METAL FOR YOUR GYMEAR: GOJIRA “MAGMA”
Gojira creates another unique record with a less-is-more approach to it’s riffs. Is that a good thing though?
Through the years, the French metal messiah known as Gojira has taken the heavy world by storm, plugging it’s melodic nature through huge, crushing and simplistic hooks that have blended doom drenched production (From Mars to Sirrus) into complex progressive metal labyrinths (The Way of the Flesh). They’ve grown their fan base to a fever pitch since their last release (L’Savage) and after countless tours and word-of-mouth from fans proclaiming their live shows are second to none, they had to end up at a new road. “Magma” is now that road.
After the death of their mother the Duplanteir brothers Joe and Mario used the emotion as fuel to, instead of creating anthems, creating a giant 43-minute symphony of atmospheric vibe and pulsating feelings. This is something Gojira has always been able to do better than most. On the previously mentioned records, though filled with anthems, they all had a general purpose. On “Magma” it feels as if creating memorable songs wasn’t so much the objective as it was to create a living, breathing thing. From the opener, “Shooting Star” the canvas is set to be smeared with dark and light grays of sound, in a fit of desperation to make sense of their own emotions. From there, there are several classic Gojira hooks on tracks like “Stranded” and “Silvera” that will leave you singing along at live shows for years to come.
But this also is something I’m having trouble with on this record. As a whole, it’s beautiful, but for the most part, the band has attempted to have riffs of one open or chugged note all too often. And with his, the complexity of the album, at least for us, takes place. They have stripped down the thing we love most about the band and almost, nearly, over simplified the song writing for the full album’s sake. Progression through reduction, if you will. Songs from the past like “From the Sky” or “Oroborus” are memorable simply because the few riffs in the song are so full of hook they catch fish upon listening to them. Aside from the aforementioned tracks “Stranded” and “Silvera” without listening to the record I cannot recall many parts of the album from memory, even after 20 listens.
So with this, drive the point home that Gojira has made a complete ALBUM. And as a cover to cover it’s one gorgeous story. But unfortunately there aren’t many parts of the plot that stick out on their own. That being said, we love it, as we do with anything they release. But we do hope in future releases they can combine the catchy riff oriented tracks we love AND the full concept of an album a bit more.