The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Gojira – The Link
For the life of me, I can never figure out the reason for not getting into these guys when I first heard them. Even seeing them live and being completely blown away by their performance, I didn’t get any of their albums. The drummer in my band raves about them, one of his favorite bands, yet I did nothing. I knew their style of music and while it’s right up my alley, I put no effort forth. Honestly, I blame it on laziness and the fact I’m usually knee deep in other bands that have my attention. It wasn’t until a buddy of mine messaged me on Facebook, practically drooling over them that I quit being lazy and decided to invest my time in Gojira…
Given the fact that I was finally going to listen to their entire discography, what better place to start then at the beginning with, Terra Incognita, and work my way to their most recent album, The Way of All Flesh. And while each album can easily stand on their own, there was one in particular that latched onto me and kept me coming back for repeat listens… their 2003 album, The Link. Maybe it was the songwriting or the interesting song structures used throughout the album that hooked me. Perhaps it was the fact that more notice goes towards their more recent albums and The Link is the black sheep in the family. Who really knows, and honestly, who cares, lets get cracking on why I love this album.
The opening track, which also happens to be the title track, “The Link”, is very crucial in pulling the listener in. And it does a damn fine job of that, especially with the talents of both the Duplantier brothers (Joe on guitars/vocals, Mario on drums), the brains of the band. From the vast cycling of riffs, the pummeling atmosphere and the tormented yet melodic vocals, The Link is an album of variation that keeps you enthralled and guessing. And the same can be said for all of their albums, these guys are true artisans when it comes to writing music.
The album doesn’t let up at all, from the groovy pace of “Death of Me”, to the relentless nature of “Remembrance”, these tracks are nothing short of juggernauts. Plowing their way through with both precision and speed, these tracks are filled to the brim with swift and distinctive riffing, tremolo-picking, shattering breakdowns and blast beats. Add the addition of spacey themed noises in “Remembrance”, and it gives the song another touch of brilliance.
But this album is not without it’s imperfections. “Connected” and “Torii” are merely segue-ways, but come off tedious and repetitive to the point where they become skippable and take away from the albums flow (this is just my take on it). And for an interesting tidbit, Gojira decided to use the same harmonics heard in “Torii”, on the track “Unicorn” from their album From Mars to Sirius. “Over the Flows” and “Wisdom Comes” are decent tracks, but pale in comparison to the likes of “Death of Me”, “Remembrance” and “Embrace the World”.
Luckily though, there are enough pros on this album that make up for those filler tracks. “Indians”, while not as groundbreaking as “Death of Me”, follows the same formula and brings the album back up to speed. The semi-industrial riffing of “Embrace the World” is another highlight of the album, plus the eerie chanting heard throughout keeps it interesting. “Inward Movement”, being the slowest track on the album, has a very drone/doom feel to it, and is basically a wall of sound that you don’t mind smashing face first into. The finale of the album, “Dawn”, is a groovy instrumental and experimental track, and while fascinating in spots, does come across drawn out and may bore some listeners.
Despite some minor flaws, which could be construed as simply nitpicking on my part, The Link is still my go to album when it comes to Gojira. And in no way do I disregard their other work, as each album is gnarly in their own way, I just prefer The Link more. Gojira are just another example of what happens when you combine hard work, talent and a love for creating music…
Gojira – “The Link”