Album: L’Enfant Suavage
Label: Roadrunner Records
Released: June 26, 2012
Genre: Progressive Metal
Woah. That’s what instantly comes to mind after listening to ANY Gojira album and once again this powerful quartet delivers. The unique blend of beauty and brutality that is created by this band ultimately leaves the listener stunned. Upon listening to this album I sat back to collect myself and then forced myself to get off my ass and pick up the scattered remains of my blown mind.
(As you may or may not have noticed I LOVE Gojira and this will probably be more of a praising than a review, but I will do my best to keep it in my pants.)
Now I get it, extreme metal is not everyone’s flavor. That is perfectly fine, not everyone wants to be barraged with the musical equivalent of being beaten – all while a man is incoherently screaming at you. However, I would recommend Gojira to anyone even if metal is not their style per se. They manage to juxtapose savagery and sophistication by being both raw and refined. The talent to do this been something Gojira has always maintained and has subsequently managed to improve on with this album.
The first track “Explosia” jumps in with a heavy hitting intro filled with excellent rhythm from the drums and Gojira-esque pick scrapes. The entire song manages to display Gojira’s progressive musical style quite nicely and gives a nice taste test of what is to come with the rest of the album.
Next up the title track “L’Enfant Sauvage” is one of my favorite’s and was the first single on the album to be released. The main riff gives a great sense of buildup and contrasts beautifully to the explosion that is the chorus. As well one of my favorite moments on the entire album at ~3:03 – a perfect drop followed up by powerful double kick intensity from Mario Duplantier. The cherry on top to this moment is a perfectly delivered line from the vocalist Joe Duplantier – “The sky is ooohh – over me.” Just hearing that part sends shivers up my spine.
One thing I have always enjoyed about Gojira is how they manage to create a unique atmosphere with their music. It truly is epic and almost any song I have listened to I have been left with a sense of wonder. Their approach to death metal takes a different approach than most. Many bands tend to strive for technicality over melody, but Gojira remains technical and powerful all while maintaining a rich atmospheric texture to their sound. This album retains that sound and stays true to their style while adding some extra flair and different turns, improving on what they do best. A very apparent example is “The Wild Healer” which is a nice break a few songs into the album and is something a little different for Gojira. It is a fun and upbeat instrumental that keeps true to their musical approach.
Throughout the album Mario Duplantier’s drumming is nothing short of insane. The well delivered technicality and choppy rhythm holds together everything. Whether it be the paradiddles at the beginning of “Liquid Fire” or the double kick technique being used throughout (notable moment: being layered underneath a doom-y sounding riff at the end of “Mouth of Kala”). The guitar works as double edged sword chugging along with crushing rhythms and also unique melodies that set a nice tone. Unfortunately, the bass is lost in the mix (no surprise there though, right?) however, it does add to the entire heaviness of the mix. On top of it all Joe Duplantier’s vocal prowess drives each song and takes any listener to a nice musical escape.
There were only a few minor issues I had with album. Lyrically I enjoyed it with no problem and Joe Duplantier’s vocals are hauntingly fierce and entrancing as always. Musically, though there are moments of very similar riffs and in particular, the typical “Gojira harmonic pick scrape technique” I found was overused throughout the album. In the mixing of the album there is too much use of fading out at the end of songs and many times it did not add to the effect of particular songs ie. “Mouth of Kala”
L’enfant keeps true to Gojira’s unique sound and stays on par with and possibly even improves on their music. This album creates a heavy and wondrous atmosphere. While it does fall under some level of redundancy, they have found something that works well and they stick with it. This album will stay on repeat for a while and will probably remain to be one of the best albums of the year in my books.