Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

Gojira, probably the most popular metal act to ever come out of France, are a death metal outfit best known for their environmental lyrics. Their fifth full-length album, L'Enfant Sauvage, came out this summer.

I should probably note, before going any further, that I've never been much of a Gojira fan. I'm not sure if it's about the music itself or it it's just residual bias from the fairly lackluster show they put on when I saw the band live, but  for whatever reason they have just never clicked for me. I think this may be the album that changes that.

The band is still largely playing their slightly dissonant, choppy brand of death metal here, but they added a good deal of melodeath influence on this record. I heard more than just a trace of old In Flames in many of these songs, most notably the title track. By staying within their own general style while pulling from the early days of the Gothenburg scene, Gojira have created an album that flows better, catches the listener up in its grooves, and is more generally appealing to my ear than their previous releases.

For those of you who liked Gojira the way they were, don't worry. This is still the same band. They still display excellent musicianship on all fronts, and enough of their core sound still exists for you to thoroughly  enjoy this album. The range on this record is also excellent. They go everywhere from straight heavy death metal to soft melodic passages. Not only does this keep the album fresh and interesting as it moves forward, but they do an excellent job of making each track distinct from its neighbors.

I honestly have nothing negative to say about this album. It grabbed and held my interest to a degree that few releases do, and the entire effort sounded vital and fresh. This will almost certainly find a place high on my list of the top releases for 2012.

Grade: A
Creative and exciting death metal with a splash of melody and a ton of variety.

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