I feel like I’ve waited my whole life to hear this album. It follows Magma, and exceeded all of my expectations. I’m a huge Gojira fan and was waiting for this release for a long time.
Smartly, they released four great singles, sparking and perpetuating the excitement pre-release. Generally, you’d think the best songs are signed out first. Nope. Not here. Every single song makes sense where it is placed and every single song is great. Like really great!
Brilliantly written, thought out, arranged, produced, and recorded, it’s a bit different than the priors. It’s groovy, it’s heavy, its message is timely, brutally honest, and unapologetically GOJIRA.
Melodies bend, riffs surprise, harmonies pull it all into a beautiful masterpiece that we’ve waited for and that we need in these troubled times.
The thing about Gojira, and this album in particular, is the way you can’t predict upon first listen, but you can instinctually follow. Like most Gojira albums, the album in its entirety is great. The more you listen, the more you like…the more you like, the more you become one with it. I wonder, like I did with Magma, From Mars to Sirius, and L’Enfant Sauvage, “How did we live without it”?
It’s cultural and ethnic. It feels like the realization of doom is at our doorstep, both ecologically and politically. It feels like a cry for all of us to do something now…maybe even having faith in each other.
One thing is for sure: We can rest assured that we can have faith in our beloved Gojira.
Let’s look at it track by track.
- “Born for One Thing”: The drums. The repetition. The suspense. The buildup. Bam! It’s heavy. It’s groovy. It will likely mean many things to many people, but it feels clear to me it’s about faith, God, and the fear of dying. It’s a high contender for favorite song (but hey, we are just on song #1).
- “Amazonia”: Perfectly titled, this song is a beautiful song with thoughtful touches and heed-worthy lyrics. It’s bouncy and fun, juxtaposed with the heavy topic. The note bends, the chugs, the chants, the harmonies all come together beautifully to create a masterpiece of a song within a masterpiece of a record. Stand out lyrics: “The greatest miracle Is burning to the ground”.
- “Another World”: Smartly placed breathing points for the listener and likely the band, the harmonies are mesmerizing, and the circular pattern of the melody provided by the guitars, the haunting background that is spattered within provokes sadness and doom. Stand out lyrics: Don’t believe your lies, don’t believe your tales, I’m longing for the day I will find, another world, another place to be, Other world, a new place for me.” It’s about distrust of those in charge and fear that our world may not be our livable space for long. Is it about spirituality, where do we go? Where can we go?
- “Hold On”: From the highly experimental beginning. The seemingly simple guitars, the downturns…that pause. Galloping guitars followed by enhancements that only Gojira can accomplish. “Hold On,” is a solid song, full, toe tapping, head nodding. Parts of this song remind me of classic rock era bands. The finger tapping seemed out of place, but the more I listened to it I couldn’t even isolate it anymore…it just fit.
- “New Found”: bada bada bada badabadabada. bada bada bada badabadabada. Bada baDa wah. Bada baDa Wah…. Stunning, vibrant, playful…a bit pantera, a bit metallica…all Gojira. This is by far my favorite track on the album. I’d heard the released singles and loved them, but when I got the release and heard this song… replayed it over and over and over. Hands down, this is the track that captured my heart first.
- “Fortitude”: It’s a perfectly placed break with a simple beat, beautiful chanting melodies, little skips and surprises if you listen closely…and it breathes life into the “Chant,” which follows.
- “The Chant”: A unique song that follows the slower pace of “Fortitude” but with the fullness of every other song on the release. The chant of “O”s provides a surprise blues driven solo that sounds perfectly in place.
- “Sphinx”: Heavy vocals and classic guitar squelches are back. Undisputedly classic Gojira, but always a step ahead of the rest, “Sphinx” is a well thought out, written, and recorded.”
- “Into the Storm”: Fast-paced, enticing guitar rhythm, uplifting, optimistic.
- “The Trails”: Slow and steady, repetitive in a perfect trace composition. Dreamy, magical. I’ve never compared Gojira to any other band, because they are perfectly unique, however if I had to, I’d say this song felt a bit Opeth-y. Certainly, beautiful and emotion evoking, both lyrically and musically.
- “Grind”: Another one of my favorite tracks. Bouncy melody, gruff vocals, interesting chorus, buildups that excite, and properly placed “GO”! to signal the onslaught of awesomeness. “Grind” is the song with the most classic Gojira squelches, and ends with a beautiful, flowy, conclusion to this brilliant album.
The order of this release could not have been more perfect. No song is out of place, and no song could be interchanged; It just makes sense.
Taken from an interview from Metal Hammer with Gojira, for inspiration, Mario showed his brother several paintings and pieces of art. Among them was Pallas Athena, an 1898 painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. “It’s a beautiful painting,” says Joe. “He showed me some more examples of warriors and knights, and the artwork ended up being the Knights of The Round Table mixed with indigenous culture.”
You know what? Likely you have this too, but there always seems to be a band that is on the same spiritual or “human path” as you are on. That band has traditionally been In Flames, but the last two Gojira alums have provided the soundtrack to my life in so many ways. From questioning the Son vs. the Sun, to the album art that gives a nod to Gustav Klimt (my favorite artist), Gojira are truly a special band.
Obviously they have used their Co-vid/pandemic downtime wisely to produce a spectacular album that is both fresh and smart, experimental with classic Gojira elements that make you like them even more. This release has Grammy written all over it and will likely hold a lead position over any and all other releases that dare to come out in 2021.
- Joe Duplantier – vocals, rhythm guitar, production, arrangements, cover art
- Christian Andreu – lead guitar
- Jean-Michel Labadie – bass guitar
- Mario Duplantier – drums