Genre: Tech Death Metal/ Experimental Metal
Release Date: 17th June 2016
Label: Roadrunner Records
Haven’t heard of GOJIRA yet? What a bloody shame!
I was going to write here about how bands covet to be called original, unique etc. and how very few succeed, how many bands want to slip out of definitions of genres and forge one of their own, how bands claim to be making their magnum opus every single time and yet they seem to reach a hill, admittedly some a mountain, and sound-ski right down it after with few little mole-peaks after but no more. Well, that’s very unoriginal of me to say so; it’s patently obvious to anyone. Sure, to those who feel that Metal is music made by a creaky lawnmower ploughing through a doss house garden jungle, driven by a banshee and chased by a vengeful ghost GOJIRA will sound like that still so it’s not as if they broke out of Metal category but with the rest this band is one of the rare ones that can deliver true on all of the above claims.
I couldn’t have praised their previous, fifth album L’Enfant Sauvage any more than I did. I’m in a pickle now with their sixth ‘Magma’ how do you up-rate even better album when the one before had the best all over it? Perfecting perfection is not something easily done but that’s exactly what they went and done.
As a whole it’s traversing diverse terrains, slipping from more subdued, reflective to brutal and back to quieter quarters, shaving off the edges of unusual song structures towards but not yet quite the orthodox, even instinctual expectations. It all seems that way for a simple need to communicate the emotion in a way the song dictates rather than conforming to sell to a wider market. What also is coming through is that composing music seems to be a part of their biological process; it’s intensely alive. It’s not just that their music is physical that leads me to say it, but it really seems to come from the core of them rather than constructed to sound like it; it doesn’t hold anything back.
“The less is more” approach certainly fits in one way, more that minus the more pronounced proggy elements the pure raw energy that rivers through their work is exposed and pulsing like a coronary system fuelled on pure adrenalin.
It’s already been said it’s more personal as the album was written during the time the Duplantier brothers were losing their mother to a terminal illness, the lyrics though still cerebral and messianic in places (Silvera) as it was in the past where they reflected on environment, society etc are drenched in a more subjective imagery. There’s a lot of being left behind and trapped feelings floating about, against the feeling of abandonment in the dark a hope that there is something after even if temporarily unreachable. Trying to unthink that clue the way it goes on the various stages of grief do come out as more universally relatable still to other situations life grinds one through. I have had to listen to this album a lot of times before I could sit down and write about it, and that’s still not easy now the blank page isn’t staring at me anymore. It’s consumed me so much I’ve not been able to listen to anything else since I’ve got it on my reviewing table so to speak. It’s just pure emotion and their gift is that it’s so very authentic and what’s more it’s hit me in the right moment and helped me to shift from the quagmire of some bullshit going on and my life is set to change soon. That’s a slightly uninteresting point, which is who cares about person behind a review, just get on with writing about album, right? Point is, that it’s synching with the outlook they’ve spelled out in ‘Silvera’ – “if you change yourself, you change the world” (I’d remark here, if not as a whole at least around you). It’s also whence my previous difficulty, each song becomes too personal to write about it “objectively”.
What else is different about this album? More singing, it doesn’t change that Joe is a vocalist rather than a singer as it’s not really great singing, certainly not if you judge it by high standards, or in other words he won’t be covering Nessun Dorma like Joey DeMaio (MANOWAR) any time soon. Yet... it doesn’t matter at all, it suits this album a lot more than that or if he took the same approach as with previous albums, even if listening to him shouting and growling is like listening to Zeus, wait I said that because he’s a sexy guy, more fitting description is like Yahweh come down to straighten out the idiots pissing on the life he created.
What are you waiting for? This is the best album you’re likely to hear this year... and until the next time they get together for another album. They’re, very easily said, one of the best bands in Metal. I just wish they won’t do what one of their most famous countrymen did – that as Rimbaud they’d abandon their art. Well, you’d not see those guys selling guns in Africa after either; I just hope they’ll keep going like this for a goddamn long, long time. Yes, I expect them to be no less than immortal, in artistic terms of course unless they find Holy Grail with elixir of life and live forever physically too.
01. The Shooting Star
03. The Cell
05. Yellow Stone
08. Only Pain
09. Low Lands
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Mario Duplantier – drums, percussion
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
http://www.gojira-music.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/GojiraMusic
Total: 10 / 10