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From Mars to Sirius

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  • 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.

    Posted on January 4, 2010