Album Review: Gojira - 'L'Enfant Sauvage'

22 June 2012 | 11:57 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Everything metal should be.

So when did France become the epicentre for the heaviest stylings of metal in all of Europe (perhaps the world too)? Ok, maybe that's a stretch when we're talking in quantity (particularly with Sweden and Norway still in play), but in isolation Gojira might just be the most crushing band currently floating around. Anyone familiar with previous track 'The Heaviest Matter of the Universe' probably already understands this notion.

Fifth studio album 'L'Enfant Sauvage' or 'The Wild Child' for those who are not on a diet of croissants and wine, is not only what you'd expect, but equally what you would hope for. It's almost laughable, in its own sincere way, how this Bayonne quartet manage to create something so solid and devastating that renders so much else insignificant.

Six minute opener 'Explosia' is the horn-raising track that will get the neck moving from the beginning. The riffs match with the double kick and Joe Duplantier's vocal tones are again prominent.

One of the things that makes a metal band well-rounded and dynamic is the ability to balance overt heaviness with melody and variation. Anyone can be exclusively brutal, but it starts to become monotonous very quickly. Gojira, like At The Gates (despite not sounding the same), both present the listener with a sound that, on one hand has you scratching your head as to how it can be so malevolent, while on the other side have you appreciating the ever-changing harmony.

Tracks such as 'Liquid Fire' and 'The Axe' are again those driving moments, with Mario Duplantier's drumming seeming to compliment the overall aesthetic at all times. The simple snare hit to begin 'Planned Obsolescence' is in its own way assertive. Tail-end track 'Born in Winter' is more brooding and less severe than what preceded it.

'L'Enfant Sauvage' is metal in every sense of the word. Gojira head in a direction one hopes many will embrace and follow in the years ahead. Next time someone says Asking Alexandria is a genuinely heavy band, quickly hand them a Gojira album - end of discussion.

If metal could present itself as a musical buffet, 'LEnfant Sauvage' in many ways would be the result after taking all the best bits. It's got those heavy, blast-beat moments, those inter-changing melody periods and also a considered structure. It just works.