GOJIRA – L’ENFANT SAUVAGE
Released 25th June 2012 (Roadrunner Records)
Words: Tom Willmott
The metal community in this country has been hit by some incredibly grim news in the past few months. Aside from the cancellation of this year’s Sonisphere Festival, the biggest tragedy has been the announcement that Warner Bros would be shutting down all its Roadrunner Records offices worldwide, with the exception of the USA. This,of course, is the label that has helped many artists in the rock/metal world break into the mainstream; and their loss will have a huge impact in terms of the success their alumni will attract in the future. But in light of this terrible situation, the UK arm can at least take some comfort from the fact that they will be going out on a relatively positive note with their final release from French progressive death metal act, Gojira.
It’s been a good four years since we last heard a full length from the band. In the meantime there was talk of releasing an EP in aid of protecting whales that even featured a collaboration with Devin Townsend. However, it was discovered that the tracks had been lost on a hard drive, and so their motivation shifted towards the making of L’Enfant Sauvage. As expected, they still have the power to unsettle, which is great news for any of their dedicated fans. Opening with Explosia, it is evident that this could only come from Gojira. The title track has a hint of what Lamb Of God might sound like if they went in a more progressive direction instead of the generic chuggy riffs that pollute their records.
Back and forth, the band typically break down the record with a few thunderous, machine- gun drumming numbers such as The Axe and Liquid Fire, whilst also opting for some more groove-orientated offerings with Mouth Of Kala and The Gift Of Guilt. Although once again the musicianship is spot on, it’s hard to think what exactly differentiates this from their previous output with the exception perhaps of the melodic vocals from Joe Duplantier and the instrumentation found in Born In Winter. It all culminates with The Fall which combines all the best elements of this album and is by far the highlight of the 52 minutes showcased here.
With the recent rise of progressive metal acts such as Mastodon and Opeth, Gojira have always been touted as the next in line to break through. And yes, this record might see their profile rise slightly but it seems more likely they will remain with their cult status. No doubt this will be one of the better metal releases of the year, but sadly doesn’t deliver much of a wow factor. For the fans who have been anticipating this for some time though, it has been a worthwhile wait and that is all that really matters.