A Perfect Absolution is the fourth full-length album by French technical death metal act Gorod. It is the first album to feature new vocalist Julien "Nutz" Deyres and guitarist Nicolas Alberny following their debut with the EP Transcendence (2011). A Perfect Absolution was released in 2012 and features guest guitar solos from Christian Münzner (Obscura, Spawn of Possession et al) and Michael Keene (The Faceless).
Gorod previously left a pretty decent impression with me with their second album, Leading Vision (2006), all things considered. I’ve never heard the following release Process of a New Decline (2009) or the aforementioned Transcendence EP however, so I’ve skipped a good portion of Gorod’s story when coming to A Perfect Absolution and I find that although the group still plays technical death metal, the album has an altogether different sound to Leading Vision.
The major difference in the music is that the progressive inclinations of Leading Vision are all but gone except in a couple of tracks, which for me is a bit of a negative change. On the other hand the one complaint I had with Leading Vision has been addressed, that of the level of brutality in the release despite the technical prowess. As much as I enjoyed Leading Vision for its top notch technicality and vocal performance, I felt the album much better suited to a prog fan first and foremost rather than a death metal fan, as it felt brutality had been sacrificed along the way, and I think that it’s very much still needed for a technical or progressive death metal album to work. A Perfect Absolution in contrast is clearly catered for a death metal fan’s interests.
The main problem with that is that with the progressive flairs removed and the vocal performance by Deyres not being of such a high grade as what former vocalist Guillaume Martinot was capable of, A Perfect Absolution actually creates complaints from me where there were none with Leading Vision. If I’d heard Process of a New Decline then maybe I’d find that this was a gradual shift in sound and in fact I’m at present missing out on Gorod’s most accomplished release, but having not heard it A Perfect Absolution comes across as not only a step down from their prior work, but also the work of a band that don’t really having anything going for them to make them stand out from the crowd. They’ve certainly still got the technical chops, but that’s about it.
For what it’s worth though, A Perfect Absolution isn’t too bad an album, there are even tracks that I’m particularly fond of, such as Elements and Spirit, which sees a bit of a return to the semi-progressive style of Leading Vision and I like the clean guitar intro to 5000 At The Funeral which is very well played although they could have handled the transition back into death metal a little better. All the same A Perfect Absolution isn’t an album I’d feel particularly inclined to return to in a hurry when there are plenty of other technical death metal albums out there that get all three of my requires for the style just right: technicality, but not overdone, strong vocals, and no loss of death metal brutality.
To summarise in short this is a good album, and it deserves a reasonable score despite the fact that I took a largely negative tone with this review. The main problem I have is that although it is good, it is not good enough considering the competition which includes acts such as Augury, Obscura, and even relative newcomers Sectu and Beyond Creation.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))