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Gojira - The Way of All Flesh CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.19 | 270 ratings

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4 stars If one fact remains evident, it is that Gojira have always managed to top their fellow modern counterparts with their characteristic sound ; thumping, sludgy riffs accompanied by seething, unpredictable disharmony, yet characterized by an unorthodox groovy attribute, polyrhythmic and violent percussions a-la Meshuggah, and roaring, fractured vocals (courtesy of Joe Duplantier, leading vocalist/guitarist). Another fact that cannot be denied is the way Gojira approach death metal ; a metal sub-genre which is and always will be about gore, death, torture, nihilism, etc. In other words, violence. I am not trying to deny, nor complain about this. I like my death metal vicious and simply unforgiving. Nevertheless, if you want to pull a "Cannibal Corpse" on each album, it is becoming more and more uninteresting and outmoded when you do the same thing over and over again on each album. Gojira have a different ethical background that might scare the elitists out there.

Like I mentioned, instead of speaking about the joys of ripping and destroying a human being, who is being reduced to nothing more than tiny bits of scattered, decomposed flesh, Gojira denounces the environmental crisis that faces us in our dying world. They are more known to speak about the untimely demise of our poor nature. Hell, they could even be death metal's own activists, a "Greenpeace" subordinate of heavy metal if you will, not to the point of smoking pot, but you get the picture.

From Mars to Sirius (2005) captivated that message in an astounding manner, reaching forward-thinking territory with the progressive leanings in "Flying Whales", "Ocean Planet", "World to Come" and the hypnotic juggling displayed in "Global Warming" which ends with the phrase : "We will see our children growing?" All Gojira wanted to do with this album is spread out a "positive" message to all of us, even though it's hidden under death metal's unenthusiastic clutches.

The Way of All Flesh is not only Gojira's adventure into darker territory, but also a more contemptuous and pessimistic brother of From Mars to Sirius. Let me explain by proving this thesis in three different aspects : the lyrical content, the sound and the atmosphere.

First of all, the lyrical content is, how should I put this, cynical, simply put cynical. Of course, the message is still a "positive" one. But, Joe Duplantier's songwriting is a therapeutic method of getting all the rage out about what surrounds him, especially in the song "Toxic Garbage Island" which speaks about pollution displayed in inspiring metaphors. A part of its lyrics surprised me the most :

Take this pestilent destruction out of my way The great pacific garbage patch is exhausting And the world is sliding away in a vortex of floating refuse With the sacred one you have lost

Plastic bag in the sea

Other examples could be found in the songs "A Sight to Behold" with its face-to-face philosophical approach on society's lack of interest about nature and the environment, "Adoration for None" with some help from Lamb of God's vocalist, Randy Blythe, being nothing more than a direct assault and a symbolized form of disgrace of what society has become and "Vacuity", offering itself as a meditative journey on what surrounds us. On the other hand, you have the optimistic side of the coin that can easily be recognizable in the lyrical content with "Oroborus", being a mythical renaissance of ourselves, "Esoteric Surgery", self-healing even in frantic times, offering us hope and salvation, and "The Way of all Flesh", a triumph over the fear of death, being a more suitable preview of what is to come at the end of our lives. Here is a part of it :

Anything that has a shape will crumble away, disappear We belong to the circle life of all creation We crawl and deny ourselves, refuse this evidence that we project our greatest fears on death and forget our power I want to live my life in close touch with the sacred Pacify the disturbances of the mind I face my own death

If you think about it, each song is a logical progression of what is going through our - and society's - minds when it comes to destroying our world with never-ending pollution and ineffective conflicts. Gojira have done an extremely good job on this aspect.

Second of all, the sound hasn't changed that much, but it is probably more brutal and sinister than before. But, you can't help but acknowledge the fact that the band isn't trying to become the next "Deicide". All of the contrary, their style of playing has never been this cleaner nor better, without being on the summit of the spatial force projected on From Mars to Sirius. If you put the thumping, gargantuan steps taken on "Yama's Messengers", "All the Tears" and "Adoration for None" aside, you can notice some experimental tendencies on the album ; "A Sight to Behold" being a contender for the next "techno/industrial/death" hit with its robotic voices coming from Cynic's grave and its simplistic, yet pop-influenced simplicity, "Oroborus" containing impressive tapping-style licks that can mesmerize even the most sceptical metalhead and "The Art of Dying", the album's best track in my opinion, with its burning, consuming falls and polyrhythmic mayhem taken from Meshuggah's book.

Third of all, the atmosphere is as tribal and primitive as before. The entire album is forcing you to believe what you are witnessing in front of you. Like I said before in this review, Gojira are activists. They will do anything to convince you of the crisis which is happening right now. "The Art of Dying" and "The Way of All Flesh" are the best examples of that atmosphere, which is slow, relaxing yet highly ear-splitting and agonizing nevertheless.

To conclude, Gojira have not quite managed to top From Mars to Sirius's beauty. However, we cannot deny that the band is evolving and reaching unknown frontiers here. This is probably one of their best up to date and it might get the band more and more recognition for years to come. One thing we have to get out of all this is that nature is dying. Gojira are the best to cultivate that fragile aspect and make us realize how little time there is left.

Standout tracks : Oroborus, Toxic Garbage Island, The Art of Dying, Esoteric Surgery and The Way of All Flesh

Kenosis_Theorician | 4/5 |


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