Roadrunner Records 2012
Gojira‘s brand of environmentally conscious progressive metal has certainly earned them some friends in high places. But while metal’s elite have taken them under their wing in recent years; the bands ideals have remained as unwavering as their predilection to taking chances.
While “L’Enfant Sauvage” maintains this free spirit; it thankfully shies away from the bigger risks (here’s looking at you “A Sight To Behold“) that have cropped up on past releases. Throughout the course of this album the group sound like an earthier Meshuggah with subtle hallmarks from the Mastodon and Cynic playbooks. A hulking sonic behemoth that favors complex monolithic ferocity over exploring psychedelically altered states.
This sense of surefooted force not only permeates the effort, but also gives it immeasurable weight. In turn, despite the continued polyrhythmic cacophony, the dense rhythmic pummel and exacting low end guarantee that the band are left tilling instead of taking off.
So firmly is Gojira‘s songwriting formula anchored by its own mass, that the searing guitar work and robust vocals feel more like whirring appendages. Such heft would likely render most bands output as deadweight; but Gojira instead capitalize on the situation through some clever, if not exactly all that varied, songwriting.
Whether led by bellowing rage or slightly off-kilter melodies, the group fully commit themselves to their cause. This steely resolve greatly compliments the brainy nature of the lengthy songs on hand. The only real complaint that one could level against “L’Enfant Sauvage” is that it is perhaps a bit too comfortable in its aggression.
The opening track “Explosia” sets the bar impossibly high right out the gate, ending in a devastatingly heavy groove countered by ringing notes right out of Ennio Morricone‘s spaghetti western heyday.
Unfortunately that impressive burst of genius pairing is never matched by the rest of the more guarded efforts at branching out. But its inclusion alone is well worth the price of admission, as is the overall quality of rest of the material the band have crafted here.
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