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I was first introduced to Gojira back in 2013 with the album L'Enfant Sauvage. I dug their sound from the get go but for some reason didn't explore their back catalog until recently. After hearing the first single Stranded from their new album I was curious to see what the older works had to offer. My curiosity certainly paid off as From Mars to Sirius is one hell of a record. From start to finish each track is excellently varied and never stale. You have the slow atmospheric songs, the absolute head crushers, and even a seemingly grunge inspired song. The production is crystal clear which works for such complex music. Albeit a little sterile, it works very well with the mechanized sound heard on many tracks.
Every member is in top form when it comes to their particular instrument. Mario Duplantier is a monster on the kit, churning out fantastic fills and jackhammer like double bass. He really is the driving force of this album. Joe Duplantier and Christian Andreu supply the crushingly heavy riffs that songs like Backbone are known for. Jean-Michel Labadie helps keep the rhythm in check on bass although he is slightly low in the mix. The vocals are a completely different beast altogether. Joe spews out everything from the deepest growls, highest screams, and excellent cleans. It's very interesting to see how he incorporates multiple styles into one song.
I could talk about every nuance of this amazing album but instead I'm going to highlight some key tracks. Ocean Planet is a great opener that encapsulates everything you can expect from this album. Backbone hammers your brain with an unrelenting riff fest that never loses any steam, a truly intense song. From the Sky is a fast paced number perfectly utilizing the trademark squeal Gojira is known for. A slower and more atmospheric song, Where Dragons Dwell delves into mythological themes. If there is only one track you check out from this album, please let it be The Heaviest Matter of the Universe. The Morbid Angel influence is strong as chaotic drumming makes way for fantastically heavy riffs and a deluge of alternate vocal styles. Oddly enough World to Come reminds me of an early Alice in Chains song, with cleanly sung verses and slowed down guitar work. The song wouldn't feel out of place on Facelift or Dirt in my opinion. And the last highlight is Flying Whales, a nearly 7 minute epic with many great tricks up its sleeve. It starts out with gentle drumming mixed with whale sounds before turning into a groovy riff heavy tale about the majestic flying whales.
Really the only flaw I can find with this album is some songs tend to drag on a little too long. But even then it's only a minor nitpick. There really is no bad track on this album, and while I like some better than others I'm never inclined to hit next. From beginning to end it remains an engaging listen absolutely worth your time. If you're a fan of death metal or extreme metal in general then give this one a shot. I guarantee you will find at least some semblance of enjoyment from this magnificent effort.
Without a doubt one of the heaviest metal bands in the progressive scene nowadays, France's premier extreme quartet Gojira's real breakthrough was this album; the conceptually geared 'From Mars To Sirius'. Drawing inspiration and their topic of interest from the looming modern problem of ecological preservation, Gojira has developed their death metal sound into something with a much grander scope. While the band's next release 'The Way Of All Flesh' would improve and further develop upon the sound of Gojira, 'From Mars To Sirius' stands as being a landmark in French metal, and will be for decades to come.
While the crushing guitar and rhythm sound here could be compared to the tumultuous origins of the universe, Gojira manages to harness such a ferocious sound and channel it into something that is moreoften memorable and impressive than not. With the opening behemoth 'Ocean Planet' showing little hesitation to jump into the trademark primordial riffage that drives throughout most of the album. To give a much fresher sound to the music however, there are plenty of more moderate moments, and atmospheric soundscapes behind the main work, that give 'From Mars To Sirius' a stylistic similarity to some of Devin Townsend (of Strapping Young Lad)'s career work.
Dealing with a profound real-world topic through some aspects of fantasy, Gojira's sludgy take on 'From Mars To Sirius' is filled with small details in the production, but is quite straightfoward in terms of it's sound and uniformity, especially when compared to things Gojira have achieved after this point. While the style is done very well, some tricks (such as making the guitar squeal in between breakdowns) are a bit overdone. The songwriting here and delivery are still for the most part, quite excellent. Despite being quite inventive with the way they craft the music, there are still many songs that fit the anger and call for change into as little as five minutes.
As has been said before, the album does sound quite similar throughout, giving the album a nice flow, although some unexpected moments of variety would have been the strong songwriting here even better. The only song that does not stand out as being excellent is 'In The Wilderness,' which while engaging enough, lacks any ideas that distinguish it as a song of it's own. However, this album from the French death metallers is surprisingly consistent, and with time, I would imagine that popular appreciation for this piece will only serve to grow in the metal community.
For their third act, the French mod metal squad Gojira aspired to make a mountain out of a molehill. From Mars to Sirius goes beyond aspiration to accomplishment, quashing their previous efforts like a landslide, so hard that rubble continues to pour onto The Link's face long past the original, explosive tremors. This is a dense and effective offering which transformed a band that was a mere curiosity into a massive, touring force and one that many journalists and hipsters acclaim to be 'the future of metal'. We've heard this expression before and it almost always peters out in the end, but one cannot deny the increasing success experienced by this band.
And it's just impossible to deny. By the end of the first track, "Ocean Planet", the band has already crushed all of their prior songwriting. Bold, accessible and yet dusted in flecks of industrial rust and grime, the track functions off an alternating discordant groove akin to something Voivod might have crafted on their Negatron album (in particular the breakdown at 2:00), but blocky, mechanical and uniquely graceful. It's like a chunk of factory gaining sentience and operating itself, yet adorned in the bands pseudo-universal 'life peace love Earth' sentimentality. "Backbone" constructs an appropriate chug which reminded me of the rhythm to Primus' "Toys Go Winding Down", albeit glazed in industrial rock and Joe Duplantier's carnal multi-faceted throating. The song experiences a beautiful shift towards sombering melodic death metal at its own 2:00 mark, immediately an album favorite. "From the Sky" continues this trend with a barrage of fundamental grooving death metal and chugging fortitude, both barrels rolling forward towards a beautiful climax. "Unicorn" is another of the band's frequent interludes, this one's shining harmonics and tranquil beat winning out over the namesake.
This flight into deceptive fantasy continues with "Where Dragons Dwell", a winding passage of bass floes and chugging excess at the end of its cavernous melodies. The ambient break is very cool, transforming into another huge bottom end riff, which leads the track through its final pacing before "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe" explodes like a galactic genesis, which a flattening groove which will have you either twitching and banging your head like a goddamn automaton or throwing your hat in about how horrible this band must be for its ability to create such a convincing, simplistic slaughter. "Flying Whales" features whale song samples and melancholic clean guitars that slowly propel into another stompfest, and you can almost close your eyes to imagine the travails of such a figurative beast as it navigates the phlogiston between worlds and realities. "In the Wilderness" follows with more desolate crunching barbarity, as if the 'wilderness' of the title were in fact a post-apocalyptic scene, retired metal hulls stretching the horizon as we celebrate the waste of our passing.
'Trees so strong, that they never can fall
Four suns alight, in silver grey sky
Wild river flows, with rage alive
Lions of fire approach me'
Such stark and baleful imagery translates entirely too well into the plodding, slugging murder fest of the bands rhythmic guts, ever rising forth from the primordial elixir with a strong melodic surge that balances them back to the more accessible, impatient ear. From here, the crawling cosmic blues of "World to Come", and the brief, distant, half-titled prog piece "From Mars", which feels like a bit of Floyd-ian paving across the band's crushing path, offering a respite before the melee that is "To Sirius", a sequence of colossal grooves against the black border of interspace. "Global Warming" returns the band to its love for the guitar tapped rhythm, a slight sliver of foreshadowing towards the album that would follow this. The track is lovely, even as it digresses into another of the bands lumbering juggernaut riffs, and a gentle end.
From Mars to Sirius is one of those albums with the transient ability to 'grow'. As easily accessed as it was upon release, I have found the years nothing but kind to its wiles, and I rank this now far higher than I ever would have in 2005. A beautiful, winged thing has emerged from its larval stage within the creative cortex of these four Frenchmen, and we are all the richer for its presence, trailing stardust and inspiration upon the potential found in the cauled corners of our beloved medium. Like the massive waves swelling across Tokyo Bay, Gojira has finally arrived.
Highlights: Both the liftoff and the landing.
Gojira... I saw them back in December of '06 when they opened for Amon Amarth and Children of Bodom in Milwaukee. They played the first two tracks of this album (Ocean Planet and Backbone), and I remember them being pretty cool. So I made the mistake of buying this album. I ran "fucking boring" through Google Translator a couple times, but about 80% of the languages came out the same, so the shtick I had intended on milking in this review just kind of got shunted, but my point remains the same. From Mars to Sirius is not a terrible album per se, just mind numbingly BORING.
I feel it is unfair to review an album without listening to it while I write the review, I'm only a couple minutes into Ocean Planet, and I already have a headache. This song is probably my favorite on the record as well, because as plodding as it is, it is still catchy. And if you're going to write a repetitive and unimaginative song, it might as well be catchy (Superjoint Ritual should be taking notes here). Back to the song, it's actually not that bad, and this album will probably be much better than how I make it out to be, but just keep in mind that unless you have an hour or two to spend watching paint dry, this album probably won't appeal to you.
That said, I am a Municipal Waste fan. Does that mean I have the attention span of mustard? Not entirely, because I am not only a metalhead. I am also a post rock enthusiast, and that is a genre usually based of off quiet, minimalist passages that go on for a long period of time. People with short attention spans hate Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Yndi Halda and whatnot, but at least those songs progress and change every now and again. That is the main problem with Gojira here, there are only a few riffs per song, but they still needlessly plod into the 7 minute category.
Digression aside, we return with Backbone, another decent song. It is again catchy, and a tad better than the opener in the sense that it picks up the pace a little bit. Alas, it doesn't really change that much, it sticks to the main idea for essentially the duration of the song. Afterwards we come to From the Sky, which is, again, not a very bad song. So far they are coming off as an incredibly average band, maybe leaning towards a more positive connotation than I had initially implied. But when you listen for a while, you feel like you're listening to a 8+ minute song, and then you look at your player and realize you are only 3 minutes into a 5 and a half minute long song. That either means:
A) The songs are running together due to a lack of variety
B) They are REALLY FUCKING BORING
This unfortunately falls into the latter category. Once again, don't get me wrong, Gojira are good, just not very interesting. I can kind of draw a parallel to Yngwie Malmsteen here. He is a phenomenal musician, but all of his songs are just sooooo boring, you start to think that headbutting a sidewalk would be more entertaining. Gojira is similar in that respect... but they are musically slower.
Unicorn is actually pretty good. It's just a short, spacey, progressive rock/post rock interlude, but it very well done for the style. But then our delicate little dove gets trampled by a rhino. Only instead of the rhinos mentioned in my other reviews, these ones have Down's Syndrome and like to eat paint. Where Dragons Dwell is the first genuinely boring song here. I get the feeling I've said "boring" a lot, but there really aren't very many other words to describe the music other than "plodding" and "generally uninteresting", both of which I've already used. Remember how I said From the Sky sounded about three times as long? Well this song actually is just shy of 7 full minutes, so bring your Excedrin Tension Headache medicine before venturing further into the album. The song seriously takes more than a minute to fade out.... they even made the ENDINGS take forever. We get a little breath of fresh air with The Heaviest Matter in the Universe, and this song helps prove one of the main points of this review. This band in undeniably heavy. They crush your face really fucking hard, but after a while, it's no longer an enjoyable experience. Unlike Vader, Arsis, or Krisiun, who continue to batter your face throughout the duration of the record yet can still make it cool, Gojira enters a realm where it's more like the physical world we live in. If we get our faces crushed literally, we get pissed off, and want no more of whatever just injured us... that's kind of what Gojira does.... except their face smashing is done through migraines.
Also, with that song, I finally realized who the vocalist sounded like... he sounds like an unholy mix of the guys from Mastodon and Static-X. I fucking hate the latter, but I don't mind the former.... but Jesus Christ his voice fucking sucks a big one. If you don't pay too much attention to it, it isn't bad.... but if you do, you might want to kill yourself. Speaking of the sweet release of death, we have come to the unholy trifecta of mind numbing stupidity. Flying Whales not only has one of the dumber names this side of grindcore, but it's a piss boring song as well. The double bass verses are okay... but just that, only okay. This song is very, VERY bad at holding my interest. As of this sentence, there are two minutes left, and I can't fucking take it anymore. I'm breaking my policy before my nuts rupture.
*presses skip track button*
The intro to In the Wilderness is certainly headbangable, that's no doubt, but so is the rest of the album. I may be sending mixed messages here, but do your best to comprehend what I'm trying to convey. Heavy, but boring. Like somebody else has said "a really awful version of Mastodon".
I can't take anymore of this fucking torture, I can't do a track by track on this garbage. Just take my word for it, this album is crushing and heavy, but by that same respect it is very directionless, meandering, repetitive, and just plain boring. Avoid if you have short attention spans or can differentiate between "progressive" and "unnecessary". The review started off optimistically, but you just want to find the nearest living thing and kill it as the record goes on.
I give this record a big fat F, but keep in mind it' really not that terrible, just horrendously annoying and repetitive.
Gojira, the menacing progressive death metal band from France, have more or less made a record to be remembered, for a very long time.
First things first, the name Gojira is very misleading. These guys are basically the Green Peace of extreme metal, not some kind of “destroyer of worlds” band. It greatly influences their music, not only in their lyrics, but in the themes as well, which is particularly obvious on this album.
From Mars To Sirius starts out with a crushing groove as “Ocean Planet” more or less assaults the listener. The mood has already been set for the rest of the album by now, but unlike many bands who just maintain a constant mood, Gojira decides to mix things up and have both uplifting, happy songs, but also melancholic songs, such as Where Dragons Dwell.
The crushing grooves certainly don’t stop there. Many of the songs on From Mars To Sirius have grooves- MIGHTY grooves mind you, instead of the typical blast beats you often find in Death Metal. It’s certainly a welcome change from the usual, and they have managed to perfect it with their style.
Standout tracks on this album are definitely the crushing Ocean Planet, the fast Backbone, and In The Wilderness. That’s not to say there are bad tracks on this album though, they all fit the theme and the style very well. Great songwriting on Gojira’s part.
The production of the album is more or less stellar. Very clear sound quality, with great mixes that’s sure to satisfy people who look specifically for that.
All the members are extremely proficient at what they do. The drummer is a maniac, pumping out some of the best fills you’ll ever hear, while the guitarists mix things up even more, with their “whale songs”. They basically play the guitar in a way that makes it sound like a whale. You have to hear it to understand it.
The lead singer is really good as well. He sings in many different ways throughout this record (Shrieks, growls, yells, screams and clean singing, also with some doomish spoken parts). It fits the music very well.
One could’ve wished for even more “ocean” influences than are here, but what’s there is appreciated. It makes the concept of the album, that is, global warming, much easier to understand, for us people who don’t really understand harsh lyrics that well.
The album is also extremely long for a death metal record, as death metal albums nearly never even reach 50 minutes. This album is 65 minutes, of pure awesomeness.
So what’s actually bad about this album?
Some of the riffs seem a bit uninspired, and it could’ve been more progressive than it is now. While the songs do change their mood, they usually only do it BETWEEN songs, not IN songs. However, if you see the album as 3 huge songs, it’s definitely progressive in nature.
From Mars To Sirius is an astounding achievement by Gojira. One can only hope their next album will be just as good, hey, maybe even better?
Gojira were a bit of a surprise, that's for sure. Lately, i've been willing to put aside my issues with the death metal genre and search for some talent within it. I came across Gojira by sheer accident, as per usual and decided, as their latest full-length received some positive reviews, that I would give it a whirl and see how it goes. I was pleasantly surprised by what I had found. It was unlike any death metal band I had heard before and because I don't exactly have an acid passion for the genre, that was a good thing.
It's not the most brutal of affairs, is 'From Mars To Sirius'. It's not as aggressive as I had expected. Death metal bands usually opt for an attack on the mind, body and soul by using superhuman low growls brought to you by the devil himself. Their approach is also quite restricted due to the brutality they are aiming to create. The guitars don't really have much room to manoeuvre and are restricted to fast and heavy solos, much of the time anyway. Gojira aim to tear this stereotype of death metal apart. They this rather convincingly and have even me, a man who usually shuns away from the genre, drooling over what they have created.
Finally, a death metal band who can express themselves competently through instruments and vocals, perhaps the most surprising element of all. According to Metal Archives, the band also incorporate thrash into their music, this is perhaps where the vocals profit so much from. They're not typical at all. They don't come in the form of low guttural growls. Instead, they're more open to change. Variation is something the vocals like to surprise you with. They have a habit of sticking to one particular style and then surprising the audience with a new sound at different intervals. They're unpredictable, but in a good sense of the word. Generally speaking, they're high pitched screams, but with a low edge. It's quite unusual. This very fact makes Gojira instantly interesting. As well as the always altering percussion section. 'From Mars To Sirius' isn't simply filled with blast beats and overly using the cymbals, it's varied and exciting.
By no means are they restricted from change. They, at times, do turn from these screams to low growls which will appeal to the hardcore fans of the genre. Although seemingly not brutal on the surface, if you peel away the facade that Gojira elegantly wears, you'll come across an uncompromising band that leaves no prisoners. The lyrical themes suggest the brutality lies hidden within the band. The one element that keeps cropping up, is the fact that the individuals behind the instruments and the vocalist, aren't restricted by the genre. There is always room for musical expression. Mostly, this comes in the form of the melodies created by using two guitarists. They play simultaneously together and it works a treat. Solid riffs flow from the hands of the musicians and will keep fans of melodic music happy for hours on end.
The bass is where the heaviness of the band lies. It's subtle, but effectively working it's magic behind the scenes. Weaving it's way in and out of the solos, it majestically forms a concrete barrier of noise. Gojira's atmospheric tendencies are what keeps them interesting. Generally speaking, death metal bands keep atmospheres on records quite similar throughout. It's meant to portray an image of death and brutality. To an extent, it works. Gojira don't aim to do this.
They change the soundscapes throughout, making this full-length incredibly interesting. There is always a new element of the music that you pick up on every time you listen to it, which makes it a winner. Also, unlike many death metal acts, Gojira aren't afraid of producing lengthy songs. To me, this is a great thing. I like gradual build ups and an explosion of noise towards the middle and end. Gojira fulfil this desire effortlessly. With their sufficiently good production, they're able to let all their musical explorations out with ease. Highlights have to be 'Ocean Planet' and 'From The Sky'.
WOW...I am throughly impressed with this band. WIth minor quibbles aside, this is an excellent effort that moves me. Like the reviewer before me, I first heard these guys opening for Behemoth last month and I was impressed enough to score this album, and I am not disappointed at all.
This is reminiscent of a primo mashup of Strapping Young Lad, Morbid Angel, and even Helmet. You've got the sweeping, dramatic feel of SYL, which includes a plethora of riffs that are equal parts disciplined, structured, melodic, and crushingly heavy; there is the throughly chaotic feel on several songs that evokes MA in their evil prime (the riffs in "From The Sky", "Backbone", and "In The Wilderness" in particular--tell me you don't hear Trey Azagthoth's warped sensibility in their approach on these tunes); and the drumming is the ace in the hole in this album. Like John Stanier (Helmet), Mario Duplantier is the hero in Gojira, his style providing a versatile and swinging feel to even the heaviest riffing moments, the odd blast parts excepted, of course. His is the role that makes the music really breathe and work and groove--yes, groove, and not in the lunkheaded Pantera/Lamb of God wannabe sense. Groove in the elusively funky sense, I mean, a la Van Williams of Nevermore, to cite another example.
The songs focus on swaggering, stomping mid tempos with a palpable sense of forward motion no matter how repetitive the music gets. And they work the repetition angle to its maximum effect, establishing a concrete base and a hypnotic feel that really drags you in. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that they channel the essence of their daikaiju namesake very, very well, menacing and dark yet heroic in an odd manner. The odd blast part surfaces here and there, and while I thought they were gratuitous at first they've grown on me, like the chaotic rush of "Backbone". But yet they also come off as simultaneously relaxed and confident as well as aggressive, an odd-sounding combination that manages to work.
Gojira even incorporate gentle, atmospheric instrumental parts like the short and sweet "Unicorn", which has haunting snippets of whale songs--those, in fact, pop up throughout the album to add a thematic coherence to it--and that takes courage and a firm belief in your music to write something like that and have it fit so well instead of seeming out of place.
Joe Duplantier's vocals are best described as a harsh yet melodic shouting that somehow seems all him. He delivers his deep lyrics with conviction and occasional clean vocals as well as death growls here and there, all the while surprisingly coherent too--his accent is very minimal and he enunciates very well. And the lyrics are heady stuff, intelligent and well-written, dealing with a variety of subject matter of the spiritual/personal order that adds a healthy dollop of emotional resonance. His and Christian Andreu's riffing is tight and makes ample use of pinch harmonic squawks for punctuation and occasional Martian squalls--but no solos. And I don't miss them on this album at all; if there were any they'd seem out of place and disruptive. You do not interrupt a groove this massive and profound for self-indulgence.
The production is perfect, as well; the kick drums only occasionally sound triggered and the guitars are crisp and clear, plus the bass has its own niche in the mix that fills out the sound with gritty Fender tone to maximum effect. Every instrument fits into the whole to create a beautfuil sonic picture, something you don't get too often with metal at all. And I love it!
Standouts for me are "Ocean Planet" (what a great opener), "Backbone", "Unicorn", the crushing "Where Dragons Dwell", and the menacing Morbid Angel worship of "In The Wilderness" and "From The Sky". Overall, the grand and again, sweeping epic feel of this album is breathtaking and will have you gently bobbing your head rhythmically in time witht the music more than headbanging. And this is not a bad thing, to me.
I really hope these guys make some headway in America given that the anti-French sentiments of a few years back may well still be alive in some parts of this country. Forget all about that crap and settle in with this album for some deep listening, you will need to absorb this album over the course of several listens, as I did. Give it time to win you over, I think you will not regret it.
Finally, real genre-spanning progressive metal. This record touches on too many styles to name, but never stays on one long enough to be labelled. That is something you cannot dismiss.
My first exposure to these songs was live, and it prompted me to pick up the record immediately. And I was not disappointed; the energy in performance and passion for the subject matter is perfectly carried through to disc. It really feels like Gojira is doing exactly what they want to do and don’t care at all what anyone thinks. Although this can be a marketing ploy in itself I really feel it may be true here.
What I find coolest about this band is that none of the members are trying to be the next virtuoso of their instrument. They don’t overshadow each other, and everything is in place sonically. That is a great accomplishment in metal, where usually people can complain about one instrument or the other being too high or low in the mix. Not the case here.
Almost every song has a really cool part or arrangement which adds a particular Gojira stamp and has you remembering the compositions individually. What’s coolest is that these stamps are never the same gimmick, sometimes it’s a technical progression, other times just a properly pitched vocal, or even just the way a note rings out. I won’t ruin any surprises by doing a track by track, but I will say with no shame (okay maybe a little shame) that I shed a tear the first time I read along to Global Warming when he sings “I hold my inner child within / And tell him not to cry / Don't fear the living”.
My only criticism after repeated (and lo!) listens is that a few of the songs drag on a little too long. Mostly this happens with outros, which makes it that much more noticeable because it is usually in the intros that Gojira throw in the most stop-start-surprise-prog stuff.
Definitely worth a purchase, because I promise it’s different than anything in your collection.
Who knew it - FRANCE of all places strikes again. Between Yyrkoon, Hypokras, and Gojira, I find myself growing a silly moustache and drinking red wine more than ever. Well, maybe not Hypokras, though they do have some of the funniest band member pictures EVER.
Gojira is a very different beast than the other groups I've mentioned - though I heard they got their start in death metal this is disc seems to be a style unto itself. The closest comparison I can make is Meshuggah, but differences between the Swede masters of weird and Gojira abound. What they have in common is a super-low, bowel scraping guitar tone (think "Nothing"), vocals that are more clean than growls but do sometimes venture into the cookie-monster/gremlin territory, and precision-drill drumming. The atmosphere that each band creates is different, though - Meshuggah are trying to bring about the rise of the machines, whereas Gojira just want to watch some whales fly around in space.
It appears that a hate trend has grown around Gojira simply because they are getting popular. I think that trend may also have developed because many underground metallers don't like some of the things the group incorporates - (relatively) clean vocals and a bit of stop-start, simplistic riffage. I can understand the vocal gripe, though the singer's tone fits the music well. The guitars, though, CHUG - and that ain't a bad thing when the drums are hard at work. It makes a nice, Morbid Angel style sound (Gateways to Annihilation era) to have some low, slow riffage with a double bass barrage tearing shit apart at the same time.
So as you can tell I haven't fallen into the hate trend, in fact I find "From Mars to Sirius" to be a challenging, intelligent, and inventive listen. There are quite a few highlights on here, which have already been mentioned, I'd have to say "From the Sky" is a personal favorite. I just saw them live, and they held their own with Amon Amarth (and easily outshined Children of Scrotum - damn I hate that fucking band). For metalheads who are willing to branch out, Gojira is worth a listen.
What to make of this band? They have their own sound, that much is clear. Gojira tends to chug along like the 1000-ton behemoth they are named after. Guitars are heeeaaaavy, and alternate between low-tuned power chords and squalling pick-scrapes and harmonics. It's not technical in the sense of being show-offy, but it's well-performed and leaves bruises. Under the guitars are usually precision double bass and other mathematical drum parts, reminding me of Meshuggah only more tolerable and less machine-like; and soaring over the top of it all is a powerful voice that sounds quite a lot like Max Cavalera, if Max was able to be melodic. It's a very forceful and raw, yet melodic, sound. And it really works for this music.
Speaking of which, the music Gojira makes is very difficult to categorize. They come from a death metal background, but there are lots of other elements: doom metal, hardcore, and post-rock. They are in the same neighborhood as Isis and Mastodon, but I find their sound to be both heavier and more distinctive. They throw in some chiming Pink Floyd-like clean passages, some whale sounds and similar atmospheric shenanigans... just enough variety to keep you on your toes, and to make the heaviest parts more effective by contrast. Crystal-clear production gives the proceedings a sheen that is definitely not kvlt, but definitely abets the massive, magestic feel.
Gojira is one of those hype bands of the moment, but I'd encourage you to look past the hype and find out on your own if you enjoy them or not. I keep going back to this album and finding more in its rich textures and ambitious scope. Their previous album "The Link" is also recommended, and is just a little rougher and deathier than this release.
This is the only album of 'Gojira' (bit of a silly name, but then they are French) I have heard, and it at least made me notice them. Not a terribly heavy album, nor terribly brutal, it does have a lot of catchy riffs that have you wishing the rest of the song was better.
The vocals are good, sometimes excellent, but never brilliant, a kind of aggressive yell similar to Tom Araya except with more melody. Duplantier has a strong voice and he knows how to use it, although the lyrics lack in creativity. The general theme of the album is global warming and the world flooding.
The guitar work ranges from crummy cliche metalcore licks to these quite nice thrashy riffs, an unfortunate mix for those of us who can't stand our metal 'compromised'. Some impressive pieces from these new-comers, however. The bass also has a few interesting fills, but thats about all.
Drumming is good, not great. Nothing terribly original in that department, but definently skilled. The double kick is scattered throughout songs, which I prefer instead of a constant barrage.
The production is a little glossy and overdone, with the guitars sounding a bit too flat at times. Not for experienced metalheads, definently something aimed at all the kiddies who love Bodom and similar shit.
I won't be running out to buy the next release or even rushing to downloading the next album, but I would definently keep an eye on these boys and hope they grow the balls to shake off their metalcore influences and make some serious death metal, which I think they are very capable of doing.
Not a bad effort at all, but let's hope it improves next time around.
Well, Gojira. These guys seem to be the flavour of the month at the moment. An issue of Terrorizer Magazine (#151) had them on the front cover with the heading “Are these guys the saviours of metal?”
While these guys are pretty good, they’re definitely not the be-all-and-end-all of metal.
The collection of songs here are very unique. They’re not thrash, they’re not completely death, hints of metalcore. They’re not limited to one style of playing, and that makes for a good, varied spread of songs.
The best thing about the album is easily the production. Everything is crystal clear, the drums have a slight echo, and nothing dominates or takes over anything else. If the production were muddy, then it wouldn’t fit the vocals, which would give off a false interpretation of what the album is trying to convey. Could you imagine the opening riff of “Where Dragons Dwell” with thicker production? Neither could I.
As of the vocals, he does vary his style from clean to harsh. He never uses deep growls or grunts, which, again, wouldn’t fit the flow of the music at all. His voice is almost epic in a way, leaving a sense of beauty (perhaps), and connects perfectly with the sound of the music. The deepest his voice gets would probably be on “Global Warming” where he says: “What is this thing that we call hate? And that’s inside of me? Get out of here!”
The guitar work is very good. All the notes are heard very crisply. While they never solo, I don’t really think the album needs it, as the riffs they use are fulfilling enough. One of the best guitar riffs is at 4:20 on “From The Sky”, using a long, simple riff structure, but it just fits really well.
As for the drums, they’re also great. Plenty of double-kick action, putting it just where it is needed, plus slower and faster beating action, and even a blast beat thrown in occasionally. He goes through the whole repertoire of drumming techniques, so there is no limitation. All the beats are played tightly, and they all just sound great. “Ocean Planet” is a good example of his skills behind the drum kit. The best part of the album, however, in both the drum and guitar aspect, is the final two minutes or so of “In The Wilderness”. Everything about that is completely kick-ass. Listen to it, and I dare you not to have it stuck in your head.
Flaws? Well, not major ones. “World To Come” is a pretty average song, probably the weakest of the album. The fact that it goes for over 6 minutes doesn’t really do it any good. In fact, 8 of the 12 songs on offer go over 5 minutes, two over 7 minutes, making the whole album approximately 67 minutes long. For album standards, it’s an exhausting listen, but if there are heaps of intriguing musical pieces, then it won’t seem so long.
So, in saying that, this album is pretty good. It’s also very accessible. With the clean production and understandable vocals, this album is a good place to start for someone who is new to metal. However, unlike what Terrorizer thinks, they’re not the saviours of metal (who said metal needed saving?). Fans of extreme metal won’t like it, but it is a well thought-out, unique listen for everybody else.
Best tracks: Ocean Planet, Flying Whales, In The Wilderness
I've heard a lot of interesting things about this album, and it has a pretty damn cool cover (Whales!! IN SPACE!!!) so I bought it, and damn is it good. My friend described it as Pink Floyd's Metalcore project, and while I don't think that's quite accurate, it's definetly a cool, progressive and exciting album.
The album starts off on a pretty strong foot. "Ocean Planet" Besides being a cool name, is full of interesting, off beat and fairly oceanic riffs. Great vocals here, both sung and screamed, with some pounding riffs, and some unique sound that are pitch harmonies and something else. Maybe a whale song put through a few fx pedals. Either way, it's a great start, great to headbang to. The thick, raw but fairly clear production helps too.. every hit of the snare, every guitar riff is represented really good here. Great production doesnt make an album great, but it definetly improves an album.
Fair bit of variety on show here too folks. We have the oceanic riffs of the first song, the fast, chugging monster that is From the Sky, the cool mellow interlude of Unicorn, and the song with the coolest title in the universe, 'The heaviest matter in the universe' also being full of great riffs, sounding at times like a psycho version of In Flames. but with some good clean vocals. The vocalist is a pretty decent. All too often, great bands can be let down by the singer, but everything this dude does makes the songs better, whether it's growling, or singing.
A lot of bands will have some good first few songs but then the album will go downhill. Not Gojira though.. Indeed, the album improves. Flying Whales, In the Wilderness and Global Warming are almost 8 minutes long, and these extended lengths give Gojira a chance to be a bit more progressive, to stretch out a bit, and they do that well. Flying Whales has a super awesome mellow intro, while In the Wilderness is just real heavy and doomy for the whole time.. It's quite an exhausting listen. Global Warming has some damn cool riffs, even if it does beat you over the head with a message. The opening riff of Global Warming is maybe the best one here, and shows of the Guitarists' skills. The guitarists, while they doesn't solo much, they are always playing great riffs, all of which are super headbangable, and fit the songs great.
It's good to see a thrash/metalcore band doing something different these days. Gojira aren't reinventing the wheel, but you won't really find any other bands doing the same thing. Their next album should be real exciting. A great album that most metalheads would dig. Highly recommended!
The french metal scene has always been subject to much ridicule. People have been known to say that the book "Great French Metal Bands" is just as thick as the "Norwegian Warheroes". But Gojira is here to blow you all away! With their progressive mix of Devin Townsend and Morbid Angel they create a very eerie and beautiful sonic soundscape full of monstrous destruction power and awesome moments.
Vocally this is one of my favorite albums. When Joe is screaming his guts out he still holds this massacre under control and manages to keep it sounding just purely awesome. It's not mindless shit, you can hear the technique. And no amount of "awesome punk attitude" can replace that. That's the real shit, kids. In just the perfect places Gojira slashes us with excellent clean vocals that cuts the air with long strung out notes. My skin is crawling.
Drumming has awesome time-signatures and fills. Riffs crunch your face off and everything is played together with great skill. And the silent parts get the finishing touches with whales singing. Man, nothing is cooler than whales. Especially in outerspace.
One of the best albums of 2005! All hail Gojira!
Gojira is something of a conundrum. Consider the cover to their newest album ‘From Mars to Sirius’. It’s color is white, which is hardly skull-crushing, but there is also a flying whale on the cover, as large as the planets it appears to be circling. Whales are quite weighty, so that might imply heaviness. The band was originally named Godzilla, but changed to Gojira after copyright fussing ensued, and hell, the album even has a song titled ‘The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe’, so this has got to be thick stuff, right? Well, that’s the thing.
Gojira never takes off. I definitely want to like this album, and I definitely do, but only to an extent. I like most everything about this album ‘to an extent’ (except for the amazing pinches, which I simply cannot get enough of). It’s heavy, to an extent. It’s creative, to an extent. It’s progressive, to an extent. The press release uses words like ‘memorable…chunky…extreme…groovy’, and I agree with all of these…to an extent.
Let me explain. The album starts with a few seconds of whale song, which almost immediately kicks into a large, rolling riff, and a fantastic pinch harmonic. The pinches could be a motif of whale song emulation, but I’ll leave that to you to decide. Moving on. The drums are tight, the bass usually mimics the lead to lend it strength, and when the vocals come in, they are quite apropos. Think Andreas Sydow of Darkane, just slower. And it is true, ‘Ocean Planet’ is a good track. It’s different. Darkane meets SYL meets something else; head-banging is required.
All this is well and good, but the album just doesn’t get off the ground. There’s a fantastic foundation here; solid low end, good production, and guitarists who have their riffing technique perfectly set. I have no doubt that in time Gojira will lay down on the table a slab of metal-so-thick-and-groovy-I-can-hardly-believe-it. It’s just not that time yet.
We’ll hear some well-placed pinches and unique theme-and-variations on lead guitar, but then pops up a filler riff. A few good choruses, then a completely uninspired passage that kills the momentum of the song. For example, ‘From the Sky’ spends a few minutes building up, and at about 3:30 comes to a segue with a bit of dissonant ambience in the background. No problems so far. It cuts out, and the overused somewhat mild but trying-to-be-foreboding quiet part comes in, which again builds back up to a louder repetition of the same riff. This style represents at least 10 percent of each song, and it can go. Gojira would have well served themselves if they’d cut this album down a third or so. It’s already a monster at 70 minutes plus; around 50 and they would have had a killer album. But, since I can’t go in and slice this apart, I’ll just recommend listening to it in half-hour segments. Much longer than that, and I stop appreciating the nice ideas I do find and begin to think how this could be improved by brevity.
So, to take my own advice, I’ll end it here. I do recommend this, but with sligh reservations.
(Originally written for Maximummetal.com)