation into Faceless Tech Death Band #2,341.
A Maze of Recycled Creeds, for what it’s worth, is a solid, if slightly tentative, step step back in the right direction. Guitarist and primary creative force Mathieu Pascal has definitely loosened up a bit when it comes to writing riffs, reviving the jangly fun of Leading Vision and Neurotripsicks. At times, especially on “Celestial Nature,” “Inner Alchemy,” and “Rejoice Your Soul,” Gorod sound as good and as weird as they ever have.
And yet your enjoyment of it will depend a lot on how much you like munching riff salad. Pascal and co. rarely stick with an idea for more than a few measures before pulling a 180 and speeding off into yet another technically impressive but ultimately non-contextual passage. The point of diminishing returns is reached fairly quickly.
That said, if tech-death is your jam then this album will probably knock your socks off or at least pull them part way down. They can definitely play and when they follow an idea to its logical conclusion, like they used to do so effortlessly on songs like “Thirst For Power,” they still rule pretty hard. I just think they can do a lot better.