(Andy Synn reviews the hotly anticipated new album by Gojira.)
Although we often don’t bother with some of the “big” releases here at NCS (mainly because these artists will be getting more than enough coverage and promotion as it is), there are certain albums like Magma that it’s just impossible for us to ignore.
As you will probably have gathered by now, this album presents a very different side of the band than you might be used to. Oh, they’ve always had their proggy and more melodic inclinations, but they’ve never before expressed them as boldly and prominently as they do on their sixth album.
Make no mistake about it, this is the French foursome’s own Crack The Skye moment, a full-on embracing and shameless expression of their progressive proclivities which also just happens to be their most streamlined, emotional, and, yes, accessible album yet.
You needn’t fear that the band have gone soft on you, of course, or “sold out” (though I can already hear those cries of consternation emanating from certain corners of the Metal world), as there are still multiple moments of the quartet’s signature biomechanical bombardment to be found across the length and breadth of the album’s ten tracks.
However, Magma is definitely a step outside of the band’s established comfort zone (which was in danger of becoming a rut at times on L’Enfant Sauvage) and sees them plying some unfamiliar, though ultimately very rewarding, waters.
I haven’t heard Gojira’s new album Magma, but my comrade Andy Synn has. And last night he alerted me to the fact that Gojira would begin streaming a new song today — a song he described as “one of the really good ones” on Magma. And so they have. And so it is — really good, I mean.
The name of the song is “Silvera”, and it’s presented through a video directed by Drew Cox. The music is powerful and jolting, with a swirling Eastern-influenced melody that’s urgent and intense. It’s unmistakably a Gojira song, bursting with passion and displaying many of the band’s hallmark ingredients — yet it also differs from their past output, featuring more clean vocals (which will evidently be a hallmark of this new album) and coming to a close in a way that might seem premature in comparison with the band’s older work.
In late March, when I read Rolling Stone’s interview/listening-session (here) with the Duplantier brothers about Gojira’s new album Magma, I became increasingly uneasy. Reading Kory Grow’s descriptions of some of the songs that he heard while talking with the brothers in their New York City studio made me fear that Gojira had morphed into a French variant of Mastodon, making a big sweeping turn into radio-friendly rock.
He wrote that “the band has taken a different route with the album compared to past riff-fests”, and referred to “almost-industrial rhythm[s]”, “brittle guitar line[s]”, “almost gothier riff[s]”, “Joe singing a monk-like chant”, “sorrowful, gothy vocals”, flutes and cowbells, and lots of four-minute songs because “people’s attentions are shorter now” (Joe’s words). In the final paragraph, Grow wrote, “they’re eager to show a different side of themselves on the new record and see how their fans react to it”.
Well, now we have some actual music, because within the last two hours, the band debuted a music video for the new album’s first advance track, “Stranded”.
When names as big as Gojira and Katatonia both release new music on the same day, if you wait more than a few hours to write about it, the odds are that almost everyone who cares about those bands has already been clued in by someone else. But I’m writing about these developments anyway because “Half-Assed” is my middle name and I feel compelled to live up to it. And I’ll throw in a few other new developments that have been somewhat less pervasively recognized across the web.
As I read Rolling Stone’s interview/listening-session (here) with the Duplantier brothers that appeared yesterday, I became increasingly uneasy. Reading Kory Grow’s descriptions of some of the songs from Gojira’s forthcoming new album that he heard while talking with the brothers in their New York City studio made me fear that Gojira have become a French variant of Mastodon, making a big sweeping turn into radio-friendly rock. Will their first video for the album include twerking?
Here are two North American tours announced this morning that are worth mentioning.
In our first post this morning I included a report from Metal Hammer based on an interview with Gojira’s frontman Joe Duplantier that the Gojira would be touring with Mastodon this October. There were no further details then, but there are now.
In addition to the pairing of Mastodon and Gojira, the tour will also include Norway’s Kvelertak and it will include dates in both the U.S. and Canada. A pre-sale for tickets and a limited number of VIP packages will become available this Wednesday, July 9, at 10 a.m. local venue time. General sales will begin on July 11.
Here’s the schedule (sadly for me, they’re skipping Seattle this time):
I spotted some news items over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing, and the following four happened to all come from France, so I’m bundling them together here. There’s some new music at the end, too.
According to a brief interview with Joe Duplantier backstage at the Sonisphere festival reported by Metal Hammer yesterday, Gojira will be embarking on a tour with Mastodon in October and will then be going straight into the studio to begin recording their sixth album for release in 2015. To listen to the audio of the brief interview, go here.
UPDATE: The Mastodon-Gojira North American tour has now been confirmed. Norway’s Kvelertak will also be on the tour, and the schedule can be found here.
And then, about an hour ago, Gojira began streaming a video on YouTube called “Summer Fest Part 1” with clips from some of their European festival appearances so far this summer, set to some slow, quasi-psychedelic instrumental music. Watch that next.
I’ve collected here some things that made a big impression on me when I discovered them over the last 24 hours. Perhaps they will make an impression on you, too.
2014 will see the release of the TWELFTH (!!) album by Finland’s Impaled Nazarene. Although I haven’t listened to even half of those dozen, I’ve listened enough to know that although their sound might not be entirely predictable from album to album (not a bad thing), it’s always likely to be a skull-hammering good time. From what I’ve heard of the new album, that will hold true yet again.
The new one’s name is Vigorous and Liberating Death, and the album cover was painted by Taneli Jarva. It’s scheduled for release by Osmose Productions on April 14. It includes 13 songs, almost all in sub-three-minute territory. You can get a sense of what’s coming via a track named “Kuoleman Varjot” that recently appeared on SoundCloud. Plus, the band have released a lyric video for the album’s title track. You can check out both below.
Not long ago Noisey premiered a brand new official video for Gojira’s song “Born In Winter” from L’Enfant Sauvage. It’s an animated work that includes lots of eye-candy. It’s fun to watch, and the music is by Gojira, so what are you waiting for? Watch it after the jump.
As if winning the Superb Owl weren’t enough of a prize for the City of Seattle, this morning brought news of yet another prize: Seattle will be the first date in a US tour that for my money will be a must-see event for 2014. Mastodon will be the headliners, with support from Gojira and Kvelertak.
The only problem with this announcement is that while all the press statements note that the tour begins in Seattle, I haven’t yet seen one that says WHERE in Seattle the show will be played, and Seattle is omitted from the usual list of dates and venues that have been appearing — all of which you can see after the jump. If anyone figures out the location, do let me know.
UPDATE (2/10/14): New dates/venues have now been added to the tour schedule, including that Seattle location. I’ve updated the schedule that appears after the post.
Goddamn, I’m excited for this show…
Not long ago a certain web site that referred to the almighty Gojira as “French art-metallers” (wha???) premiered a live video of the band performing “Flying Whales” at London’s Brixton Academy last year, and holy shit, is it good!
The video is included in a CD/DVD of the entire performance at Brixton Academy, which will accompany an art book entitled Les Enfants Sauvages. One of the photos from the book appears above and more can be viewed at that other web site. You can order the book here.
Watch the video after the jump. You’ll be glad you did.