Jan 092013

After taking an extra day to collect my thoughts about what should come next on this list, which is sort of like trying to collect hummingbirds, I’m prepared to resume.

This is Part 11 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day (almost) until the list is finished, I’m posting at least two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

2012 was a banner year for what could be broadly termed technical death metal. I do think that’s a broad term, which could encompass everything from Hate Eternal or the ephemeral Necrophagist to Atheist, from the brutal and largely atonal to the melodic and experimental. But across that range, 2012 was a great year.

I will say that as much as I enjoy “tech death”, “infectious” isn’t a word I would often apply to the music. It can be galvanizing and even intellectually involving without being memorable. But the songs I’m adding today were both. Continue reading »

Aug 282012

(A Perfect Absolution, the 2012 album by Gorod, has been one of the highlights of the year for us. Our brother groverXIII (a/k/a Professor D. Grover the XIII) reviewed that album for NCS here, calling it “the best tech-death album of a year that’s been very, very good for tech-death.” Today, we’re pleased to give you groverXIII’s e-mail interview with guitarist and principal Gorod songwriter Mathieu Pascal.)

Greetings. For the record, please state your name, rank, and serial number.

Mathieu PASCAL, guitar player and composer, 100% Heavy Cotton Made in France, no drywash.


With NeurotripsicksLeading Vision, Process Of A New Decline, Transcendence, and now A Perfect Absolution, you’ve created five of the most memorable, catchy tech-death releases that I have ever heard. How do you guys manage to craft such intricate melodies without having the songs descend into mindless chaos?

Mat : Woow, thanks !! Actually, I usually try to focus on groove and melodies, because I think those are the things everyone can understand and record. I always try to make simple music, that you can headbang to easily. Intricacy comes in a second time. The music must be clear the first time you hear it, with rhythm and harmony. Then, when you come closer, you can hear details and layers and actual intricacy. Even with odd time signatures or overstrung harmony, there’s always a way to make the song consistent, clear and logical. You can’t just pick random notes and queue them on a time grid. Maybe it will sound new and original like « no one has ever made this before », but you’d lose energy and emotions. And people are mostly sensitive to these points in a first listen.


Was it a challenge to replace two band members and still maintain that distinctive Gorod sound?

Mat: It was a challenge for Nico [Alberny] and Julien [Deyres]. Julien had to replace Guillaume [Martinot] for the tour with Cattle Decapitation like two weeks after Guillaume decided to leave. We were looking for someone who could bring something new to our sound, and something that would serve the music. We didn’t want a clone of Guillaume, maybe it was just the right time for us to evolve. Julien has a really wide range of vocals and he’s able to enhance each ambiance in the music, to illustrate more closely the lyrics, etc… Continue reading »

Jul 312012

In case people have forgotten, instrumental metal works just fine at this site, because . . . if there is no singing in the metal, then there can be no clean singing in the metal. Get it?

Over the last few days, I’ve accumulated enough new discoveries to justify this post. The first one is just a news item (no music, unfortunately), but for the rest I have listenings — quite varied listenings, and quite good, and all by solo artists. The subjects are Cloudkicker (U.S.), Alexander Bateman (U.S.), You Big Ox (U.S.), and Gorod guitarist Mathieu Pascal (France).


Cloudkicker is Ohio denizen Ben Sharp. Cloudkicker was the first of the so-called “bedroom guitarist” projects to hit my radar screen, and I fell hard for the music. I was late to the party, of course. I found out about Cloudkicker in 2010 after one of this site’s original co-founders turned me on to Sharp’s 2008 debut album, The Discovery. His 2010 album, Beacons, made many of our 2010 lists of the year’s best albums, and I even picked one of the songs from the album for our list of 2010’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

I subsequently discovered many other then-solo guitar instrumentalists, including Tosin Abasi, Dan Dankmeyer, Keith Merrow, Tre Watson, and Chimp Spanner, but the memory of that first Cloudkicker discovery has stayed with me. So I was excited to see the report on Ben Sharp’s tumblr that he plans to release a new Cloudkicker album called Fade in August. It will go up on the Cloudkicker Bandcamp page, and we’ll report when that happens, as soon as we find out. Continue reading »

Jun 012012

Here at NCS, we are massive fans of Gorod’s 2012 album, A Perfect Absolution. Few tech-death bands in the world have such a flair for combining wonderfully intricate and heavy compositions with memorable melodies.

So it brought a smile to my face to see that Gorod today released a video of them performing “Elements and Spirit” at Rock School Barbey in Bordeaux, France a few weeks ago. Watching and listening to the video made my smile even bigger.

Watch, and smile, at Gorod in their element . . . right after the jump. Continue reading »

Apr 302012

May 8 is the official North American release date for the fantastic new album by Gorod, A Perfect Absolution. Our man groverXIII reviewed that album for NCS here, calling it “the best tech-death album of a year that’s been very, very good for tech-death.”

And because groverXIII is a full-service blogger, he also promptly alerted us to the fact that about an hour ago Gorod released an official video for “The Axe of God”, a song that features Michael Keene of The Faceless on the song’s second guitar solo.

The video is basically performance footage shot from different angles. The song comes close to epitomizing what makes Gorod special in the world of tech death: As grover noted in his review, they have a knack for writing and performing songs that are both amazingly intricate and amazingly catchy, with memorable melodies. Check out “The Axe of God” after the jump. Continue reading »

Mar 162012

(groverXIII reviews the new album by Gorod, which will be released by Listenable Records on March 23 in Europe and by Unique Leader on May 8 in North America.)

Holy fuck, I love Gorod.

This is not a new development, of course. I first became a fan back when Process Of A New Decline was released, which just happened to be around the time that I really started getting into technical death metal. I started with Necrophagist and Obscura’s Cosmogenesis, along with Cynic’s Traced In Air, but Process was the first time that tech-death really, truly clicked for me. It wasn’t an immediate thing, of course… it took several listens before the seemingly incomprehensible mass of sweeping and tapping began to make sense, and several more listens before I really started to understand the ridiculously complex song structures, but by then, I was well and truly hooked. Gorod did what I had previously thought impossible by making tech-death catchy.

Since then, I’ve searched for another tech-death band with that same knack for writing those complex, yet unbelievably catchy tunes, and while I have discovered a lot of great bands, none have managed to truly top Process. I imagine that this is somewhat akin to what junkies and serial killers go through, constantly and futilely chasing that initial high. Still, I have one advantage that they don’t have… Gorod could always release an album that manages to outdo themselves, even in my mind.

Is A Perfect Absolution that album? At this point, I’d have to say no. But that’s not to say that this is a bad album; far from it, in fact. A Perfect Absolution is, in my humble opinion, the best tech-death album of a year that’s been very, very good for tech-death. When you consider the fantastic new albums from bands like Spawn Of Possession, Psycroptic, Xenocide, Bloodshot Dawn, Gory Blister, and Innerty, as well as decent releases from the likes of Veil Of Maya, Beneath The MassacreKetha, Deformitas Pictura, and Slice The Cake, this is saying quite a bit. It’s not so much a negative statement regarding any of those releases, so much as it is a statement of just how fucking good A Perfect Absolution is. Continue reading »

Mar 122012

No, that’s not the cover to Gorod’s new album. It’s part of the artwork for a forthcoming 7″ by New Zealand’s Heresiarch. We’ve posted the Gorod cover many times already, and I thought the Heresiarch art was so sick that it should be shared.

Okay, that didn’t make a lot of sense, did it? Gorod and Heresiarch have nothing in common except they’re both metal. But my brain is kinda scrambled at the moment because I just listened to a new Gorod song. It’s called “Carved In the Wind” and it features a jazzy guitar solo by Christian Muenzner (Obscura). I presume the song will eventually begin streaming on YouTube or some other more frequently visited location, but for now it’s in a tiny player that you’ll have to squint to find at Vs-webzine (HERE). Look for the cover art for Violent Absolution and you’ll see the player to the left of it.

I haven’t yet listened to the Gorod album, but I have it on good authority from a respected blogger friend (who has heard the album) that it may be the tech-death album of the year. Those are strong words, given that 2012 has produced Incurso by Spawn of Possession., in addition to a new one from Psycroptic and one to come from Cryptopsy. I may have to shove aside other albums I’m supposed to be spinning and jump right to the Gorod. Actually, there’s no maybe about it.

“Carved In the Wind” is delicious. I love the swirling guitar lead and the pulsing keyboard tones. I love the funky bass line. I love that jazzy guitar solo. I love that Gorod have pulled together in a single song so many different stylistic elements in a way that seems natural and have produced music that’s not only head-twisting but also melodic, memorable, and a headbanger to boot. Go check it out and then come back here and write something that makes no sense in the Comments.

Speaking of making no sense, there’s more Heresiarch artwork after the jump, from their last EP, Hammer of Intransigence, plus a live Heresiarch song clip. Continue reading »

Feb 152012

A Perfect Absolution, the new album from that French band of wizards known as Gorod is one of our most highly anticipated 2012 releases. Unfortunately, it won’t be released in our corner of the globe until March 12 (it’s available for pre-order at Listenable Records web shop here). Judging solely from the stupendous album cover by Yohann “HAÄSH” Huhner, you have to expect it will be . . . pulse-quickening.

But there’s further evidence that this album will be one of 2012’s best offerings. Listenable Records have just started streaming the first song from the album on their YouTube channel. It’s called “Birds of Sulphur”, a title that links up quite nicely with the eye-catching cover art. And man oh man, is it a helluva good song! Simply put, this is tech metal done right.

Not only is it fast, jolting, and jaw-dropping in its instrumental virtuosity, not only does it include voracious vocals and an attack-and-destroy sensibility, it’s also a head-spinning trip through an inventive musical landscape — and I emphasize the word musical.

Listen after the jump — and I’m warning you: the first person who uses the phrase “mindless wankery” in the Comments, I’m coming for you with a meat cleaver. Continue reading »

Feb 042012

January ended four days ago, so it’s past time for our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. I have to confess that this list is even more spotty and sporadically assembled than usual — which is saying something. Various distractions prevented me from keeping a sharp eye out for news about new releases, so I have no doubt this list is incomplete.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, we probably wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. For example, on this list you won’t see such notable releases as the forthcoming albums from Meshuggah, Enthroned, Unleashed, Psycroptic, Goatwhore, Asphyx, Naglfar, or Autopsy, because we’ve mentioned them elsewhere. Or at least I think we did.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »

Jan 302012

Seems like I was just apologizing for the number of posts we’ve published today, but then I saw this album art for the first time and all thought of trying to be judicious with your time just evaporated like a soft shower in the Sahara.

I’m sure my enthusiasm is attributable in part to how eager I am to hear this album. Gorod is a remarkable band. Even as an inter-album EP, their 2011 release, Transcendence, blew me away. The next full-length, A Perfect Absolution, holds so much potential, and yet I have a feeling that it will unfold in multiple, unpredictable directions.

But wholly apart from anticipation for the music, this album art is bursting with visual extravagance and worthy of attention by itself. I don’t know what the bizarre imagery represents, but it’s striking. I also don’t know who created the artwork, though the style does seem familiar. I’m still searching for that info.

As for the music, the teaser video after the jump includes just a part of one song, without vocals, but it’s very sweet. Such a pity that the album won’t be released until March 12. It’s available for pre-order at Listenable Records web shop (here). I’ve put an even larger version of the album cover after the jump, too. Continue reading »