Gojira | ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’
Slowly building critical acclaim. A savage last album. The toast of your native country, which is otherwise a bit merde for metal – you can imagine the pressure on Gojira.
Not least from their label, Roadrunner, who clearly saw a chance at breaking into the metal mainstream when taking them on. It nearly happened, too.
But it won’t for a while yet.
Because this new album, while as rock solid as we’ve come to expect from Gojira, is just a little too slow, and not really full of the creativity one could rightly expect from them. The kind of creativity they’ve shown before.
You’d expect an opener with a title like ‘Explosia’ to do just that. Instead, the track sums up much about this latest collection of songs. It majors on heaviness, certainly, with a dark and portentous sound. There’s a certain feeling of dystopian complaint in it, and the band are clearly still full of righteous, hippy anger. It just goes nowhere.
And it’s a shame that it takes until four tracks in, with the groovy and pumping ‘Liquid Fire’ that things really kick off. It’s a great track that chugs along good and proper, and also features those Cynic-esque robo vocals that Gojira have been using for some time.
The track that follows is a bit of a loopy surprise. Instrumental ‘The Wild Healer’ sounds like something out of a 90′s computer game, and though it’s only a minute or so long, it does feel somewhat out of place.
Helpfully, ‘Planned Obsolescence’ follows it up with a thumping blastbeat to kick itself off. It’s one of the few fast parts on the album, and is by far the heaviest track. Frustratingly, it’s just not that interesting, and after two or three listens the fire of its opening just seems to burn out.
‘The Mouth Of Kala’ however reminds of albums past in a much more satisfying way. It’s more melodic, more thoughtful and just more immersive than much of the other stuff on here.
So overall, it’s a bit of a disappointment. There’s nothing to really grab you – nothing to really excite. Tracks like the last one mentioned have a definite ‘feel’, and a real sense of postmodern ennui. Yet for whatever reason the band just havent channeled their utmost creativity into it.
It sounds a bit like they’ve knocked this one out just to get an album on the shelves. So like many cool bands who do things because they have to, it’s far from bad – very, very far – it’s just that they’re capable of a hundred times better.
Where’s the fire, where’s the energy? There’s not much to be heard on this album. They are perhaps a victim of their own success last time round.
That goes to show what they can do though – and they should be building on it, rather than resting on it.
3.1 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 28/05/12