Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
26-Jun-2012 Label: Roadrunner/Warner
Produced by Josh Wilbur and Joe Duplantier
Playing time: 52.24
Reviewed by Rod Sedgwick
Gojira have been making waves in the metal community for a good few years, slowly but steadily amassing a loyal following upon each release and with their masterful third and fourth albums, 2005’s From Mars to Sirius and 2008’s The Way of All Flesh, this reviewer was one of many fans that were ravenous for Gojira’s particular breed of melodic brutality. Four years down the line sporting a fresh record label upgrade, ‘The Wild Child’ arrives bearing the weight of expectation, and boy does it deliver!
The appetite grew with the title track and "Liquid Fire" being made available prior to the album’s release, which served as a glimpse into the majesty of L’Enfant Sauvage. Both of these tracks boast a tighter and clearer focus on songwriting which feels more organic than the almost surgical technicality of The Way of All Flesh, and being two of the shorter tracks on the album, they do not outstay their welcome but beckon to be listened repeatedly. Opening cut "Explosia" is Gojira standing you to attention, offering up their trademark pinch harmonics and pick slides, mammoth riffs and a progressive slant that is adventurous and playful.
It's evident that all four band members are in the zone. Joe Duplantier’s vocals exude passion and rage, and sound more melodic than ever. His brother Mario is a renowned talent on the skins, and is as playful here as he is technically proficient, his cymbal flourishes add another dimension to the overall journey of each song. The rhythm, lead and bass work is monstrous as evidenced by the descending riffs of "The Axe", which almost gives the sensation of being marched straight to hell.
"The Wild Healer" is a pretty little number that provides some respite before hurling you back into the abyss with the blast-beat assault of "Planned Obsolescence", a song which is also very adventurous with its tempo and mood. Two personal favourites follow; "Mouth of Kala" winning the listener over every time with its eargasm main riff and "The Gift of Guilt" for its emotional heft and soulful outro.
"Pain is a Master" and "Born in Winter" both lead you into their midst with atmospheric openings, showcasing emotional, soaring choruses in amongst the explosive riff work. "The Fall" is a memorable closer, with its big hulking riffs and pick slides, and an Alice in Chains vibe that wears its darkness like great burden as the album trails off to its bitter end. The only cure of course being to go back to the beginning, re-discovering "Explosia" and living and breathing it all again.
After a four-year wait, and arriving during a year of some outstanding releases, Gojira stand firm and mighty with the album of their career. Now as part of the Roadrunner stable, they should truly find the audience they deserve.
2. L'Enfant Sauvage
3. The Axe
4. Liquid Fire
5. The Wild Healer
6. Planned Obsolescence
7. Mouth of Kala
8. The Gift of Guilt
9. Pain is a Master
10. Born in Winter
11. The Fall
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