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TERRA INCOGNITA

Gojira

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Gojira Terra Incognita album cover
2.99 | 44 ratings | 7 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Clone
2. Lizard Skin
3. Satan is a Lawyer
4. O4
5. Blow Me Away You (Niverse)
6. 5988 Trillions De Tonnes
7. Deliverance
8. Space Time
9. On the B.O.T.A.
10. Rise
11. Fire is Everything
12. Love
13. 1990 Quatrillions De Tonnes
14. In the Forest

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

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

Releases information

CD Gabriel Editions (2000)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to Punis for the last updates
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Terra IncognitaTerra Incognita
LISTENABLE RECORDS 2017
Audio CD$11.46
$16.86 (used)
Terra IncognitaTerra Incognita
Listenable Records 2009
Audio CD$41.51
$38.38 (used)

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GOJIRA Terra Incognita ratings distribution


2.99
(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
16%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
16%
Good, but non-essential (48%)
48%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)
9%

GOJIRA Terra Incognita reviews


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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.

Review by horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
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 Errors and Omissions Team
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
PROG REVIEWER
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
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Most bands have some sort of progression in their particular established sound (be it good or bad), and it seems perfectly understandable to mix things up once in a while. Even with a band like Metallica, who obviously received a large amount of backlash for simplifying their music and following more unfavorable trends during the 90s, at least took a gamble and tried something different. Gojira, the progressive death metal darlings of Bayonne, France, definitely took a slower and more subtle approach to evolution; whereas some bands are completely abrupt in their musical shift(s), Gojira always retain their death metal brutality while mixing a few new tricks with each passing album. Most notably, each album has gotten more melodic and featured more vocal variety. Proof of that? Terra Incognita, the band's first record (after numerous demos, of course) is primarily rooted in straightforward death metal, during the early days before they starting branching out their sound at bit more.

While containing many hints of the group's future and still being both technical and progressive to an extent, Terra Incognita is also a lot more raw and rough around the edges. Songs like "Love" and "Clone" are extremely pummeling numbers and showcase Mario Duplantier's double-bass pedal work quite extensively during the heaviest sections. Of course, even early Gojira material isn't complete without certain soft interludes to balance out the intensity, with sparse bass-driven "04" and the two "De Tonnes" songs fitting the bill. None of this stuff is really what makes the record as unique as it is, however; what really makes it stand out is just how bizarre and dark the whole vibe is. Perhaps some of this comes from how isolated and slightly murky the production sounds, but it's also from the weird experiments that are attempted. For instance, while "Love" is primarily a very heavy death metal song, the intro is this weird chromatic clean guitar segment that sets a different tone for the song entirely. "Blow Me Away You(niverse)" is another good example; while most of the song is your average midtempo song (albeit with a large emphasis toward high screams), a complete instrumental freakout comes out of nowhere with atonal guitar playing rushing forth and odd clear vocal harmonies combining with intimidating growls. It's a frantic change of pace, but one that's refreshingly in its unpredictability. Moments like these are what really make the album work.

Sadly, it comes at a price: inconsistency. While this album isn't completely disjointed-sounding, some songs should have been left out of the final product altogether. "Satan is a Lawyer," aside from having possibly the most ridiculous Gojira song title ever, has Joe Duplantier attempting this weird rapping during the verses. That's awkward enough, but the song never really catches fire; the riffs are tired, the drumming is a little dull, etc. Other songs suffer from bad musical concepts as well, such as the plodding "Lizard Skin" and the (quite frankly boring) clean "eerie" interlude "On the B.O.T.A." No song on here is terrible, but bad track placement and half-baked ideas take away from what works so well. This also extends to the other problem, being that the album is a little too straightforward sometimes. While it's already ahead of the game since many death metal debuts are more generic than this, the complaint I'm mentioning is more from a retrospective standpoint. After listening to the band's other efforts and hearing how much they've progressed, some of the music on here starts to sound a bit "cookie-cutter" after a while. Regardless, Terra Incognita was still a very solid first step for the band. While many bands struggle to find their footing with their first efforts, Gojira already found a sound they could expand upon with each successive release. Even if this only provides a glimpse of what the band would become, it's still a great standalone effort and deserves more attention.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
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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