Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Groove Metal
Length: 44 minutes
Label(s): Roadrunner Records
01. The Shooting Star
03. The Cell
08. Only Pain
09. Low Lands
Gojira Magma Review
Magma is the sixth album by French heavy metal band Gojira. By their own standard, Gojira are far more subdued and concise on Magma than all of their predecessors with much of this being down to a conscious decision “to be a little punchier sometimes*”. The unfortunate passing of Joe and Mario Duplantier’s mother will also have undoubtedly had an effect on the mood of the album too.
Those familiar with the band will expect Mario Duplantier to unleash a percussive barrage at the start of The Shooting Star but instead the song breaks into a simple nu metal-esque guitar riff, rock drumming and monotonous chanting wrapped up in reverb. To their credit this well-worn style is done with a unique flare and as the first song it sends a message to long-time fans that Magma is going to have something different about it.
This isn’t to say that long-time fans will be alienated because the next three songs, Silvera, The Cell and Stranded leap right back into the groove metal sound that Gojira fans are listening out for, complete with the shouted vocals that are sometimes mixed with this new monotonous speak-singing style, but the death metal influence has all but evaporated.
Gojira tradition dictates that there should be a short instrumental track in the middle of the album and this time it comes in the form of Yellowstone, a 79 second garage rock jam doused in distortion that is, to put it politely, unfocused. Maybe the band was testing the waters or maybe they needed a new way to express themselves but in the end it comes up short. In contrast the acoustic song, Liberation, is a peaceful instrumental that is as stripped back as it gets with only a simple percussive beat to accompany the guitar. It isn’t how you’d expect the album to end but it is pleasant and quite possibly the most honest expression of some of the feelings in the band.
Between introducing a flute on Pray, flirting with new genres and taking a lighter approach to their own style Gojira are still far from a full-on metamorphosis like some bands have undergone. For this reason there is plenty here to appease the core fans while still being able to cast a wider net without overtly changing. Only time will tell if the band embraces these new characteristics or reverts back to their traditional sound.
Joe Duplantier: Vocals, guitar, flute
Christian Andreu: Guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie: Bass
Mario Duplantier: Drums
* http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/gojiras-joseph-duplantier-says-next-album-will-feature-some-pantera-ish-kind-of-riffs/ “We want [the riffs] to be a little punchier sometimes”