Gojira - Fortitude

 

Key Facts

Country: 🇫🇷

Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Release Date: 30th April 2021

Record Label(s): Roadrunner Records


Band Members

Joe Duplantier  - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar 

Mario Duplantier  - Drums 

Christian Andreu - Lead Guitar 

Jean-Michel Labadie - Bass 



Gojira - Born For One Thing


Review
Rating (out of 5🤘):🤘🤘🤘🤘
Favourite Track(s): Born For One Thing, Another World, Amazonia, Hold On, Sphinx, Into The Storm

It has been a long five year wait, but French metal legends Gojira have finally returned with a crushing new album that has a heavier gravitational pull than the sun. Easily one of the most anticipated albums of the year, the album had a lot of hype surrounding it and it did not disappoint. Following the string of strong singles the full album is nothing short of a sanctuary for all as the progressive tapping riffs heal the soul accompanied by the ever tight rhythms of Mario Duplantier. Whilst the Whale memes will never really die, the band have continued their ardent activism and have used the album to demonstrate the plight of the Amazon rainforest. With irresistible grooves and some interesting atmospheric choices, Fortitude is definitely one of the most unique Gojira albums to date.

What is there left to say about a band that consistently delivers albums that belong upper echelons of heavy music that hasn't already been said? Musically, it is instantly recognisable as Gojira, the tapped riffs, thunderous chugs and obscure rhythms are all hallmarks of the band's sound. However, the band have continued their transition towards ethereal progressive obscurity from humble death metal origins, gradually bringing in more abstract elements to make the music stand out. Fortitude demonstrates how the band can literally pull off anything that they put their minds towards. Leaning more into the realms of experimental sonic aesthetics that were beginning to be established on 2016's MagmaFortitude is a very texturally rich album whilst being technically astute. The idea that the band have essentially stripped back the raw and frantic approach of their early work in favour for anthemic simplicity will alienate older fans, but opens up a whole new realm of musical possibility for the band. The implementation of more stoner rock and bluesy vibes in to their sound, best demonstrated on The Chant, has given a new dynamic to the band's sound, allowing for more catchy melodies to accompany the familiar song structures. In terms of melodic intensity Gojira deliver, as they aren't a half baked attempt to just sound catchy, there is a uniqueness to them that makes them stand out. With the noticeable shift away from the extreme vocals Joe Duplantier's cleans have the opportunity to truly shine through with said melodies. One of the stand out riffs is the Meshuggah style, bombastic chugs of Into The Storm, it has that Bleed aesthetic that you can't help the want to disrespect your surroundings. The only possible gripe with Fortitude as a whole, is the first half of the album is Gojira at their bombastic brilliance, by the time it gets to The Chant, the album loses some momentum and is then playing catch up with itself for the second half (with Into The Storm leading the charge). The album as a whole is cohesive, but split into halves there is a definite energy imbalance the further in you get. This doesn't detract from the quality of the songs though, Sphinx harkens back to pre-Magma Gojira with it's doom laden grooves and Grind consolidating everything contained in the album as the band throw the kitchen sink at it, demonstrating everything that makes them Gojira and the new era they're entering. The most dynamically interesting song has to be The Trails, the hypnotic and sombre progressive riff mesmerises you and helps you frame the band in a completely different light as they fully extend their reach into the stripped back atmospheric area of their sound. Either way, the more melodic vocals are sure to have planted ear worms that we'll be singing to ourselves for months to come. Overall, Fortitude sees Gojira at their most accessible yet most experimental. As they explore sonic aesthetics and rich atmospheres in their own unique way, there is definitely a lot to be admired with this gradual musical shift. Whilst not wholly radical, Gojira have done a lot of things right by stripping it back and exploring. It'll still be a significant challenge to find a mother band that can drop breakdown style riffs like Gojira. 

The production definitely follows in Magma's stead, loading it with deep, heavy bass drops that pack a weight punch right into your cranium. Also the mix is more spacious, to allow all the experimental textures and elements to sit comfortably between the guitars and vocals. The guitar tones are thick and meaty, supported by a bass with the gravitational density of the sun. Combines you get this deep and rich tone that once the grooves get going physically moves you. Alongside the various effects that both guitars use when they pick scrape and create the strange dissonant, metallic sounds, it adds some diversity to their guitar tones whilst mixing between filled out and hollowed tones. The experimental use of effects really helps with the layering and the dynamics as there is always something to pick up on with each listen. The drums are easily the stand out of the album, how the manage to capture the raw energy yet precise technicality of Mario Duplantier is second to none. The kick is hard hitting, punchy and penetrates the mix so well. The snare has a great snap to it and the cymbals sound tight and controlled. Overall the mix is just as exciting as the songs and showcases a whole other side to the band's sound. 

As we speak the band are pushing for a Top 10 Album in the UK Charts, so if you fancy helping the band reach this milestone while indulging in some signature Gojira, get Fortitude spinning in your ears!

Gojira - Fortitude 

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