Hailing from Bayonne, France, Gojira have been carving a name in the progressive metal world for several years. Blending technical aspects with epic, yet understated melodies, the band has created a unique sound, one that is ferocious and brutal yet far more accessible than most of the genres fare. Now, with their latest offering, L’Enfant Sauvage, the band will offer their sound to a much larger audience, thanks in part to their signing to Roadrunner Records. But is this album a step forward for the band? Read on for the review.
Opening with “Exposia”, the album begins in chaos, brutal guitar riffs interspersed with guitar slide shrieks, frenzied yet deliberate drums when suddenly singer Joe Duplantier screams “Go!” and everything coalesces into a viciously tight, if oddly off-rhythm low-string chug session. Let’s just say that I almost sprained my neck headbanging. The song continued with this sonic assault until the 2:30 mark, where the song progressed at half the speed as before, adding in melody that is strangely hypnotic in how it’s played. The finale of the song has a strangely Western feel, reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.
The next three tracks continue the dynamics of brutality, melody, and plodding intensity. The title track, already out for several weeks, still thrills me, causing my blood to boil. “Liquid Fire” grabbed my interest with use of mechanical, almost robotic effects used during the verses, creating a call-and-response situation with unaffected and effected vocals, one snarling, one cold and calculating. The fifth song, “The Wild Fire”, is a short track that offers a quick reprieve from all the heaviness. Almost lighthearted, the instrumental piece is a welcome respite, a chance to let one’s ears relax a bit before continuing the musical journey ahead.
My personal favorite song is “The Gift Of Guilt”, which begins with a slightly overdriven finger tapped melody on the guitar. Suddenly, all of the instruments come in, the finger tapped melody gaining more overdrive, becoming more complex. As the song progresses, the grandiose, epic feeling only grows. It’s like seeing a leviathan rise from the water, the vastness of the creature only growing as more and more emerges.
The album sounds like previous Gojira releases, somewhat dirty and unrefined yet with a tone that perfectly suits the sounds of the songs. Props also have to be given to drummer Mario Duplantier, who creates some incredible rhythmic passages.
The Final Word: L’Enfant Sauvage cements Gojira’s place as one of the most inventive, unique metal bands of today. Run, don’t walk, to buy this album.
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