French Metallers Gojira have received widespread acclaim for both their albums and their live shows, and the release of their fifth album, 'L'Enfant Sauvage' is certain to cement their reputation as one of Metal's more inventive bands.
Coming in at just under 53 minutes, this eleven track opus kicks off in fine style with 'Explosia'. The longest track on the album, it's well named featuring a drumbeat from Mario Duplantier that's solid and heavy enough to wake Satan himself from his slumber.
This comes backed up with a ferocious guitar riff from Joe Duplantier who also supplies the aggressive vocals. Track two is the title track and also the first single 'L'Enfant Sauvage', which translates simply as 'The Wild Child', and is a supreme example of why Gojira are classed as Technical Death Metal – a quiet intro simmers gently before a solid complex sounding riff bubbles under some brutal lyrics.
'The Axe' could be classed as a typical Gojira track and although not specifically a standout track on this album, it's inclusion here is justified as it's still a good solid track. 'Liquid Fire' is a frantic chase from the beginning with drummer Mario Duplantier setting the pace before an unusual sounding guitar riffs makes an appearance. I'm not exactly sure where the sound comes from in the band's toolkit, but it certainly gives this track a unique flavour.
'The Wild Healer' gives a short break from the crushing riffs by way of what could be described as an almost jaunty instrumental track, showcasing the musical skill of guitarist Christian Andreu. By far and away the shortest track on the album, it's quite unexpected but it's a thoroughly enjoyable interlude before coming to a fairly abrupt end to make way for 'Planned Obsolescence'.
Starting off as one of the heaviest songs on the album, 'Planned Obsolescence' has already supplanted itself as one of my favourite tracks of the moment. From the thundering double bass drum intro, this is everything you expect it to be – intense, heavy and relentless. In amongst all this, however, Joe Duplantier still manages to sing (as opposed to his usual vocal style) during the middle section of the song before the track reverts to an unexpectedly sedate ending. This has all the hallmarks of a future Gojira classic.
'Mouth Of Kala' sees the band discussing the obsession that some people seem to have with youth and its brevity. This has an almost orchestral sound, whilst still being heavy, punctuated with a quieter section towards the end that again shows how musically flexible the band can be – extreme Metal doesn't always have to grind.
Interestingly, 'The Gift Of Guilt' and 'Pain Is A Master' both start off with fairly straight-ahead sounding intros before the main riff kicks in. The former being another firm favourite of min after only a few listens - possibly due to the unusual guitar sound that it has.
'Born In Winter' turns the tables slightly by having a quiet intro and verse whilst the middle section reverts to a heavier tone, giving Joe Duplantier another chance to give his vocal chords a break. The album's final track, 'The Fall', gives bass player Jean-Michel Labadie a chance to shine in between the heavy main guitar riff, bringing to a close a monumental album that I'm sure will appear on a lot of 'Best Of 2012' lists by the end of the year.
Monday 25th June – Sheffield Corporation, Sheffield
Tuesday 26th June – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham
Wednesday 27th June – Islington Academy, London
The Wild Healer
Mouth Of Kala
The Gift Of Guilt
Pain Is A Master
Born In Winter
Joe Duplantier − Vocals, Guitar
Christian Andreu − Guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie - Bass
Mario Duplantier − Drums, Percussion