It should be clear by now that inertia and complacency are words that simply don’t exist in the vocabulary of French progressive death metal act Gojira, and with the latest album Fortitude (Roadrunner Records) the band have made some of their biggest and most diverse strides to date.
It’s the hottest day of the year. Stepping outside feels like walking into a furnace, and the pollen count is so high that even the bees are saying “yeah, that’s enough, thanks”. All because apparently, the sun has arbitrarily decided that in the space of twelve hours, everyone in the UK has to die by melting.Continue reading
This past year will go down as one of triumph over tragedy, more so than any other recent memory. It seems that across the board suffering in the world and on a personal level has been paramount in people’s minds. The same can be said for French metal gods Gojira, whose Magma (Roadrunner) is nothing short of brilliance, created from a place of angst and suffering on a level the band hasn’t dealt with before. Not only is it is a technical and artistic marvel, it stands apart on an emotional level for the creators, as well as the listener. The if the best art is made from a well of pain, Gojira hit the bottom of the well and came through an ocean on the other side to get here. Continue reading
After losing their mother to cancer in 2015, brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier of Gojira have had to dig deeper than they would have ever wanted to write the follow up to 2012’s much lauded L’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner), and this unfortunate event has clearly been at the heart of all aspects of their latest release. From Magma‘s (Roadrunner) muted grayscale artwork to the the record’s lyrical themes and pervading feeling of solemnity, this is a piece of work driven not only by grief but by grim determination.
Reading this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that listening to the album would be a thoroughly depressing experience, but while the background to the record is certainly not the happiest, the music contained within is inherently Gojira. Just a more thoughtful, ambitious and expressive one.
Joe Duplantier turns in what is surely a career best vocal performance, his familiar throaty roar sitting naturally besides quieter and somewhat surprisingly more vulnerable tones, adding further depth and texture which allows the band to wander organically from their familiar path without ever sounding jarring or overtly calculated.
Drummer Mario Duplantier excels himself, driving some songs with fierce, occasionally scarily complicated jazz-infused rhythms while allowing others the space and time to breathe by either keeping it simple or backing off completely. Second guitarist Christian Andreu complements his counterpart’s playing as perfectly as ever, and oft-forgotten hero, bass player Jean-Michel Labadie plays his heart out, even taking centre stage with the short Sabbath-esque instrumental ‘Yellow Stone’.
There’s a big Angel Rat (MCA) era Voivod influence on opener ‘The Shooting Star’ and title track ‘Magma’, while ‘Stranded’ and ‘Only Pain’ feature the screeching cat guitar sound that Dimebag Darrell employed in Pantera‘s ‘Becoming’, only with a typically Gojira twist. Songs like ‘Pray’ and ‘Low Lands’ build patiently before exploding with groove-laden, lurching riffs and bursts of speed while ‘The Cell’ is the only song built almost entirely for pace, only slowing down for a mid-paced chorus and yet another crushingly heavy, lumbering riff which it uses to build towards the song’s climax.
Recorded at Silver Cord Studio in New York, a studio designed and owned by Joe Duplantier himself, the band have never sounded better. Each instrument is mixed with crystal clarity and the album flows from one song to another perfectly, its mood ebbing and flowing like the tide as you get swept along by wave after wave of aggression and introspection.
While Magma may not be the record some Gojira fans might have expected, there is no question that this is absolutely the album they should have made. Oppressive, cathartic, and thick with raw emotion (especially lyrically), yet uplifting and far more accessible than you’d believe possible, this collection of songs represents a band at the top of their game, allowing themselves to explore and break down more boundaries, while also serving as a fitting eulogy to the memory of the Duplantier’s mother.
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Gojira is on the road as they head towards the release of their new album, Magma, due from Roadrunner Records on June 17th. Watch a fan-filmed live performance of their new song ‘Stranded’, at this link or below:
Magma is the bands’ first new release since 2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage. It was produced and recorded by the band in frontman Joe Duplatier’s own Silver Cord Studio in Queens, NY.
Duplaniter discussed making the album in a recent interview:
“We want a short album. Something less epic than what we usually do. People’s attentions are shorter now. So a lot of the songs are four minutes.”
Discussing the delay of the new album, partially due to the death of his and brother Mario’s mother last summer:
“I felt physically, mentally exhausted. At the same time, though, the way it happened was beautiful. We were all around her. We had to cancel a few shows when she died, but it was very enriching at the same time. We learned a lot about death.”
Mario also commented on the impact the loss had on new music:
“When you read Joe’s lyrics, for me, I cry right away.”They’re very deep and to the point. No bullshit. We recycle our sadness and depression in the music.”
“Mario was recording drums, and I was playing guitar with him, just trying to help him know where he’s at in the song, and both of us would start crying at the same time,”
“The songs were half-written while she was sick,” he said. “After she died, I still had to finish them. So one song was like, ‘You’re going to make it,’ but the second verse is ‘You didn’t make it.'”
Gojira’s Magma track listing:
1. The Shooting Star
3. The Cell
5. Yellow Stone
8. Only Pain
9. Low Lands
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French extreme metallers Gojira have cancelled several upcoming shows, following the passing of Joe and Mario Duplantier’s mother. The shows affected are:
Jul 06: Rockhal – Esch Sur Alzette, LU
Jul 08: Z7 Konzertfabrik – Pratteln, CH
In an interview online with brothers Joseph and Mario Duplantier, Gojira has revealed that their new album, originally planned for release on Roadrunner Records next fall, will now be pushed back to early in 2016. Citing the scrapping some of the track finished in an earlier recording session from this past winter, as well as not wanting to cancel a heavily planned schedule of concert festivals and other tour dates this summer. The band has recently completed building a new studio in New York City, dubbed Silver Cord for their own use and other projects. Work on the follow-up to 2013’s L’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner) will be completed at Silver Cord and at the bands’ home base studios in Bayonne, FR.
Regarding the progress of new Gojira music:
Mario Duplantier: “The drums are done. Part of the guitars… almost all the guitars are done also. So we need the bass and the vocals at this point. Because… We were supposed to record around February, something like this. But we made a statement of the songs in February, and we thought the songs were not enough good, you know?! So we decided to… ‘Let’s put this song in the trash. Let’s just…’ We were super picky, like [we] never [were] in the past. We worked on each song super long. Usually we have ten songs, and we record ten songs and that’s it. This time we were so picky that we decided around February to just… ‘Let’s push the limit. Let’s do another song — maybe a better song.’ And Joe brought some crazy ideas, and I brought some cool ideas too, and together we built four new songs we thought were better than the [ones were had already written]. So we pushed the recording process and finally we started in April. So it’s why we couldn’t finish everything — because we had this tour also. It’s a summer tour planned — three months on the road. So we had two options: we can cancel the summer tour, but we didn’t wanna do that. So, finally, we did the drums and the guitar.”
Commenting on exactly what caused the delay of the new album:
Joseph Duplantier: “We’re thinking early next year. We were aiming for October this year, but, like Mario said, we had to push the recording. I think the difficulty was… Mario brought a lot of ideas on the table… very challenging drum patterns. It’s less complicated than before. It’s more… I wanna say it’s more straight to the point. That’s what we were doing since we started. We’re getting rid of layers and complicated things, just to keep the core of the idea. There’s always an idea behind a song, and sometimes it gets too crowded. So we’re trying to keep the core of each idea. So the energy that Mario has, it’s a big signature for our band, Gojira — the drum patterns and the double-kick stuff. And I have my own impulse. So it’s mainly Mario and me composing… I think the fans know that. And one of the biggest difficulties is to come together on these songs and to create something that, okay, we both feel like, ‘This is it. This is the song.’ It took a while to get there. Sometimes, on previous albums, Mario wouldn’t be totally satisfied — like three [or] four songs — and for me, I [would be] like, ‘Eh, this song is just like a drum solo with guitars on it.’ And this time, I think we really found something — a balance. [It’s] very powerful and exciting. We’re very excited about the new record.”
Gojira tour dates:
Jun 16 : Circus- Helsinki, FI
Jun 18 : Tyrol- Stockholm, SE
Jun 19 : Tons of Rock – Halden, NO
Jun 20 : Copenhell- Copenhagen, DK
Jul 04: Les Feux de l’Été- Saint Prouant, FR
Jul 06: Rockhal – Esch Sur Alzette, LU
Jul 08: Z7 Konzertfabrik – Pratteln, CH
Jul 10: Musilac Festival- Aix Les Bains, FR
Jul 11: Kristonfest- Bilbao, ES
Jul 12: Arena – Madrid, ES
Jul 13: MEO Arena Sala Tejo- Lisbon, PT
Jul 15: Razzmatazz 2 – Barcelona, ES
Jul 17: Dour Festival- Dour, BE
Jul 28: Festival Emmaus- Lescar, FR
Aug 08: Heavy Montreal 2015- Montreal, CAN
Aug 24: Doornroosje – Nijmegen, NL
Aug 25: Patronaat- Haarlem, NL
Aug 27: The Limelight- Belfast, UK
Aug 28: The Academy- Dublin, ER
Aug 29: Reading Festival- Reading, UK
Aug 30: Leeds Festival- Leeds, UK
Sep 19: Rock in Rio- Rio De Janeiro, BR
Sep 27: Santiago Gets Louder- Santiago, CL