Album Review: Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
It’s hard to judge the scale of supporthave in 2012. Opening for metal giants Metallica and critically acclaimed albums are the norm for the French act, but their technical sludge metal is geared more towards fans of than any thrash metal titan. The acclaim will just keep coming with fifth album ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ which is an engaging, compelling, monstrous record.
‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ translates roughly to “The Wild Child.” While “wild” is indeed one way to describe such an album, the context of the album title is a little different – the record asks what it would be like to be free of all responsibilities and influences, what it would be like to be raised in the “wild.”
The enormity of this question is reflected in the overall sound of the album. There’s nothing here as wrist-destroyingly fast as ‘The Heaviest Matter of the Universe’; rather, sludge-like soundscapes are created through lots of repetition and downtuned chord strums. ‘Liquid Fire’ in particular, with its pounding rhythm accentuated with rapid cymbal taps, marches rather than gallops, and even includes a little vocal hook among the barrage of brutality.
As the record progresses, numerous experimental sounds show up, including ambient electronic drums during the outro of ‘Planned Obsolescence.’ There is also enough fret-wankery on here to appeal to old schoolfans , with certain passages sounding like they’d sound right at home on ‘Call of the Mastodon.’ For fans of Joe Duplantier’s clean vocals, the ballad-like section of ‘Born in Winter’ is a sheer delight before it explodes into the stratosphere for its climax.
The thing about Gojira is it’s going to be more noteworthy when they release a bad record, something they’ve yet to do. For now, they seem content with where they are in the metal world – with a dedicated, slowly expanding fanbase, and releasing consistently killer records. Long may they continue to do so.
Rating – 9