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Gojira - Lenfant Sauvage

Gojira
Lenfant Sauvage
by Melissa Collins / Shir Sharon at 25 June 2012, 1:23 PM

Melissa Collins (8/10)

Metal, especially recently, has begun to get pretty genetic and sometimes boring. Luckily there have been a handful of bands to emerge that defy categorization. GOJIRA is definitely one of those bands. If they were to be placed in a subgenre within Metal, it would be Death Metal. However, to just call them Death Metal wouldn't be exactly accurate. I would describe GOJIRA as Death Metal with groove, progressive, technical and even Thrash Metal qualities.

 

GOJIRA was formed in 1996 and have done one hell of a job making a name for themselves. They have supported many big name bands in Metal, such as: TRIVIUM, CANNIBAL CORPSE, AMON AMARTH, MACHINE HEAD, LAMB OF GOD, METALLICA and plenty more. Coming as brand new, they released their fifth full length studio album, titled "L'Enfant Sauvage".

 

GOJIRA did a great job with this new album by experimenting with new ideas, but I would not go as far to call this an experimental album seeing as they stayed true to the sound they have established. "L'Enfant Sauvage" is heavy, yet ambient and atmospheric. Their musicianship is at an all time peak. It's obvious that Mario Duplantier is the star of the band. His drumming is precise although I wonder if he relies on triggers or not. Either way, it seems he carries the band on his shoulders. The vocals are varied from harsh growl like sounds to beautiful melodies. Joe Duplantier mixes it up to suit the song. This gives the album an aggressive yet harmonious tone. There are also unconventional rhythms patterns and start-stop riffs, which can be noticed in "The Fall" and "Pain Is A Master". The bass is audible and follows the drums, which isn't always typical in Death Metal.

 

I find "L'Enfant Sauvage" a personal and honest album. Take the title track for example. It translates to "The Wild Child" and is about freedom and responsibility. The lyrics are refreshing, especially for Death Metal. Death is a common theme, but so are life, spirituality and environmental concern. The production is great, which is necessary for GOJIRA's sound. The only major downfall is a lack of solos. I suppose this comes down to personal preference, but a few simple solos would have added flavor. If you want to get a taste of this CD before it's released, you can download "Liquid Fire" from GOJIRA's official website for free. All things considered, I was very impressed with this album and look forward to how GOJIRA will build on this in the future.
 


Shir Sharon (7/10)

It's not everyday that I get to put my hands on a brand new album by my all time favorite band and this is the first time that I get to review on such an album so I don't really know where to start from so I will have to simply belt out my inner dialogue and just kind of go from there.

I first heard GOJIRA about five years ago when I was about sixteen and I had started from what was then their most recent album "From Mars To Sirius”. At first I only liked several songs but in time it has sunk in deeply within me and it gradually became my favorite album of all times. What amazed me most about the music in that album was that it was both unbelievably heavy and groovy yet at the same time incredibly beautiful and touching. The lyrics also made a big impact on me that lasts to this day, and beyond that the album also opened a whole new world for me and got me to expand my horizons towards more atmospheric stuff such as NEUROSIS and even today the majority of stuff I listen to are of the more atmospheric type.

When their last album "The Way Of All Flesh" was released I was ecstatic and I fell in love with it almost immediately. It was a definite upgrade for the band  in terms of musical and lyrical skill and in itself a unique and amazing masterpiece, but after giving it a fair share of time I have come to the conclusion that I still prefer the previous one and I have made peace with the fact that GOJIRA will probably never make another album that appeals to me in the same level that "From Mars To Sirius" did. Still the last album was more than enough in order for me to determine that GOJIRA has maintained an otherworldly standard and got me to develop otherworldly expectations from their next effort accordingly.

Only after processing these albums was I able to open up to the first two they made so I guess this long prologue goes to say that GOJIRA's music is the kind that takes time to soak in, and in the case of this album, I only got to listen to it several times before it was time to publish the review so this is to be regarded as nothing more than my overall first impression, nevertheless it feels like a pretty firm opinion right now.

The first song that was released from this album was the title track "L'enfant Sauvage" and it was a definite good omen. It was pretty much everything a GOJIRA song needs to be, intense, emotional, memorable and of course massively heavy. It also contained a promise that this would be another meaningful step in GOJIRA's journey, if there was one thing I didn't like about this song it was the fact that the ambience kind made the song draw backwards, and one of the things I love most about GOJIRA's music is that they are one of the only bands who manages to make songs that constantly thrust forward yet are at the same time very atmospheric. I figured I had nothing to worry about because it's only one song but upon hearing this album for the first time I had discovered that almost every song in this album has that tendency to draw backwards with a kind of laid back attitude, if that's would've been the only thing that is disappointing about this album then it wouldn't have been a big deal, but it didn't hold out to the promise I thought it would either. This album doesn't feel like a meaningful step, it feels more like an addendum to what GOJIRA have done so far, and that is a very upsetting notion considering the fact that this album came after a four year long hiatus.

Don't get me wrong, this album does have its own special vibe and sound but it isn't taking the band into new realms as every album they have put out so far had managed to do. Instead it seems to me that in this album they only wanted to put a new angle on what they have done in the past, I even dare say that some of the songs here sounds like stuff that would've been edited out in previous efforts. Hell even the monstrous guitar harmonics which have always been an essential element of GOJIRA's sound has received a rather gimmicky treatment in quite a few parts in this album. Having said all that, it may seem that I didn't like the album but that isn't true, it may not have risen up to my expectations but when I examine it track by track and avoid comparing it to the last two I discover this is actually a pretty good album.

It opens with "Explosia" which is a fit bombastic opener and continues with "L'enfant Sauvage" and "The Axe", one is empowering and touching and the latter is deeply enchanting. The next tracks that follow seemed really pointless to me and came out of the other ear leaving no impression what so ever which is something I can't say about a single song in the last two albums but the album picks up again with "Mouth of Kala" and reaches its peak with the following song "The Gift of Guilt" which is a truly epic endeavor filled with all the driven intensity that one can expect from a GOJIRA song. Another pearl in the second part of the album is the closing "The Fall" which even contains the deathly vocals that were almost nowhere to be found in "The Way of All Flesh" and which I have missed sorely. As I've said before this album does have its own vibe and it's definitely more round and melodic than previous efforts, that isn't enough to make the album distinguishable in the same sense that previous albums were distinguishable from one another but I still  thought it's worth mentioning.

Unfortunately I didn't yet get the chance to inspect the lyrical aspect of the album which also an important aspect of GOJIRA's package deal.  like I've said, GOJIRA is a band that takes time for me to soak in and it's fairly possible that after I will give all the aspects of this album the appropriate amount of attention I would talk differently of it but right now it seems that my first impression has gave birth to a pretty solid opinion in this case. The thing is that even the highlights of this album are still no match the majority of songs in the previous two. So as much as I wanted to be going a-wall about this effort and rate it a Nasterpiece I'd have to admit that even though this is a good album, it isn't a very good one in GOJIRA terms.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Explosia
2. L'enfant Sauvage
3. The Axe
4. Liquid Fire
5. The Wild Fire
6. Planned Obsolescence
7. Mouth Of Kala
8. The Gift Of Guilt
9. Pain Is A Master
10. Born In Winter
11. The Fall
Lineup:
Joe Duplantier − vocals, guitar
Mario Duplantier − drums
Christian Andreu − guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Record Label: Roadrunner Records
     


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Edited 26 June 2022
 

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