French metal band Gojira have been a ‘next big thing’ for far too long. They’ve maintained the same line-up since forming in Bayonne in 1996, and each successive album has pushed them closer and closer to the spotlight. But L’Enfant Sauvage is going to change all that. This is the album that seems finally destined to bump Gojira all the way into at least Lamb of God/Trivium levels of fame. It combines a Devin Townsend-esque appreciation for atmosphere and melody with post-thrash rhythms, post-death metal drumming and a live, human element that’s missing from so much current studio-tweezed metal. After a triumphant run during Australias’s Soundwave Festival (which saw Devin Townsend and Meshuggah’s Fredrik Thordendal join them on stage for a historic performance of their studio collaboration “Of Blood And Salt”), Gojira are ready.
“The reason why we did that tour was to see a kangaroo,” guitarist and vocalist Joe Duplantier says of the recent Soundwave shows. “That was our main purpose! The reason why we came to Australia! And then we played some shows with Soundwave. But mostly we wanted to see a wild kangaroo. The last day of the tour we still hadn’t seen a kangaroo so we rented a car and went to the desert. Couldn’t find one the whole day. But on our way back to Perth we saw one, man! The night was falling and this huge kangaroo was jumping, and everyone was screaming in the car.” But now that the hunt for bipedal marsupials is over, Gojira is getting down to business. L’Enfant Sauvage is their first album on Roadrunner Records. It’s a diverse collection of tracks, some heavy, some more ambient, with an unusual amount of colour and drama for most bands other than Devin Townsend and Cynic. “I don’t listen to metal a lot,” Duplantier explains. I listen to Massive Attach and Morcheeba and Radiohead, Portishead. My brother [Mario Duplantier, drums] likes Indian music. Christian [Andreu], the other guitar player, doesn’t like music at all! He likes silence! He’s like, “Wow, this is the best.” And the bass player [Jean-Michel Labadie] listens to all kinds of metal. He’s a huge metal fan. So it’s an interesting mix. We have different attitudes, and it creates something more personal. I’d like to think that through the years, as we release albums, it’s getting closer to what we are, closer to the core. It’s a nice feeling. I love this album. We reached something that Im’ really, really happy with.”
Porcupine Tree and Opeth are both bands with distinctive sounds – Pink Floydian prog rock on one side, and sprawling progressive death metal on the other. So you could be forgiven for expecting a collaboration between each band’s masterminds (Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson, Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt) to be a progressive death metal epic full of odd time signatures, crushing riffs, growled vocals and ambient guitar solos. But for hints as to what you can expect from Storm Corrosion, you need to look into each artist’s most recent works. Wilson’s Grace For Drowning leans more towards lush soundscapes and psychedelic ambience, while Opeth’s Heritage could have come straight out of the seventies, with its vintage progressive rock (rather than progressive metal) elements that share more in common with King Crimson and Yes than Dream Theater and Symphony X.
And it’s here, in the middle of these two releases, that we find Storm Corrosion. The album’s six tracks – the term ‘song’ doesn’t quite cover it in this case – typically end up in a very different place to where they start, with structures that seem dictated by the previous note rather than any adherence to accepted song structures. And that’s a big reason why it’s such an engaging experience.
I loved Megadeth’s previous album, Endgame. Freaking loved it. It was extremely aggressive, angry, passionate, smartass, dark, brooding and bloody – y’know, a really good thrash album. But these same qualities made it a pretty intense listen, and I find I don’t return to it as often as I do other albums of similar impact. It just bums me out too much. Megadeth running on pure dark energy is a splendid beast to behold, but I’m firmly of the belief that you need a little light to go with the shade. Endgame is so dark that I need a bit of a break in between listens otherwise it starts to get kinda overwhelming.
Oh cool! Maybe the extra push Roadrunner will give the band will increase my chances of ever seeing Rush live here in Australia. Bring it on!
And y’know what this means? Rush and Dream Theater are now labelmates!
Roadrunner Records has announced a new worldwide partnership with Anthem Records and rock trio Rush. The band will remain on Anthem/Universal Music in Canada only.
“We have tremendous respect for Roadrunner Records and what Cees Wessels and Jonas Nachsin have built on a worldwide level. After years of Roadrunner pursuing the band, Tom Lipsky presented a deal that worked and the timing was right. We wanted to be at a label focused on the rock genre — and that’s Roadrunner,” said Ray Danniels, manager of Rush.
“In another life I worked with Rush and their great management team more than 30 years ago and to have Rush finally on the Roadrunner label is a dream come true. I am grateful for Ray Danniels’ confidence in this new partnership,” said Cees Wessels, Roadrunner Records Chairman.