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GOJIRA

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • France


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Gojira biography
GOJIRA was formed in 1996 in a garage near Bayonne - South East of France - under the original moniker GODZILLA. The motivations of the DUPLANTIER brothers
(Joe on guitar/lead vocals and Mario on drums) and their band fellows Jean-Michel LABADIE (on bass) and Christian ANDREU (guitar) were less than sophisticated. But even through the thinnest booklet of their first demo cover issued under the predictable title "Possessed" there still emerged the first signs of their future emancipation.

GODZILLA might have been a big green monster smashing down cardboard buildings, taken from Japanese science-fiction films from the 60s deemed out of style today, but it was also a metaphor about the threat of nuclear weapons with which man plays, unconscious of the consequences.

Due to legal rights, GODZILLA changed its name to GOJIRA right before their first album,2001's "Terra Incognita".GOJIRA is in fact the Japanese translation of its original name. Even though the music had already changed, the way of doing things stayed the same. So call it whatever you want: an ecological thought, a politically correct speech, a 50% new age and 50% hippy mentality. The band, itself, remains the same since birth.

After more than 300 concerts in France and abroad, and a live DVD which sold 2500 copies nationally without the support of a "big" distributor and after the recognition from the public for their 2003 release "The Link", it was about time for GOJIRA to explode...which is currently happening.

Recorded at home in the studios of the Milans,"From Mars to Sirius",released in 2005, is an album of revolt, where ancestral forces of dragons are mentioned, the ocean shows its anger and all codes are red lighted. An album where action has taken over speech. Revolution is coming. So take a step ahead of it before it crushes you.

Highly recommended for fans of brutal yet technically complex progressive metal.

Partial Source:http://www.gojira-music.com/




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Approved by the Progressive Metal Team of Special Collaborators



Discography:
Terra Incognita, studio album (2001)
The Link, studio album (2003)
From Mars to Sirius, studio album (2005)
...

GOJIRA Videos (YouTube and more)


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Way of All FleshWay of All Flesh
Did 2015
$8.23
$8.22 (used)
MagmaMagma
Roadrunner Records 2016
$8.07
$4.92 (used)
From Mars to SiriusFrom Mars to Sirius
Did 2014
$8.28
$6.00 (used)
L'Enfant SauvageL'Enfant Sauvage
Roadrunner Records 2012
$7.82
$6.04 (used)
L'enfant Sauvage: LimitedL'enfant Sauvage: Limited
101 DISTRIBUTION 2012
$9.07
$9.06 (used)
The Flesh Alive (MVD73877)The Flesh Alive (MVD73877)
Box set
Provogue 2012
$8.48
$8.38 (used)
LinkLink
Did 2015
$15.98
Terra IncognitaTerra Incognita
LISTENABLE RECORDS 2017
$14.29
$24.99 (used)
The Link AliveThe Link Alive
LISTENABLE RECORDS 2017
$24.27
$29.03 (used)
Terra IncognitaTerra Incognita
Listenable Records 2009
$9.95 (used)
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GOJIRA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GOJIRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.01 | 48 ratings
Terra Incognita
2001
3.41 | 53 ratings
The Link
2003
3.97 | 185 ratings
From Mars to Sirius
2005
4.14 | 197 ratings
The Way of All Flesh
2008
3.81 | 93 ratings
L'Enfant Sauvage
2012
3.83 | 80 ratings
Magma
2016

GOJIRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GOJIRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.92 | 6 ratings
The Link Alive
2005
4.40 | 5 ratings
The Flesh Alive
2012

GOJIRA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GOJIRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Gojira/Kvelertak Live
2013

GOJIRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 From Mars to Sirius by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 185 ratings

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From Mars to Sirius
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Egyptianprog-Fahmy

5 stars 4.7/5 an excellent metal album, great vocals, wow guitar moments, dirty bass riffs and an exceptional drummer (rounded to a 5). One of Gojira's greatest works.

Gojira have always surprised me with their albums, from Mars to Sirius to me, was a journey of whales, oceanplanets, space and planet exploration to global warming. I was instantly hooked. This is an album with a huge song list of metal and I loved every one of them. Yet, if I choose a favorite it would be Global Warming Flying whales, which was the epitome of this exceptional album.

I do not know what to say other than everyone must listen to this album.

 Terra Incognita by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.01 | 48 ratings

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Terra Incognita
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic 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.

 Magma by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 80 ratings

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Magma
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Magma" is the 6th full-length studio album by French progressive/groove metal act Gojira. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in June 2016. Itīs been four years since the release of "L'Enfant Sauvage (2012)", but itīs not an unusual release cycle for Gojira as there were also four years between "The Way of All Flesh (2008)" and "L'Enfant Sauvage (2012)". They have always been a meticulous act, who would rather spend a few more years perfecting their material rather than release an album a year they arenīt completely satisfied with.

Stylistically there have been a few changes since "L'Enfant Sauvage (2012)", although Gojiraīs trademark progressive/groove metal style is overall intact. This time around lead vocalist/guitarist Joe Duplantier experiments quite a bit with clean vocals in addition to his more regular raw vocals, and that is pretty new in Gojiraīs musical universe, and it has a great impact on the bandīs sound on "Magma". The tracks are also generally a bit more simple and atmospheric compared to the more riff heavy and often relatively complex structured material of the past.

The change is heard right from the opening track "The Shooting Star", which is quite an atmospheric slow building track featuring clean vocals. "Silvera" follows and is a much more riff heavy and aggressive track though (the main riff is absolutely killer), so itīs not all mellow and melancholic atmospheres. Even the more heavy tracks like "Silvera" and "Only Pain", feature a good portion of atmospheric parts though. Other noteworthy tracks include "Stranded", which features quite the distinct sounding pitchshifter riff ("Only Pain" actually features a very similar sounding riff), and the atmospheric title track, but "Magma" is generally a consistent high quality release.

"Magma" features a powerful and detailed sound production, which suits the material well, and upon conclusion, itīs another intriguing and adventurous release by Gojira. Compared to the preceding releases by the band, itīs a lot more accessible and instantly catchy, and I think thatīll win them a new audience, but donīt make the mistake of thinking this is mainstream hook laden material, because thatīs after all not true. Thereīs still a good degree of complexity in the songwriting and execution of the music, which should ensure that older fans of the band, should be able to enjoy it too. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 The Way of All Flesh by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 197 ratings

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The Way of All Flesh
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Gojira's The Way of All Flesh is an interesting experiment in producing progressive death metal. It is not an exercise in technical complexity to such an extent that you'd call it technical death metal; rather, it works in some prog metal and prog rock song structures and compositional approaches and motifs into the tunes here. Keeping the emphasis on high-quality compositions rather than technical showboating ensures that, despite being a 75 minute album, it never really drags, with the end result being a release which both brings the death metal thunder and uses it carefully and artfully for maximal effect. Great stuff.
 Magma by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 80 ratings

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Magma
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Magma' - Gojira (74/100)

Gojira remain crushingly heavier than the vast majority of "commercial" metal bands today. That said, Magma lends the impression they've come closer to quiet introspection than ever before. With that, I get the mixed reaction from fans. For whatever reason, I'm reminded of the way The Mars Volta reinvented themselves in 2009 with Octahedron; they're simply taking their essential style down a more subdued path than we're used to hearing from them.

This has been the most interesting time to talk about Gojira at least since the release of The Way of All Flesh in 2008. They had fallen off my personal radar for a few years, and I haven't been enamoured as much with From Mars to Sirius and The Way of All Flesh since around the time the two came out. A polarized reception like Magma's, if anything, seemed like a sign that Gojira might be reinventing themselves in a way that could make them exciting again. A more melodic, atmospheric and airy album could not possibly have been popular with their fanbase, but that's not to say they don't do it really well.

Of any of Gojira's albums, this is definitely the biggest grower-type they've yet released. Because it's not as intensely heavy and urgent as the others, the layers take more time to grow. Considering I've always considered that their sheer heaviness was one of Gojira's best, it really is refreshing to hear them without those extremes. From this, their other defining traits come through more clearly. Their massive-sounding atmosphere still makes it sound like they're recording in an underwater cavern, the progressive grooves are extremely hooky, and the melodic accents carry their weight several times over. Gojira have effectively channelled the same urgency in tighter confines. The writing isn't quite as consistent as it could have been, but there's more than enough solid material here to suggest their change of pace was a good idea.

The mellower (at least relative to past work) approach works well for Gojira's subject this time around. Although their music's almost always related to their personal convictions, Magma draws the music even closer to home. The Duplantier brothers' loss of their mother affected and moved them a ton; it would be more surprising if their next album hadn't been inspired at least in part by that experience. From this, Gojira's most powerful lyrics have inevitably stemmed; even if their clean vocals aren't quite strong enough to deserve such a prominent role on the album, the words and lyrics are powerful enough to sell it through. Even if Magma was inspired by a real-life loss, they still manage to touch upon grander ideas: the afterlife, the loss of love, and the will to carry on in spite of pain. They're not the sort of lyrics you can fully appreciate on paper alone; the music's celestial atmosphere is what gives the words their spiritual weight.

There are a few fantastic songs here. "The Shooting Star" is a slowburning opener that quickly impresses the fact upon the listener that they're in for a subdued Gojira. "Silvera" was the first song I checked out from the album, and it's still probably my favourite, with punchy dark riffs that sound like they were drawn from The Way of All Flesh. "Stranded" has one of the coolest-sounding riffs I've ever heard from the band, and "Low Lands" is a solid way to climax the album, trailed afterwards by the gently acoustic "Liberation". Although the album has definitely grown on me over the course of listens, I have started to feel that Magma is conspicuously frontloaded when it comes to its quality material. All of the songs here are solid, but I find a harder time in remembering great moments from the second half of the record. I support Gojira's subdued evolution, but the lack of standouts nonetheless puts this below their best work. Other than that, there are no gripes to be had with the band's softer approach. The same intensity as always is here-- it just takes a bit more digging on the part of the listener to get it.

 Magma by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 80 ratings

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Magma
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If Gojira's last effort L'Enfant Sauvage presented a more streamlined sound, Magma is the next step in stripping it down. Abandoning the technical death metal sound that got them popular in the metal world might seem like a betrayal to some, but I've always seen Gojira as more of a progressive metal band anyway. They've often eschewed the modern tech-death tag in favor of a sound that, while brutal, is heavily textured and dripping with atmosphere all the same. Gojira's way of combining beautiful textures, chunky riffs, and impressive instrumental skills is simply infectious, especially in albums like The Way of All Flesh and The Link. But Magma is a bit of a different beast, as it opts for an alarmingly simple approach to their signature sound. The groove metal element is still retained, but there's almost a post-metal quality about the way the album is presented. We now have much more buildup and subtle dynamic shifts in many of the tunes, and this is clear right from the slow-burning opener "Shooting Star," a song which immediately brings a sense of minimalism to the forefront. During the verses, a single guitar/bass note is repeatedly being played at the bottom while Joe Duplantier's clear vocals take charge above it. While "Silvera" picks up the pace substantially with Mario Duplantier's technical drumming and swifter guitar chugs, "Shooting Star" is a clear foreshadowing of the album's tone. Speaking of vocals, Joe's clean vocals are much more prominent. Harsh singing is still present, but it's more thrash-based in nature instead of being gravelly; basically Joe's shouted vocals are especially frequent. In any case, it's not like Gojira's technical side has been entirely erased here, as moments like the punchy-yet-melodic "Silvera" or the amazingly intricate polyrhythmic intro of "The Cell" demonstrate.

But strange moments do pop up more than once as a result of the band's stylistic shift. The somber instrumental piece "Yellow Stone" is certainly in character for the band, given how their melancholic guitar-driven interlude "The Silver Cord" from The Way of All Flesh sounded. But it still seems completely crazy that they would place an acoustic ambient/folk song at the very end of the album, especially one that lasts for as long as it does (almost 4 minutes, in this case). But "Liberation" does represent this album's experimentation nicely, and the preceding track "Low Lands" is another odd song that emphasizes a doom-laden atmosphere and somber melodies over outright heaviness. If there are any songs here that represent Gojira's more traditional sound from past albums, they would be "Silvera," "Stranded," and "Only Pain." Here, you get to hear all the intense double-bass drumming, heavy guitar distortion from Duplantier and Christian Andreu, and bassist Jean-Michel Labadie's monstrous grooves. This is most notably heard on the fantastic chorus of "Stranded" which subtly slides into a 6/4-time riff while Joe Duplantier belts out some of his most intense harsh vocals yet. But I feel as though the more adventurous songs are also the most exciting ones; they may seem simplistic at first, but despite (and partially because of) their minimalism, they command the listener's full attention through their subtleties. It would also be sensible to mention the event that likely influenced much of this album's tone and style: the tragic loss of Joe and Mario Duplantier's mother, Patricia Rosa. So the somber and downbeat vibe of Magma would certainly make sense because of this as well. While I don't think this is Gojira's best record, and it definitely seems like a transitional one, it's an incredibly exciting one at the same time. It can be tonally inconsistent once in a while, but the unusual experiments and minimalist songwriting choices definitely stick out in a genre filled with technical wizardry and complexity. Magma may be from a different Gojira than we're used to, but it's still an excellent piece of work.

 Magma by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 80 ratings

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Magma
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

3 stars Gojira's latest is a bit underwhelming. Simplified, often less heavy, and less energetic, it still checks all the boxes so to speak, but it's woefully inconsistent. At times it's forcefully aggressive, and other times it channels slower, mediocre groove metal, complete with chugs and forgettable (and even annoying) riffs, Gojira's quality fluctuates with their differing levels of heaviness, and with both their experimentation and lack thereof.

Magma sounds a lot like Mastodon in places, but instead of doing a fill every other measure the drummer plays off the chugging guitars, and sometimes that's the only way to really tell them apart. It's definitely in some of the riffing, but the clean vocals really create this similarity. The singing that possibly makes up a majority of the vocals doesn't have much feeling to it, even though it's performed well otherwise. Gojira's strong point doesn't seem to be the relative softness and slowness of pure groove metal, or sludginess either.

A few of the songs have promisingly heavy sections, but they typically end up sputtering out. None of the main riffs are particularly strong, vicious, or memorable, and the rest end up just being chugs. I hear some polyrhythms in songs such as The Cell or Low Lands but the way they are performed makes it seem like Gojira is including them just to fulfill requirements, and they are integrated in disappointingly bland ways and without much passion. Most of the album is in 4/4 anyway.

The two instrumentals on this album take up a small percentage of Magma's runtime but they emphasize the lacking nature of this album and how Gojira doesn't seem to know exactly what they're going for. Neither of them are the sort of wanky prog instrumentals composed just to show off the musicians' talents, they are rather interludes and segues although they don't even seem to accomplish that. Any subpar doom or groove metal band could've jammed out Yellow Stone, hit record, and slapped on some cool effects. It's not even a proper interlude because it still sounds like the rest of the album. Liberation could've been a decent intermission, but instead it closes the album, a choice I don't understand. It sounds different from the rest of Magma, some acoustic noodling and hand percussion played together to get an ambient, chill vibe. Low Lands actually had a bit of buildup and it's one of the more memorable tracks, more atmospheric, but it doesn't seem as though it deserves a coda.

As much as it may seem like I've shat all over this, it's really not that bad. Magma is proving to be a grower, as others have said about the singles. Despite inconsistency in quality, it's good to hear that Gojira can write slightly different styles of songs. Still, there's not a whole lot going into this. They're still trying to fulfill all the requirements for their sound but it's lacking the complexity, the heaviness, and most importantly, much of the inspiration.

Top tracks: Silvera, Low Lands

 From Mars to Sirius by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 185 ratings

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From Mars to Sirius
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Gojira are something of an anomaly in the metal world; they've influenced countless new extreme metal bands in their wake, and yet very few artists have been able to successfully replicate their style. To the newcomers of the band, they may initially come off as Meshuggah with a more emotional (and of course environmental, when referring to the lyrics) side to them. While this can be true at times, the ambient interludes (such as "Torii" or "The Silver Cord") and moments that showcase the brutality of their classic death metal roots suggest more influences beneath the surface. Additionally, each album has its own personality and sound: Terra Incognita was more akin to the band's demos, containing more full-on death metal than their later releases; The Link had both a more tribal and progressive feel; The Way of All Flesh is extremely grim and focuses on the relationship between life and death; L'Enfant Sauvage has a tighter sound and the songs are less drawn-out. So where does From Mars to Sirius fit in? Well, it's a giant sprawling mess of a record, that's for sure.

The longest album by the band at this point, From Mars to Sirius focuses on longer compositions while increasing the guitar distortion and heaviness to the highest degree. Also worth mentioning is this record's special attention to an environmental message, even going as far as making an album cover that looks eerily similar to the logo of the organization Sea Shepherd, which aims to preserve marine life. The typical Gojira trademarks are all present; you've got the low-tuned chugs, a nice variety of tempos, and melodic guitar lines that cut through the wall of distortion. Unfortunately though, the record also emphasizes one of the band's trademarks a little too much: the repetition. Repetition can be fine if it's executed tastefully, but here it just sounds like it was incorporated to fill up the running time. While songs such as the aptly titled "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe" and the simultaneously melodic and harsh opener "Ocean Planet" do an efficient job of trimming the fat, songs like "Global Warming" and especially "Where Dragons Dwell" honestly don't. The latter is seven minutes long, but while the first half holds a nice sludgy groove with some nice vocal variety, the second half is the same riff repeated... over and over and over and over until it fades out. Other songs are guilty of this as well, and it doesn't enhance them in any way. There aren't any subtle changes in the songwriting except for a few different drum fills here and there or some vocal shouts, so there isn't much to invest in.

Luckily the album's strengths do make up for this, if barely. The soft interlude "Unicorn" is a well-paced break from the constant heaviness, and the songs that combine heaviness and frequent instances of melody (like "Ocean Planet" or "Flying Whales") balance the two elements very nicely. "Flying Whales" is certainly a standout in general, with a peaceful clean-guitar interlude setting the stage for the bludgeoning distortion and overall intensity that follows. In fact, "In the Wilderness" ends up being a great follow-up as well, despite returning to the one-dimensional heaviness and having an overly long ending. Luckily, the chromatic riffs and higher-pitched vocals during the chorus are effective and evoke a sense of chaos, saving the tune from the same fate as some of the other ones on here. The lyricism is well-done too; while the environmental message can occasionally be a bit overbearing, it's evident that the band really care about their cause and put a lot of thought into the poetry being sung (or growled/screamed) here. In songs like "Flying Whales" or "Where Dragons Dwell," fantasy themes indirectly provide symbolism related to the environmental theme and are sung with just the right amount of conviction.

There's nothing really terrible about From Mars to Sirius, but it really would have benefited from being pared down. Many of the songs feel a bit directionless because of weak, unnecessarily repetitive endings and their overall length. The album constantly seems to tread the fault line between being resonant and being completely uninteresting. While not a bad record by any means, I can unfortunately call it the band's worst.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 The Link by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.41 | 53 ratings

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The Link
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Admittedly, Gojira's first album Terra Incognita, while still solid, suffered from a few inconsistencies. First among them (and most common among many bands) was that they hadn't fully found their sound yet. Also, some parts and experiments were either very awkward or very mismatched in execution. With The Link, though, Gojira have seemed to break away from these issues and have released an album that's fully unique in the metal world.

With the album, you can immediately tell that the band now use more variation to their advantage, bringing a more progressive style and ultimately keeping things fresher. Some sections are very odd for a death/thrash metal band, including the ambient style of the two major interludes "Connected" and "Torii." The former uses a tribal aesthetic, which would be utilized more in the future with the band. The latter has a very soothing quality with a very calm, warm guitar sound to it.

Now, we get to the metal. Wow, how to describe some of it... If you guess that it's brutal, then you're right... but it'd be a MASSIVE understatement. When Gojira need heaviness, they immediately go to work and don't play around. Let's take "Remembrance" for example. After the slow, tribal "Connected," this track comes bursting out at full force and never lets up. One has to commend Gojira for their precision as well. The biggest example is Mario Duplantier, who has an amazing display of variety and speed mixed in with precise machine-gun double bass drumming, almost reminding one of Thomas Haake of Meshuggah.

There's also the single, "Indians," which continues in a typical Gojira fashion, and yet adds the aforementioned tribal elements for quite a nice surprise. The song is also quite progressive, bringing in many off-beat fills and riffs along with nicely varied guitar work. The ending section probably displays the band's technical abilities better than any other part of the album.

If there's a member of this band that's understated, it'd have to be Christian Andreu, the lead guitarist. When he shines, he uses so much variety and skill, and yet he isn't heard all that much. He's more of a subtle musician in the band, and normally I'd say that's fine, but sometimes the band goes through some dull spots of repetition. It'd just be cool to find more of his guitar work somewhere in the record.

Those "dull spots of repetition" comprise my biggest gripe about the CD. When Gojira go all out, they really don't let up. However, as Gojira's been criticized heavily about, the album creates some slightly repetitive grooves that can go on for quite a while. Lets use the last track "Dawn." It starts out as a wonderful instrumental that builds up to nicely crafted metal section, but after this, it just sort of... dies. The song gets doomier and darker, and just sulks in repetitive futility for about 4-5 minutes until it fades.

Other than that, though, the rest of the album is fantastic and unique. Gojira's style, blending Thrash, Death Metal, Progressive music, Groove Metal, and experimental music, is very different from most of the bands today. The Link captures those elements perfectly, and is quite a step up from their debut. Highly recommended.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Terra Incognita by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.01 | 48 ratings

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Terra Incognita
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition.

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