Saturday, 30 June 2012

Review: Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

 Can you think of any band that's made as massive an impact on modern metal as Gojira? You probably can think of loads of modern bands that have brought metal to the masses with a more polished mainstream sound, but when you consider the richness, sophistication and simultaneous fusing of wondrous soundscaping created purely from crushingly heavy riffage and steel plated basslines that the Bayonne quartet have delivered in this modern era, well, all the others frankly pale in comparison. And while there will be a time again where I will speak well of other modern metal bands, after listening to their fifth release, the highly anticipated L'Enfant Sauvage, well, all the other bands should probably give up now.

 Already, metal fans across the globe have pointed their thoughts on what 2012's heaviest album may be towards Swedish tech-metal overlords Meshuggah, a band that Gojira have always been in the shadow of, for their astonishing Koloss, but honestly, L'Enfant Sauvage is a notably more triumphant listen with a much greater density that will blow any listener away. To use the kind of phrase that my soon-to-be sixth year friends from the school I no longer attend would use, as soon as the band kick into monstrous action on Explosia, "you will jizz."

 But seriously, with the album's range of steel plated riffs, whether they be presented through the earth-shattering complexity that Joe Duplainter and Christian Andreu have perfected in so skillfully to set themselves apart from any other name in metal on the storming title track or Planned Obsolescence or whether it's in the rich melodies that fit seamlessly with all the juddering complexity,as seen handled so well in the strength of Liquid Fire and the subtle yet surprising swagger of Mouth of Kala. The constant richness displayed in the six-string pounding leaves listeners totally immersed as well as crushing their skulls with the frighteningly intense performance and total thickness.

 The performance of Liquid Fire and Mouth of Kala is also an esteemed opportunity for listeners to marvel the roaring bass of Jean-Michel Labadie and delirious drumming skills of Mario Duplainter. Certainly if you try headbanging to Duplainter's outro on the latter song... you will die.

 While it's easy to just marvel at the technical ability of Gojira's playing the entire emotional spectrum that pours out of every note on this album is also truly remarkable. As The Axe sails gallantly into deep seas of victory, the performance of The Gift of Guilt and the calmer closer The Fall are anchored in doom, which really causes you to become captivated by Joe's tones of desperation and despair in his vocal performances on these songs while still keeping your head banging.

 I don't believe that such a thing exists as a Gojira album that cannot be a classic and they certainly prove that fact on L'Enfant Sauvage. The heaviness of this album is difficult to comprehend but it's done with such weight and pure dirt that nothing can be done to bring listeners out of the world of absolute wonder they've now become immersed in. It's almost difficult to come up with a final summation of how to describe how incredible this album is other than state that in terms of pure metal albums, this is 2012's finest.

Gojira's L'Enfant Sauvage is out now via Roadrunner.  

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