Jun 282012

(Andy Synn has music recommendations for Gojira fans . . .)

So with this being unofficial Gojira week here at NCS, I thought I’d try and continue the theme a bit, while also branching off in my own direction.

What you’ll find here are five bands, some of whom we’ve covered before, who I think will appeal to a good number of you Gojira fans out there, for a variety of reasons.

Now I’m not trying to say any of them is better than the French eco-behemoths, nor am I trying to replace them in your affections. Instead this column exists for two reasons:

1. I know that Gojira are one of those bands who captivate even the most casual of metal fans. I know several people myself who aren’t obsessive metal-explorers like myself and instead have a much more varied taste in music, but who nevertheless carry a pretty impressive torch for the band. So for these people I wanted to bring some attention to other bands who might suit them, who they might otherwise not have time to investigate for themselves.

2. I also know that many of us (myself included) have a real appreciation for Gojira, but don’t LOVE them unconditionally, as many do. Now while that does make me the perfect (cough…) candidate to critically appraise the band from a pretty objective standpoint – hence why you might find find my reviews a little more critical, in some ways at least, than others – it also makes me feel like I’m missing something. I know exactly how good the band are, and there are songs I do love, even albums, but for some reason the band and I are just not getting to the stage where I can put a ring on it. SO for those like me who “get” Gojira, but don’t “GET” Gojira as much as others, here are a few alternatives that might just fill that empty hole.



French progressive metal that could give Gojira a real run for their money given the chance, Hacride clearly take a bit more from Tool and the proggy side of music than the death metal roots that underpin their countrymen. Both the similarities and the differences between the two are equally as strong, which I understand might be contradictory, but give the track a listen and you’ll understand why they’re an almost perfect alternative.

This is “Act of God” off their last album Lazarus.



Sadly unappreciated, Sweden’s Burst were a masterful mix of progressive song-writing, post-metal dynamics, and crushing metallic hardcore. They’re a fair bit different from Gojira, I’ll grant you, but they have a similar mastery of making catchy songs that are actually incredibly challenging, with layers upon layers of depth. There’s a touch of Mastodon/Baroness to them as well, but overall I prefer Burst to either.

Coming off their album Origo, the track “Homebound” is a great mix of dinosaur-heavy grooves and anguished melodic touches.



Benea Reach make use of the same sort of juddering, earth-shaking guitar tone that Gojira have made part of their sound, as well as taking a similar plethora of influences from Meshuggah and Cult of Luna, but without sounding exactly like anyone else.  Their songs and albums are constructed in a similarly flowing, free-form manner to the French goliaths, with a penchant for instrumental interludes, atmospheric ambience and nagging, insistent choruses scattered amongst the devastating heaviness.

Try “Zenith” on for size (from Alleviat, one of my all-time favourite albums).




I can’t mention either of the previous two bands without returning to the source, as it were, by referencing Cult of Luna. The DNA of their atmospheric post-sludge sound (and I’m talking about the European form of Sludge, which is a colder, more ambient form, different from the swampy, viscous type put out by the USA) is definitely present in Gojira’s genetic make-up, along with the rest of the bands mentioned thus far, and rightly so. They’re a band who manage to crush the listener with just as much emotional weight as they do musical heaviness.

Here’s the utterly unforgiving “Curse” off their most recent  album Eternal Kingdom.



I’ve saved this one until last as it’s a heck of a lot more melodic than the rest, yet there’s a sense of adventure and a brilliantly realised character that meshes well with the Gojira listening experience, despite the obvious musical differences. That’s not to say there aren’t similarities though, as frontman Tijs Vanneste has a similarly gravelly bellow, and when the band kick in with their heavy, twisty-turny rhythms, you’ll find your head nodding along unconsciously whether you know it or not!

Check out the slanty, progressive “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy” off their last ever album The Arrogance of Ignorance.

  13 Responses to “GOJIRALTERNATIVES”

  1. If you like Hacride you should check out the band their drummer used to be in Ommani, they aren’t together any more but the one album they did make’s available for free download off their (now-defunct) website and it’s well worth getting

  2. I’d never heard of Benea Reach before and I’m happy to say that that song is pretty damn awesome. Further googling in this region has led me to the band’s Facebook page where they are streaming samples of their forthcoming new album Possessed: https://www.facebook.com/beneareach/app_178091127385

  3. All of these bands are quite solid. Two bands with releases from this year also come to mind: Hypno5e and Oddland, both of whom have been covered elsewhere but not here.

    • Another 2012 release (maybe it was end of 2011?) that seems like a natural fit here is Nami – they were covered in a random post back in January. The best description would be a progressive mix of Gojira and Opeth, big grooves meet acoustic guitars. Easily one of my favorite releases of the year thus far.

  4. Damn you! Expose me to such good music that I’m just gonna have to blow half my paycheck on it.

    (PS. Keep it up)

    • Half your paycheck? Psh, it’s not that bad, Hacride only have 3 albums, Burst have 5 and a smattering of splits/eps, Benea Reach have 2, plus one more about to be released, Cult of Luna have 5, plus some assorted dvds and such, Oceans of Sadness have 5 plus one ep…

      Actually, yeah, that IS a lot. My apologies to your bank account.

  5. Being from sweden i always felt that Burst and Breach got too little attention, actually like them more than Cult of Luna.

  6. So thanks for the list, the detailed descriptions and the awesome amount of though you put into this! Listened to all of them, and just to put my 2 cents in, idc if I get a response or a slew of insults, but I think none of these guys come even close to being an alternative to Gojira. I’ll say why. Basically, since like 1999, metal is fucking corny. It’s a shitshow of guys trying to out crazy each other with their appearance or trying to be blacker than everyone else. And if it’s not that, it’s a bunch of emo bowl cut fruity kids screaming and burp-growling and trying to be brootal when what they should really be doing is playing pop punk. Gojira feels like a bunch of regular guys being true to themselves, without the stupid facade, and just playing non-campy, non derivative riffs, and being fronted by (to nobody else’s discredit) a guy who’s scream sounds like a fucking man, that actually sounds like he embodies the metal genre. Wayyyy better vocals than pretty much almost any metal singer I’ve heard in a loooong as time. As I said, 99% of the genre now, is predictable, corny, and the music theory (riffs, for lack of a better word?) behind it resolves poorly. Gojira is really good at making metal music that sounds pro and never failing in its brutality. Not a single wasted note. The corniest song they made I think has to be A Sight to Behold, which even then was pretty awesome.

    Hacride probably came the closest to being something remotely like Gojira. Here’s the thing, their riffs are a little cheesy. They have some recycled chord progressions that have been overused since back when Hetfield had hair. Singer has some moments where he can’t hold notes. Like he’s struggling to roar. Because I think he’s out of range or tone deaf.

    Burst. First thing I noticed was that it was tragic sounding, which is not bad, tragic can be awesome, but this was corny tragic. Again, chord progressions that have been overused to the point of corniness. Second thing, singer. So this guy sounds like that post-hardcore type of singer that’s been popular for the last half a decade or so, where there are barely any notes sung, and it’s literally just a tone deaf guy screaming. If you’re screaming and there are no audible notes, you’re just a grown man throwing a tantrum. Like that kid from the greatest freak out ever videos. But this is the kind of stuff that kid’s little brother listens to and things is hard as shit. It does however have some redeeming moments. Like the pre chorus, but then the singer ruins it with terrible vocals.

    Benea Reach. No I take it back. THIS is what that little kid listens to and thinks is hard as fuck. They actually even have the same exact haircut. All appearances/branding/socio-categorization aside, these guys actually are metal. But they have none of Gojiras technical brilliance.

    Cult of Luna. I’m seeing the same issues here. Crappy screaming, recycled riffs, no signature to their sound etc. a bunch of 17 year olds could have easily made this in their garage across the street from my house.

    Oceans of Sadness. I see the greates amount of dynamic in this some and I don’t even really like it. It’s like if Cirque Du Soleil played metal. I give more credit to these guys for dynamic. Clearly a show of talent. Even though I hate whatever the hell that instrument is they’re playing for melody.

    People who like Gojira, like it because it’s badass without trying so hard. It’s basically the least poser ass metal I’ve ever heard. If anything they’re showing off, and they’re showing off because they are better/more talented than most metal bands out there right now and for the last decade at least. They have a signature sound. they are technically brilliant, and they aren’t afraid to do a song that isn’t traditionally metal in theme or even sound, yet they somehow still manage to make it heavy as fuck. That’s what attracts the people that don’t listen to metal that much. It shows how far their reach extends. So basically my point is none of this is actually anything like Gojira except In that it is heavy, down tuned, and there’s lots of scooped kick drum. What most of it really appears to be is either corny, or metal my little cousin would rock out to. My little cousin is 19. For reference, I’m 27. I was present for the whole pop punk travesty, and the hardcore/post hardcore “brutality”, some of the latter is technically impressive, but a lot of is is as I said, unrefined or careless in how they arrange their music. So yea anyway have fun with that and make your comments. Peace. *mic drop*

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