- Band / Artist Gojira
- Genre Progressive Metal
- Label Roadrunner Records
- Year 2012
- Format Album
French quartet Gojira is out with their latest record “L’enfant Sauvage” (which interprets to “The wild child”) via Roadrunner Records, the same guys who house Slipknot and Machine Head and the lot. Gojira comprises of Duplantier brothers, Joseph on Vocals/Guitars and Mario on Drums, Christian Andrew on Guitar and Jean-Michael Labadie on Bass.
The Bayonne 4-piece is back with a bang last year’s unfortunate “Sea-Shepherd (E.P)” fiasco in which the band lost its recordings due to technical mishaps, which led to the release of only one song, “Of Blood And Salt”.
A Gojira record has several tell-signs, the sledgehammer drumming, dynamic soundscapes, dissonant grooves, hooks, melodic interludes, infinite palm muted riffing, are something that makes this record feel right home even though its much different in character than the previous Gojira album. “Explosia” opens “L’enfant Sauvage” with a skull-crushing groove. The relentless assault of palm-muted riffing welcomes home old fans of the band while winning over some new ones. At seven minutes of play time, the track already achieves all that Gojira are known for. Sample Joseph Duplantier’s death growls that have a tinge of melancholy and are yet louder than life. The title track from the album is up next- a beautiful track with a tremolo for the verse and good old Mario Duplantier to back it up with his insane percussive prowess. What makes a Gojira song tick is how much passion, groove, and fruitful musical tactfulness is portrayed in their songs: for a band tuned to drop D, they have an adroit, beautiful side to their brutality. The title track was released as the first and only single off the album shortly before the record was released. Noteworthy thing about the tracks on the album is that, Gojira exhibits a knack for excellent melodic interludes, playing around with a singular riff- as in the title track- and then blasting everything into oblivion with a flurry of instrumental activity. The title track also bears testimony to the fact that there is a certain melodic layer to Joe Duplantiers vocals as well, as you might notice in the third track “The Axe” too, where he maintains a steady transition between mid-ranged growls and low death growls. “The Axe” is a slow paced track with a melodic tinge to it shows a side to Gojira that was not present at large in the previous records. Next track “Liquid Fire” boasts of Labadie’s rumbling groovy bass tones locked in with Mario Duplantier’s percussions. Tracks like this display the technical side to the band as they mingle heavy distorted grooves with discernible raspy growls.
“Planned Obsolence” opens with a bang after lull in the chaos, with a sledgehammer groove. A new element to the Gojira formula would be that Joe Duplantier engages the listener in some semi-clean (for the lack of a better word) vocals. The lyrics are easier to understand, the song-writing appears much more impeccably on-time. “Mouth Of Kala”, is a personal favourite, what with the single snare-hit intro, and the trot of palm-muted riffing. It fascinating how the band adds a doomy element to the song, with abrupt (but not unexpected) tempo shifts. With a song like “The Gift Of Guilt” in their repertoire now Gojira introduces a whole new dimension to their arsenal: Opening on a slow, calculated, melodic note, the track soon delves into the usual frenzied but taut riff action. This is the kind of track that would get the fans in the pit foaming in their mouth. Balladish from the word go, “Pain Is A Master” paints a surreal picture in the listeners mind. It sort of reminds one of the imagery from the “Vacuity” music video. With melodic riffing and Joe Duplantier’s strained but commanding vocals to urge you to listen on, the track takes the record to a melancholic level that explores the truest form of emotion exhibited by humans. “Born In Winter” opens to humming basslines and ghostly vocals, strangely reminiscent of the true gritty grunge sound, but soon enough exploding in a mish-mash of drumming and palm muted riffage. “The Fall” brings this chapter of Gojira to an end. Somewhat of a throwback to the “From Mars To Sirius” song structuring, it’s slow-paced, heavy, boasting of guitar-squeals and slides. Bringing the album to an end after a mind-warping 52 minutes long journey, “The Fall” is how the old fans of Gojira would like an album to end.
“L’enfant Sauvage” is a concept album although the underlying story has not been publicized by the band itself. Some say that it’s about an adolescent boy who was stranded in a forest and found many later and was subjected to experiments to test his adaptive skills; some might interpret it as an individual’s struggle to break the shackles of self-sabotage and the strife to kill the process and embrace humanity again. Or maybe it’s the same Green-peace message delivered in a more subtle magnified manner. You never know, there are many layers to the Gojira-sphere.
Gojira has always been characterized as a brutal force of nature to reckon with. Their lyrical themes speak of the crimes against nature, where every blast beat is an aural retaliation. A catchy chorus,signature tone, gentle melodic guitar parts, pummelling bass-lines and unearthly drumwork- that’s what it takes to recognize a Gojira song, they said: Oh! They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s so much more than that. It takes much more than that to craft a Gojira number. The formula might be simple but to figure it out and make it click is the real genius.. Alas! I do not play in a French Progressive Death Metal band so I’m going to sit in the woods and blare some “sauvage” into my ears.
Pros: Familiar tones, same unforgiving drum assault, familiar lyrical themes- smells like earth spirit.
Cons: Fails to impress when pitted against tracks like “Remembrance” and “The Art Of Dying” from their previous efforts.
To hit the nail square on the head, “L’enfant Sauvage” can be defined as the most accessible and mainstream avatar of the French quartet. This is more about Progressive than about Death Metal.
Arkadeep Deb, as of now is a 20 year old engineering student from Kolkata. When he’s not harmlessly trolling around or watching Two and a Half Men re-runs, he dabbles in all-things-Metal, Photography, Songwriting, Reviews, you name it. While building up his chops in guitar/ vocals as we speak, he’s doing his utmost to represent the genre he loves, protesting social-stereotyping and pigeon-holing of its followers and lending a patient ear to the beloved underground. His first tryst with Metal was 5 years ago, when one fateful day he popped a bootleg SLIPKNOT: SUBLIMINAL VERSES and LAMB OF GOD: ASHES OF THE WAKE split-record in the cd-tray. There has been no looking back ever-since.
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