Since 2001, GOJIRA (formerly known as GODZILLA), have given us multitudes of blissful music. From first album "Terra Incognita" to seventh and newest album "Fortitude", they never seem to slow down or lose their grasp on evolving while maintaining that metal sound. Joe Duplantier (vocals, guitars), Christian Andreu (guitars), Jean-Michel Labadie (bass) and Mario Duplantier (drums) hypnotize with songs that grasp hold of our souls and don't fucking let go.
'Born For One Thing' opens the new album with screeching guitars, pelting drums, and vocals that harken a little to MASTODON, if that somehow makes sense. Hell, even the guitars echo the Atlanta-based sludge masters. 'Amazonia', on the other hand throws out some throat-harp sounds and some hammer-on-metal drumming before Joe throws out some KMFDM-ish (yep, I said it) singing. Two tracks in and the band's all over the place. And that's why we love'em, right? Third track 'Another World' is a steady rhythm of railroading guitars and some vocal harmonizing that generates some epic sonic-daydreaming. And then there's 'Hold On', an a capella track that eventually churns with its circling and smoldering riffs. There's never really a moment in any later-era GOJIRA where the listener can predict what comes next.
Chugging guitars open 'New Found' as it evolves into a solid delivery of more metal songwriting that the previous track, bringing it back into full swing. The passion in Joe's voice is mesmerizing. Next is 'Fortitude', sort of a head-scratcher at first...but damn just keep listening. It blurs into 'The Chant', which is really the same song. It rises, it plunders. It dips. It soars. it's absolutely glorious. 'Sphinx' is mighty and devouring. 'Into The Storm' is peaceful, then truncated (but in a good fucking way). 'The Trails' is clean vocals and an ejaculation of guitars that blend into a morphing, gelatinous, mesmerizing bit of enrapturing beauty. 'Grind' ends the album on a high note, full of energy and celebration.
Just when you think you have GOJIRA figured out, they slap you in the face with something completely different. Two decades in and they're still full of ideas that take themselves into new heights with no signs of ever letting up.
- David Simonton