This is the heaviest slab of metal I’ve heard in years. It’s so heavy… That I need a crane just to put it into my CD player- yet at the same time, there is an uncanny grace with which these environmentally conscious Frenchmen orchestrate their epic songs. The gravelly vocals are grating at times, and that’s the only reason I give it 4 instead of 5 stars. Harshly beautiful in a hauntingly pummeling way. Truly a Herculean effort from these French metal brothers!!! Check it out!!!
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Gojira are apparently a metal band from France. Those who are still with me after reading that last sentence will be introduced to one of the heaviest, most original metal bands in existence….Gojira play a downtuned, uber-heavy style of music often referred to as “extreme metal” these days; and they do it well. Harsh, abrasive vocals, bottom-heavy riffs and eerie-sounding interludes…..similiar to the Meshuggah formula, but less mechanical and progressive.
Gojira play very heavy, angular riffs which both groove and become quite complex at times without being complicated for the sake of being complex, while at the same time managing to sound original, without a lot of metal cliche’. Very promising new metal band….for fans of Strapping Young Lad, Intronaut, Isis and the aforementioned Meshuggah….check them out!
In my childhood, I was a kid fascinated with science fiction monster movies. Among the greats, Gojira *or as Americans know it, Godzilla* was on the top of my list. He represented everything that I’ve grown to like about metal which is full out destruction and heaviness. Naturally, when I heard a metal band had used the name Gojira, this band better live up to the name. Thankfully, for most part, this Frenchies live up to their name with an album that delivers just like the mighty beast does.
From Mars to Sirius consists of pretty much everything that people on metalreview have said. It is an album filled with hints of Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, and even at times something like Isis. So how could these guys pull off anything that we haven’t heard a thousand times before? Luckily, the band knows how to create an identity without wearing their influences on their sleeve. The greatest thing that Gojira has going for itself is the amount of variety, while keeping a unified sound. The album kicks off with a militant smasher in “Ocean Planet”, and then follows up with a very straightforward “Backbone”. The album then precedes to go to the slow grinding “Where The Dragons Dwell” with Joe Duplianter showcasing a very guttural and downright intimidating vocal presence.
One of the other qualities about the album as well is the lack of guitar solos. I know it is a cardinal sin to say such things, but I didn’t find myself bored with the guitar work. I think placing solos on the album would have slowed the album down a bit. If a metal album can survive without guitar solos, I say more power to the band. Sometimes bands force the placement of their solos, and I’m glad this band didn’t fall victim to that. Production on From Mars to Sirius is top notch with crystal clear sound. The band must be commended since they for the most part took care of the mixing. The guitars and drum sound are unbelievably heavy and really keep the album listenable.
So, as the magazine Terrorizer put it, are these guys the saviors of metal? As much as I would love to bestow that title to them, Gojira aren’t THAT innovative. The band still has some loose strings to attach before really perfecting their sound. First and foremost, the album’s biggest problem is the second half. Of the last six songs, four of them top over the six minute mark. This drastically hurts the flow of the album. Of those four, “World to Come” is the most average song on the album. With the first half moving so briskly, the listener hits an audible brick wall. Second, for those metal fans who enjoy the deepest and most thought provoking lyrics *but c’mon who are you kidding?*, Gojira is not your band. Gojira mostly sticks to the “we’re killing the universe, cut it out” angle on most of the album’s subject matter. Even if one doesn’t read the lyric sheet, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what they are screaming about with song titles like, “Global Warming” and “World to Come”.
In saying that, I have the opinion that Gojira will end up like a fine wine, and they just need to set in the exposure of the metal community to truly create something miraculous. This band definitely has the ability and talent to create an album that “saves” the metal genre. Now I just need to find out when this band will cover Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla”.
This is a very unique metal release – it has some clear influences and predecessors, but manages to combine those into a very distinctive package.
Between the cover art and the band’s name, you actually get a good idea of what you can expect to hear. It’s spacy and trippy at times, but like the namesake movie monster, or the whale of the cover, it’s heavy and ponderous as well. The fundamental sound is a slow, grinding, very heavy one that reminds me a midway point between early Godflesh and Meshuggah. I actually prefer these guys over Meshuggah – for whatever reason their ideas just tickle my brain a little more. The singing reminds me of Sepultura, and bits and pieces also bring to mind Soundgarden at their heaviest, or maybe old Seattle sludge bands like Tad. And then there are the grindcore breaks… or the Pink Floydish chiming guitar interludes… no matter. It all works together in an unexpected way, surprising you regularly but never going off the rails.
The lyrics and mood of the album are unusual, tackling environmental issues in a positive way (instead of “we’re all gonna die!”, it tends toward “maybe we can fix this mess”). The actual words are a bit ham-handed and occasionally dumb in that foreign-metal-guy-singing-in-English way, but most of the time you won’t be able to make them out. It certainly doesn’t detract from the experience except on the closing track, which is sung more cleanly than any other song here.
Overall I have to say, this is the best tremendously heavy album I’ve bought in a long time.
Listening to “From Mars To Sirius” is like being locked in a windowless room in a mental hospital with a stereo blaring albums by Meshuggah, Morbid Angel, Soilent Green, Krisiun, Neurosis, Hate Eternal, Fear Factory, Circle of Dead Children, Mastodon, Godflesh, Dark Tranquility, Napalm Death, Voivod, and Strapping Young Lad at full volume, and all at the same time. In other words, Gojira mainly focus on making severe death metal with dreamy progressive metal touches, but in no way do they stop at that. They also combine elements of doom, sludge, thrash, technical death, melodeath, and industrial metal, and it’s clear that the band members also have a fair amount of grindcore and hardcore running through their veins. Needless to say, it’s quite a lethal brew, and metalheads would be hard pressed to find another band that’s more brutal and barbaric than Gojira (who, by the way, are a French quartet that shares a namesake with a Japanese films’ star named Godzilla).
And, very much alike the fictitious green dinosaur mentioned above, these twelve tracks are tremendously huge, muscular, and savage, so they ferociously and effortlessly crush and obliterate everything in sight (and even everything within a fifty-mile radius). It seems like every band member engages in a free-for-all battle against one-another. Vocalist Joe Duplantier barks, yells, and howls in such a way as to evoke Jens Kidman (of Meshuggah), but it’s not uncommon for his vocals to border on the classic gore-grind style. Meanwhile, guitarist Christian Andreu pounds out monster, groove-based riff after another with an impossible ease, and drummer Mario Duplantier almost always backs him up with tons of deft blasting. And, lastly, a crystal clear production job makes sure the music gets shoved straight down your throat.
Songs like the album opener, “Ocean Planet” are bolstered by slamming riffs, pummeling, jackhammer drums, and an impenetrably-hard rhythm. Next, the bludgeoning “Backbone” gets in your face and smacks you around with machine gun, doomsday riffing, fast, driving double bass work, and even a noteworthy (humming) bass line. Then we have “Where Dragons Dwell” and “World To Come,” two mind-numbing skull-crackers with crunching, grinding, lumbering power chords, searing leads, and smashing drums that seemingly explode out of your speakers. Elsewhere, tracks such as “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe,” which make you think you’re sitting an inch away from a rapidly-exploding cannon, seem intent on knocking you out and giving you brain damage. It just goes on like this…this is 66 minutes of extremely dissonant, thunderously crushing, bone-shattering, at times almost deafening brutality. The incessant pummel only breaks for the occasional acoustic interlude (see “Unicorn”), which are actually quite pretty and almost dreamy. Other than that, though, Gojira don’t let up until you’re bruised, broken, and beaten into a bloody pulp…then they hit you again.
“From Mars To Sirius” may very well be the heaviest and most devastating record released in recent memory. And if nothing else, then it certainly takes the cake in that category for metal albums released in all of 2006 (even Lamb Of God’s frontman, Randy Blythe, thinks so!) But that’s not to mislead you — this album doesn’t get by on just immense sonic brutality. Its real genius is that it all sounds so unique. Gojira drew influence from numerous different bands and genres, but when all of the influences are mixed together, Gojira sound like their own band. (Absolutely no other album being produced today sounds like this one.) Thus, “From Mars To Sirius” proudly stands as one of the year’s strongest, boldest, and most successful, realized, commanding, satisfying, and innovative heavy music releases.