Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Roadrunner, June 2012
Gojira is the rare French band that’s made any kind of impact on the metal scene. In fact, the only bands from France I can recall off the top of my head are Trust, Treponem Pal, and Dream Child. There’s good reason why Gojira’s profile keeps rising worldwide—they’re one of the most original and inventive bands to emerge within the last few years. Any time a band steps up to a major label from the independents there will always be a nagging dread that the corporate suits will ruin a good thing, but Gojira has stuck to their guns and delivered an album that keeps their trademark sound intact. Imagine dissonant chords, chugging rhythms, and gruff, monotonous vocals all twisted into the musical equivalent of a bulldozer that mows down everything in all directions. Admittedly, this may not sound like a recipe for success, but Gojira manages to always keep it interesting by introducing some fast elements (listen to “Planned Obsolescence”), varying the vocal style a bit, and weaving through intriguing lines, such as the short, bass-led instrumental “The Wild Healer”, the mellow start of “Born In Winter”, and the surf-sounding guitar segment about two-thirds into “Explosia”. Other high points are on the first half of the album, including the title track, “The Axe”, and “Liquid Fire”. At about 50 minutes long, L’Enfant Sauvage is the perfect length to keep the listener interested for the whole ride. For those new to Gojira, the first listen may be a bit confusing, but with a couple more spins you’ll come to appreciate and understand their bizarre, unique style. It remains to be seen whether Gojira will be able to break into more mainstream ranks, but with the right push all of the other pieces are in place. L’Enfant Sauvage firmly places Gojira atop of the current crop of rising metal bands and should propel them to new heights of success.