02. L’Enfant Sauvage
03. The Axe
04. Liquid Fire
05. The Wild Healer
06. Planned Obsolescence
07. Mouth Of Kala
08. The Gift Of Guilt
09. Pain Is A Master
10. Born In Winter
11. The Fall
Barring the obvious anomaly of Slipknot, Gojira are probably one of the greatest modern success stories in metal today. Over the course of four albums and fifteen years, the band have managed to create classic albums like From Mars To Sirius and The Way Of All Flesh, all whilst maintaining a steady line-up and becoming one of those elusive bands that has an appeal to both the cold-hearted purists and the more ‘casual’ metal fan. Now, with the jump from Listenable Records to the revenue machine of Roadrunner, it’s clear that the suits saw their ability to get stronger with every release, pulling in more and more of the unsuspecting public every time with their knack for mixing elephantine riffs, proficient musicianship and huge anthemic vocals.
L’Enfant Sauvage is the latest chapter in the book of Gojira and, as we found from all of its predecessors, it is simply a gradual progression, this time from The Way Of All Flesh, with which it shares many of the same hallmarks and nuances that define the band. Tracks weave in and out of rhythms with grace and poise, sticking to mantra of ‘many simple things make a complex collection’ and the riffs conjure up the same manner of monolithic titans as the infamous whales of From Mars… — a colossus of immense strength that is incredibly detailed and where every square inch is deliberate and refined. ‘Liquid Fire‘ claims status as a contender for a future classic early on, with juddering and off-kilter percussion alongside the familiar sound of guitars taking advantage of every squeal and whine they can muster, whilst ‘The Gift Of Guilt‘, which is tucked away in latter recesses of the album, strides with an obnoxious groove that’s as infectious as it is crushing.
But the most interesting facet of L’Elephant Sausage is the huge parallels it draws with Meshuggah‘s latest release Koloss. Two bands that have twisted and contorted metal enough to mine out their own niche in the genre; two bands primarily concerned with making grooves that could level mountains and shift tectonic plates; two bands that learnt to take a step back in the tempo department to let each and every part breath deep and sing even louder. There are blast-beats and the double bass pedal gets it’s fair share of stage time, but for the most part Gojira take things at a confident mid-tempo stride and often put just as much emphasis on the syncopation as they do the solid backbeat. It produces some interesting results, for instance ‘Pain Is A Master‘, despite opening with some Opeth-ian sturm und drang, quickly sidles through grinding blasts before settling neatly into a rhythmic chug that rivals even the pummeling ‘Vacuity‘ for it’s face-value simplicity.
At the heart of it all, this is the Seasons In The Abyss of the Gojira catalogue. It’s obvious that they may never be able to outdo the sheer churning intensity of their earlier releases, so why even try? Let the legacy hold itself up and move on. L’ollapalooza Silly-Sausage is slower and more deliberate, lacking a lot of urgency and while some people may call that a shame, it’s hard to argue with the results on display. It may not have the instant visceral appeal of it’s predecessors and in twenty years time when people are combing through their material, it’ll be Mars that garners Reign In Blood or Master Of Puppets levels of respect — but L’Enfant is a product that could only be accomplished by a band with this many years of experience. And it shows.
Gojira’s L’Enfant Sauvage gets…