Thursday, March 01, 2007

Review: From Mars to Sirius by Gojira

From Mars to Sirius

reviewed by Lucas Aykroyd

Some bands, like Led Zeppelin and Metallica, have names that mirror their overall sound. You can add Gojira to that list.

Named after the monster in the groundbreaking 1954 Japanese sci-fi flick (better known as “Godzilla” to Western audiences), the French foursome has produced a weird, brutal and compelling ambience on their third album, From Mars to Sirius, which could appeal to fans of both Mastodon and Midnight Oil.

While you might view ole Godzie as a relatively simple character who lives simply to destroy Tokyo, don’t forget that he emerged after an atomic blast and is thus a product of humanity’s degradation of the environment. That weighty topic is Gojira’s prime concern throughout this 67-minute opus. You know these Bayonne boys would never have applauded French intelligence’s 1985 bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.

Frontman Joe Duplantier celebrates his love of whales: one graces the album artwork, hovering in front of the titular planets. He accordingly roars out lines like “Whales in the sky/I feel they're so close inside/And yet so far away.” The haunting calls of the marine giants echo through the sparsely beautiful instrumental vamp of “Unicorn,” as well as “Ocean Planet,” where guitarist Christian Andreu zigzags between walloping Sabbath-style licks and pinch harmonics.

The massive, doom-laden drumming of Mario Duplantier (Joe’s brother) creates a polyrhythmic intensity reminiscent of Meshuggah, albeit more accessible. Though a band whose style could be lazily tagged death metal, Gojira has emerged as an original world-class monster that sinks its teeth into life.

Lucas Aykroyd
has written for such magazines as Rock Sound, Metal Hammer, Powerplay Rock and Metal Magazine, and Classic Rock. He is the author of 1984: The Ultimate Van Halen Trivia Book.

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