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Gojira > Of Blood and Salt > Reviews
Gojira - Of Blood and Salt

The only surviving beast - 72%

gasmask_colostomy, October 5th, 2019

Back at a time when a monster called Gojira was rapidly taking over the world, shortly before a disappointing trend that began with L'Enfant Sauvage and continued with 2016's Magma, a little release named Of Blood and Salt surfaced. Insignificant as it may seem, this 2011 single should probably have been a much larger piece in Gojira's calculated bid to make a name for themselves as metal statesmen, since it not only marked a continuation of their environmentally themed progressive groove/death metal but also featured guests from Strapping Young Lad and Meshuggah, who have often been the closest influences this French four-piece can claim. The real "what if", however, comes with knowing that 'Of Blood and Salt' was the only song released from a planned EP to be called Sea Shepherd that was lost when the files were erased in a computer-related incident. Had Gojira actually produced the EP (mooted to be bolstered by the likes of Max Cavalera, Anders Friden, and Randy Blythe), they would probably have entered the recent decade towering with confidence and with an even higher profile.

Instead, we got 'Of Blood and Salt' a couple of years late, limping out two and a half years after The Way of All Flesh. It's not a bad song, made slightly more remarkable by the guest appearances, yet alone doesn't achieve what the band set out to do. Uncharacteristically for Gojira, the six and a half minute cut spends most of its time at lumbering slow pace, powered along by Devin Townsend's vocals near the beginning and a characteristically crushing riff towards the end. Certain of the ideas sound like leftovers of the From Mars to Sirius sessions, and the way the song climaxes reminds me specifically of 'From the Sky' to the point where the best riff is like a brother of the slower section of that song. Initially, the chord patterns provide a different angle to Gojira's sonic attack, while Townsend's drawn-out cries sound slightly similar to those of Joe Duplantier, yet obviously recognizable. When Fredrik Thordendal drops a whirlwind jazzy solo after Duplantier's first verse and a longer effort after the second, the Meshuggah guitarist is impossible to miss, fitting in easily with a band that has never used guitar leads in their own work.

As a single, it's easy to disregard Of Blood and Salt, while wishing for the full result of Sea Shepherd is the expected result of this audio titbit. Rumour is that the band may still release it, though most of us have given up hope. On the other hand, Randy Blythe had already guested on 'Adoration for None' a couple of years before and Gojira claim that the publicity generated during the recording of the EP benefitted the charity (Sea Shepherd's goal is to conserve marine wildlife, particularly whales) almost as much as releasing it. Musically, however, it's hard to feel satisfied with one intriguing but modestly successful song.