By Antony Illingworth
One way to know if a band has hit the big time is if the masses recognise their guitar tones; to be distinguished from thousands of other bands takes some serious work, it also requires attention to little things including creativity.
Gojira’s fifth album, L’Enfant Sauvage, translating as “The Wild Child”, is the band’s newest material to date, and has everything you would expect from the French metallers; unusual rhythm sections, precision drumming over sledgehammer riffs that swing low as and when required and exaggerated harmonics are all there in this record, the guitars are crisp but are often more noticeable by palm mutes and pick attacks than their melodies or rhythm.
The album consists of 11 tracks, each different from the last but keeping the ferocity, speed, and technicality for which the band is well known, this album has everything that fans would expect to hear from a Gojira album. No two tracks sound the same, each has its own character, and has its own story to tell (something some bands fail to deliver). The vocals are cleaner than in previous records, but still have that distinct sound that is instantly recognisable by metal-heads worldwide.
Whereas in previous Gojira albums, there have been a few instrumentals, L’Enfant Sauvage, consists of only one, entitled “The Wild Healer” and although short and rather simple in its construction, it fits well in between “Liquid Fire” and “Planned Obsolescence”. Unfortunately “Mouth of Kala” although melodic, sounds far too repetitive and I can’t help but feel it could have been tackled slightly better instead of sticking to the same one or two melodic shapes, and it cries out for a much harsher approach.
So what to say about “L’Enfant Sauvage”, it is most definitely the “Wild Child” of Gojira’s discography, but all in all this is a fantastic record, although it does seem that the band are starting to run out of creativity, to change anything that the band do would have the die-hard fans disappear within in an instant; the guitar squeals and slides are the still there, though they don’t stand out as much as they once did like in “The Way Of All Flesh”.
Like in all of Gojira’s records, you can still bang your head to each song with a crystal clear conscience, this record is listenable but it needed to push boundaries more- stopping short of what it potentially could have been. It is not their greatest album to date especially when considering the phenomenon of From Mars to Sirius” and “Terra Incognita”, but still well worth buying if you enjoy technical death metal.
Devil-Horn Rating (out of five)
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