26 June 2012
by Raziq Rauf
Gojira have such a pedigree that they’ve had a superlative created especially for them. In some circles, exceptional events are described as “Gojiramazing” (Google it if you want). The phrase stems from the French quartet’s ability to always perform to a jaw-dropping standard, whether that be live or on record.
Such consistency has continued through to this, the progressive death metallers’ fifth album. That the personnel involved is the same today as it was in 1996 is certainly one of the reasons for Gojira’s splendid reliability; and it’s also one of the reasons L’Enfant Sauvage is yet another metal masterpiece.
Opening with the absurdly heavy ‘Explode’, the trademark squealing guitars and drummer Mario Duplantier’s choppy, unpredictable rhythms descend into iron-chewing thunder before singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier shreds his throat with the kind of dangerously consummate ease that we’ve become accustomed to.
Next is the title track: translate though it does as The Wild Child, there is nothing harebrained or puerile about it. Rising fast from distant atmospherics into harsh, manic polyrhythms before relaxing into a frantic and complicated riff, punctuated with malice and crashes, it’s as fine an example of Gojira’s relentless blend of brutality and beauty as you’re likely to get.
Other highlights include the quirky riff of the short, sharp ‘The Wild Healer’, the rasping power of ‘Planned Obsolescence’, and the cosmic zaps of the grand, frightening album closer ‘The Fall’. Honestly, the whole album resonates with remarkable quality. This is as flawless an extreme metal album as you’ll hear, in 2012 or any other year.
There has been no compromise with a view to increasing commercial viability. As Duplantier contemplates his freedom as a musician in the lyrical and philosophical content, the band’s musicianship palpably eschews any opportunity to blend in with the crowd. Instead, this set strengthens their unique identity. Such is the depth of quality of L’Enfant Sauvage, there is no question that Gojira will stand apart from their contemporaries and their efforts will be noticed.
Make no mistake: Gojira is one of the finest bands of our generation, and with L’Enfant Sauvage they’ve created another album to suit such a reputation.
This review originally appeared on the BBC Music website, and is reproduced here under a Creative Commons License.