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REVIEW: Gojira – “Magma”

There are few bands that can claim to have been instrumental in shaping what “progressive metal” has come to represent in the 21st century. Among those gargantuan colossi casting their shadow of influence across the entire scene stand French four piece Gojira from Ondres. Created around the duo and main creative force of brothers Joe (guitar, vocals) and Mario (drums) Duplantier, they have garnered acclaim as a modern metal juggernaut since the release of their first full-length album Terra Incognita in 2001,with their eclectic sound spanning from groove metal to progressive and technical death metal. With their new album Magma coming out on June 17th via Roadrunner Records, they will undoubtedly further their recognition as veritable legends in the metal community.

Ominous, meditative and brooding in nature, album opener “The Shooting Star” is an interesting choice to start the record with. Usually, Gojira have placed the more somber songs further into the record, like “Born in Winter,” the tenth of eleven songs on L’Enfant Sauvage. But playing with the listener’s expectations has been a strength of the band since day one, so this feels like the logical next step in their evolution. “The Shooting Star” may offer a deceptively laid-back pace, but the intensity of the song is still immense. Joe’s clean vocals give the song an eerie vibe with their seemingly impartial intonation counterpointing the sinister tone of the instrumental. When the song breaks from one of the reoccurring vocal lines into the outro, it seems that hint that this album’s journey may be very different from what Gojira has had to offer prior to Magma.

And then along comes “Silvera,” shattering every assumption with its massive riffs sounding undeniably like the Gojira. The vitriolic screaming atop of those riffs amplifies the intensity, allowing the vocal and instrumental delivery to play off of each other in an astounding fashion. Calling upon the conscience of their listeners, the chorus states that it’s ‘time to open your eyes to this genocide’. Joe, Mario and their two bandmates Christian Andreu (guitar) and Jean-Michel Labadie (bass) don’t seem to have forgotten their environmentalist message, or at least that’s what I take from this line. A polyrythmic middle section, ripe with guitar eccentrics and drum flourishes, rounds out “Silvera.”

As a collective, but also as individuals, Magma might very well be the crowning achievement of Gojira’s career. Joe has again matured as a vocalist, displaying a vast improvement in his clean vocals, which are much more present here than on any previous Gojira record. Together with Christian, he created some of the most memorable riffs of the decade, once more garnished with the various effects that make the songs easily distinguishable and unmistakably their work. Mario holds down the kit with a presence and urgency only gifted to few other drummers. Interweaving his bass lines masterfully with the drum patterns, Jean-Michel’s contribution to Magma is as intricate as it is punishing. His tone is crisp and lays in the mix perfectly audible. These four men are perfectly in tune with each other, and it clearly shows in this incredible body of work.

Title track “Magma” is the longest song on this ten-track affair, and by far the most effect-laden. The main guitar line is slowly burrowing through pinch harmonics towards an epic chorus, once more displaying Joe’s newfound passion for clean vocals. Slow and repetitive, with some variations popping up here and there, especially in the heavily syncopated drums, “Magma” is a crawling monster, grandiose in its sheer splendor and enormity.

“Liberation” terminates Magma in a way not even the most keen-eared among us may have expected. A short, acoustic instrumental with unobtrusive tribal percussion gives the listener a sweet brief moment of solace before Gojira throw the listener out into the harsh reality of existence afresh to experience it with a new sense of consciousness and responsibility. Out there is a world to explore but also to save, and we all have to seize our respective role in what Richard Dawkins called ‘the greatest show on earth’: life.

To put it straight, Gojira’s Magma is a modern masterpiece, an album to define an era. Nothing within its runtime of around an hour falls flat or even short of brilliant. There is something to find for every fan of progressive music, and fans of Gojira will savor every moment the band has prepared for them.

Score: 10/10.
Notable Tracks: “The Shooting Star”; “Silvera”; “Magma”.
FFO: Meshuggah, Cynic, Pantera.

Magma will be out on June 17th. You can pre-order it here.
Follow Gojira on Facebook and Twitter.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Kit Hicks

    25 May, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I get that theyre doing something different this time around, but are there actually any melodic trem riffs and fast kick drums?

  2. Kit Hicks

    25 May, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Dominik Böhmer Okay, good. Youve listened to the whole album?

  3. Dominik Böhmer

    25 May, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Kit Hicks I wrote the review, so yes, I did.

  4. Kit Hicks

    25 May, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Dominik Böhmer Ah sorry i just skimmed the review, cheers for the info anyway

  5. Dominik Böhmer

    25 May, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Kit Hicks It’s cool. Thanks for reading!

  6. Morgan Vind

    25 May, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    You’re not making the waiting time any easier to endure. I want that album now! 😀 Great review, by the way.

  7. Jeremiah J Whitehurst

    25 May, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Love what I’ve heard so far I can’t wait for more !!

  8. Elias Jackson

    25 May, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Tim Gotcher Liam Moriarty Hype hype hype

  9. Rita Barbosa

    25 May, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    The best album of 2016 ☆ can hardly wait 2 more weeks!!! Lucky Dominik!!!!!!

  10. Radek Krzesiński

    26 May, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Filip Rodak well

  11. Ryan Ayley

    26 May, 2016 at 1:37 am

    Thanks to you guys I now know they have a new album out! Cheers!

  12. Ainalik Dupuis

    26 May, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Can’t wait for this album to come out ✌????????????????????????????????

  13. James Wilson

    26 May, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Liquid hot mmmmagmmma……

  14. Tim Suselbeek

    26 May, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    So this album is going to be slow and repetitive? Cool

  15. Terry Arellano

    26 May, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Illuminati, illuminati illuminati.

  16. Djent Mag

    26 May, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I didn’t know they djent, do they? 🙂

  17. Ben Neunsinger

    26 May, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    This is going to be one of the best albums this year. Cannot wait.

  18. Timmaaaaaah

    27 May, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Dude.. You can’t play with peoples feelings like that xD
    As I expected there’s clean vocals all over this album! And I can’t wait to hear the rest of them! And as it’s the second 10/10 review I’ve read, maybe there’s something to this record! Well, it’s Gojira.. The greatest band to ever exist on earth! Of course there’s something to it! But damn.. The anticipation is killing me!

  19. MattSevelj

    1 June, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    That’s one epic review…and a supposed masterpiece to come. I feared that Gojira would lose that epic brilliance with this new album after hearing the shorter, more mainstream single Stranded…so a journey awaits.

  20. BazHood

    13 June, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Heartily agree! A stunning metal record, doing fresh things with standard ingredients and KILLING IT!!! Hail Gojira!

  21. Natè Mircevic

    17 June, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    In love U0001f918U0001f3fcU0001f496

  22. Blake Owens

    17 June, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    It’s not the sledgehammer that the last album was, but it’s growing on me. They’ve stripped it down yet added some extra elements at the same time. Very, very interesting stuff.

  23. Jefe Phillips

    17 June, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Mediocre at best

  24. Jonny Smart

    17 June, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    clean ur ears

  25. Jared Churchill

    17 June, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Not sure what people expect; Music is a reflection of the composers mind, not taylor-made for your mom’s basement listening party. This is another aspect of an awesome band, give it time and you will feel the Magma reshape your soul….***mic drop**

  26. Jasin Bovi

    17 June, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    No, my opinion is best

  27. Brandon Loe

    18 June, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Worst album they’ve made tbh, regardless I can still jam to it and it sounds like it’ll be fun to hear live this year.

  28. Asad Ali

    18 June, 2016 at 1:21 am

    Muhammad Umair good news

  29. Joe Britton

    18 June, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Its great but its short

  30. Brian Kotaran

    20 June, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Boring for a Gojira album

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