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Gojira Terra Incognita album cover
3.06 | 72 ratings | 7 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Clone 4 (4:59)
2. Lizard Skin (4:30)
3. Satan Is a Lawyer (4:24)
4. 3 (2:10)
5. Blow Me Away You(niverse) 4 (5:10)
6. 5988 Trillions De Tonnes 4 (1:18)
7. Deliverance 4 (4:55)
8. Space Time 4 (5:22)
9. On the B.O.T.A. (2:47)
10. Rise (5:10)
11. Fire Is Everything 2.5 (4:57)
12. Love 4 (4:20)
13. 1990 Quatrillions De Tonnes 3 (4:20)
14. In the Forest (8:47)

Total Time 63:09

Bonus tracks on reissues:
15. Clone (live *) (4:46)
16. Love (live *) (4:16)
17. Space Time (live *) (5:22)

* Recorded in Antwerpen, February 11th 2006

Line-up / Musicians

- Joseph Duplantier / lead vocals, guitar
- Christian Andreu / guitar
- Jean-Michel Labadie / bass
- Mario Duplantier / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Gabrielle Duplantier (photo)

CD Gabriel Editions ‎- 24G001 (2001, France)
CD Listenable Records ‎- LIS 121 (2009, France) With 3 bonus Live tracks

2LP Listenable Records ‎- POSH325 (2016, France) Remastered by Raphael Bovey with 3 bonus Live tracks

Digital album

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GOJIRA Terra Incognita ratings distribution

(72 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

GOJIRA Terra Incognita reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Terra Incognita" is the debut full-length studio album by French extreme metal act Gojira. The album was released through Gabriel Records in March 2001.

The music on the album is technically well played and at times progressive death/thrash metal. Gojiraīs music isnīt easily pinned down to one genre tag but Iīd mention artists like Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory and Chimaira as some of the influences on the bandīs music. Well...the latter mentioned might not be an influence as they are a contemporary act, but there are quite a few similarities between them. The groove based yet precision sharp riffs and rythms, the aggressive vocals (which in Gojiraīs case lean more towards growling on this particular album) and a powerful and clean sound production.

The material is a bit up and down in quality. Tracks like the opener "Clone" and "Blow Me Away You(niverse)" are really great to my ears, while a track like the more experimental "Satan Is a Lawyer" isnīt that successful to my ears. There are other tracks on "Terra Incognita" which disturb the consistency of the album and there are some pretty unremarkable tracks featured on the album too. So all in all Iīd call "Terra Incognita" a mixed bag. It holds a lot of promise though and if you are familiar with the later more mature material by the band the sound and style on "Terra Incognita" wonīt come as a complete surprise. Itīs just less refined and intriguing than their later material. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by horsewithteeth11
3 stars Well, here we are: the debut album by an experimental death metal band that has begun to make leaps and bounds and really stick out among others in the genre. If we hear 5-10 years down the road that Gojira is/was a major influence for a lot of metal bands, I wouldn't be too surprised.

This album is where it began. However, some of the genius still has yet to appear. Don't get me wrong though. This is a pretty good album. However it has nothing on their later releases, especially FMtS and TWoAF. The musicians are already competent, which shows very well on this album, especially on one of my favorite songs on here, Satan is a Lawyer. However, I have to agree with other sentiments about this album not being terribly original. The use of old school death metal riffs is always neat to hear from a modern band and is nostalgic for me. But Gojira doesn't bring a whole lot new to the table in this release. I hear too many influences from bands like Meshuggah and some old school death metal bands (I believe a fellow reviewer mentioned Dying Fetus at some point, which I believe is a good example) for me to be incredibly interested. Because of this flaw, a lot of the songs sound quite similar to each other and there isn't much variation. If you want to pick up some Gojira, don't start here. If however you already have some of their better albums and want to help complete your collection, you should enjoy this one as well. I'll give it 3 stars because it does have its moments. But those moments are sometimes few and far between.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Why so same ? Why so uninteresting, more than one hour of boring, so obnoxious music. It's not even shocking force of terror (add some capital letters), which strikes The Unprepared and sows the seeds of fear amongst the ones that hates something that we can call by umbrella term "death metal" (let it be death ... wait a minute, why it's so boring, isn't it dead ?). However, this fails even to disturb me. To enrich me, to please me, even to move me at all. Hope that their future albums are better, way better. Not that I completely disregards DM(Z), I don't, or more like not at all, because I like some of it. It's not majority, it's small minority, but I do. And this didn't happen to nominate into this "win" group.

2(+), oh kay ? Music is boring and dull, providing basic Death Metal pattern with no spicing flavour that makes it interesting. Sigh, it's like rating punk here. Oh, they started to growl right now, great, so unpredictable.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars 6/10

"Terra Incognita" is an overall successful mix of technicality, heaviness, and aggression.

Gojira are a French Progressive Death Metal band that have a loving fan base, thanks to albums like "From Mars To Sirius" and "The Way Of All Flesh", both of them regarded as modern Death Metal/ Progressive Metal classics. Before their rise to recognition, "Terra Incognita" was released, back in the year 2000, overshadowed by so much more brilliant music despite being an overall decent listen.

The level of maturity in this debut album is already quite impressive: the production is top notch, the riffs are nice and heavy, some even worth of an album like "The Way Of All Flesh". There is a flavor of Nu Metal/Alternative Metal in the concept and image of this album: it almost feels like a much heavier, technical, and fierce version of a Sepultura album, also because of it's Latin American mysticism-inspired lyrics. The heaviness of the album is what would turn on metalheads: the vocals are also extremely brute, and they truly feel shouted from the inner guts of singer Joe Duplianter. This in-your-face take is accentuated with a strong, technical feeling: the riffs can be extremely fast, or heavily syncopated to the point where calling it Progressive Metal is more than a safe thing to do.

The flaws this album has, however, are a few, the first one is the one that mainly kills some more potential entertainment this album could have had: it doesn't feature as much variety as the following albums by the band. You might enjoy quite a bit the first half hour or so, but then, it's not hard to notice, eventually, how the musical diversities from song to song aren't very many, making the listen a rather monotonous ride. By the end of the album, the listener can easily feel sick of that kind of music, and would wish to lay off it a bit.

Some of the songs here though are extremely enjoyable for one who enjoys this kind of music, starting from the straight-to-the-point opener, "Clone". "Lizard Skin" and "Blow Me Away You(niverse)" are great concerts pieces that give further blood rushing in the listener's veins. But the best song is easily the closer, "In The Forest", the most fiercely technical piece here, added with a potent dose of heaviness.

"Terra Incognita" has some standout moments and tracks that could have become Gojira classics, but as a whole, it stretches out a little too much and doesn't offer much more than aggression. Still something worth while listening to, especially if you're a fan of the band, and want to hear their earlier days.

Review by Necrotica
3 stars As I've stated previously, Gojira's pre-From Mars to Sirius work was largely a case of throwing [&*!#] at the wall and seeing what sticks. While both The Link and the Godzilla demos demonstrated this approach, there can't be a better example than Terra Incognita. To be fair, this happens with a lot of debut albums; when an artist doesn't quite know where to go yet artistically, many strange things can happen in the songwriting process. As such, Terra Incognita cycles through several genres and sounds, many of which would never rear their heads again on future Gojira releases. Elements of death metal, metalcore, groove metal, progressive metal, thrash, and even hints of nu-metal make their way into the record in one way or another. And while this variety tends to make Terra Incognita the most inconsistent and unbalanced album they've released, I can't deny how compelling the material is.

But let's be real here: barring the demos, this happens to be the most brutal piece of work the band have ever crafted. It may not be as sludgy as From Mars to Sirius or as lyrically dark as The Way of All Flesh, but it's definitely the most relentlessly bludgeoning one. Mario Duplantier's machine gun double bass often leads the charge, especially on the more intense cuts like "Clone" and "Love"; meanwhile, Joe Duplantier's vocals are much lower and more growl-oriented than on future albums. Still, you can definitely hear hints at what his vocal style would evolve into, such as the clean vocals used on tracks like "Satan is a Lawyer" and "On the B.O.T.A." or the half-screamed half-sung vocals on "Space Time" and "In the Forest". What makes Terra Incognita so fun to listen to is that you get to hear so many variations on the band's signature sound; this may not lead to a very cohesive record, but I don't think that was what Gojira had in mind when they recorded it.

As you'd imagine, this leads to some pretty weird moments from time to time, and they do indeed appear. The aforementioned "Satan is a Lawyer" tries to reconcile rap metal with death metal to some pretty dodgy results, while the entirety of "On the B.O.T.A." is based around a dissonant guitar line that produces an eerie atmosphere. Some of the stranger moments are quite amazing, such as the frantic bridge of "Blow Me Away You(niverse)", in which tremolo-picked guitars are met with one of Joe's most intense vocal performances to date. There's also one of the best interludes Gojira have ever put on an album, "04". Here, we can hear a birthday message the Duplantiers recorded for their now-late mother before Christian Andreu provides an amazing melodic guitar part to cap things off. It's really atmospheric, just as all good Gojira interludes should be.

Unfortunately, all of this variation does lead to the biggest problem with Terra Incognita: lack of focus and consistency. This is an album best heard in chunks rather than as a full experience, as many of the songs simply don't fit very well and hinder the record's flow. "1990 Quatrillions de Tonnes" is probably the worst offender, an incredibly annoying instrumental track that's sandwiched between two of the best songs on the album. Even if you find the wailing voices interesting, it's not worth getting through four minutes of them. And simply put, some of the more "standard" Gojira songs are just not very interesting. "Lizard Skin" suffers from a lot of generic chug riffs, while "Fire is Everything" just seems to go from riff to riff without solid transitions gluing them together. If the album as a whole was trimmed down to about 10 of the strongest tracks, it would probably be much better off.

Really though, the variety and eccentricities are what make Terra Incognita so unique in the Gojira discography. The adventurousness found here is really fascinating, especially since we now know the band would drastically tone down their sound in the future. It may not be perfect, and obviously the songwriting polish of the group's heyday wasn't entirely there yet, but the record is still incredibly fun to spin once in a while because of its quirks. Well, that and also to speculate on what it would have been like if Gojira kept getting more brutal in an alternate universe.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars After spending the latter half of the 90s beginning with their formation as Godzilla, this band from Bordeaux, France changed their name to the Japanese romaji pronunciation of Godzilla which became GOJIRA just before the release of their debut album TERRA INCOGNITA (Latin for 'unknown land') in 2001. While the band was founded by brothers Joe (vocals, guitars) and Mario Duplantier (drums) along with Christian Andrea (lead guitarist) and Alexandre Cornilon (bass), Cornion would be replaced by Jean-Michel Labadie before the first album which has been the same lineup to the present day. While these guys began their journey as a rather run-of-the-mill death metal band with some groove and alternative elements, around the turn of the millennium the floodgates opened and they began adding more progressive and experimental elements to the mix and by the time they debuted their first album, they had acquired a rather unique style in the crowded world of extreme metal.

While still Godzilla, the band cranked out several demos that clearly showed their ties to the thrash metal world of early Metallica, the groove metal world of Pantera and the early thrash likings of Slayer and Sepultura. Somewhere around the time of the name change to GOJIRA though, something happened with the addition of Labadie and the band found an effectively unique chemistry which allowed them to hone their craft rather quickly. TERRA INCOGNITA expands beyond the Morbid Angel death metal with thrash and groove elements and adds alternative, some industrial and even enters progressive metal territory although on this debut they would not be fully ripe in that department for a couple more albums. Despite the lack thereof in comparison to future releases however there are many signs of unorthodox compositional constructs, interesting time signature changes and playful polyrhythms laced with tempo shifts and unexpected deviations from the norm.

While later more progressive albums such as 'From Mars To Sirius' embark on highly progressive workouts wrapped up in a cloak of conceptual storytelling, TERRA INCOGNITA is more of a collection of extreme art metal tracks that are often stylistically unrelated but nevertheless provide glimpses into the expanding progressive tentacles reaching out in myriad directions. Tracks vary in style and approach but crunchy alternative metal riffing in tandem with death metal blastbeat drum abuse is a common strategy for eking out the extreme aggressive fury that GOJIRA so deftly crafts into metal magic none of which is absent on album number one. TERRA INCOGNITA is laced with addictive guitar riffs that are repetitive in nature but vary distinctly from one track with some being bantering bass lines and others registering high in the upper treble range. The bass often provides a groovy counterpoint to the guitar riffing and Mario Duplantier's drumming skills are of the highest magnitude as he attacks the skins in a multitude of playing styles ranging from the straight forward metal beat to full-fledged jazz infused technical workouts.

While Joe Duplantier's vocals typically are utilized in the growly death metal style, he occasionally contrasts with clean vocals as well as semi-spoken segments. I seem to be on the opposite side of the fence than most regarding GOJIRA's under appreciated debut release TERRA INCOGNITA. True that it is not as sophisticated as the more illustrious masterpieces that would follow but taken on its own, this is one extremely tight unit of one brilliant track after another. There is a more freeform 'anything goes' approach to TERRA INCOGNITA. There is the instrumental workout on '04' which takes a siesta away from the death metal brutality and creates a counterpoint workout on strings (as well as other ambient breaks), there is the Korn-esque nu metal sound heard on 'Blow Me Away You(NIVERSE)' as well the strange hypno-space trance interlude of '5988 Trillions De Tonnes.' Also on board is the strange alternative / thrash riffing hybridization of 'Space Time' and bizarre guitar licks that begin tracks such as 'On The B.O.T.A.' GOJIRA really knew how to mix and match various metal elements that leave you wondering exactly what's going on. While this is death metal at its core, it is so much more varied than the average band in the genre. Perhaps too weird for the uninitiated but if you approach this more as extreme death art metal than you would be on the right track. I find this one to be underrated and misunderstood. Excellent debut by this one of a kind band from France! I really love listening to this one.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This is the debut from a....French Progressive Tech-Death band? wow, didnt even know that France had a metal scene..(apparntly they do) Anyway this album is...well its not their greatest, i do agree with most people it can be very very very tedious and boring, sometimes bringing to mind bands lik ... (read more)

Report this review (#289801) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Friday, July 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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