L'Enfant Sauvage review by Gojira

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  • Released: Jun 26, 2012
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.6 (136 votes)
Gojira: L'Enfant Sauvage
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Sound — 7
One of the best ways to tell if a metal band has hit it big is by seeing if people recognise their guitar tone. To be distinguished from thousands of sounds and thousands of riffs by thousands of people is a testament to both creativity and brand power, and a lot can be drawn from the fact that premier French exports Gojira had this long before their first release on a major league label. It wouldn't be wrong to attribute much of it to their electrifying live performance but we shouldn't forget that this is the band's fifth LP, and with album lengths averaging over an hour, the band have a lot of faith in their music's recorded power.

"L'Enfant Sauvage" begins quite plainly as a celebration of the traits that the band have worked hard to single out as their own over the last decade exaggerated harmonics, dynamic pick scrapes, nuanced drumming behind sledgehammer riffs. The guitars are crisp but swing low when required, often distinguished more by their pick attack or palm muting than melody or rhythm. It can make for repetitive listening, but once in the right frame of mind the small changes from song to song, from one kind of groovy riff to another, are easier to appreciate. The bouncing title track and aptly-titled "Explosia" may be similar in some regards but will take on different character when they inevitably take their place on Gojira's live setlist.

Lyrics — 7
Joe Duplantier had this to say about his lyrics in an interview with Gojira's official website:

"With freedom comes responsibility [as a musician], so I'm asking myself, 'What is freedom? What does it mean to me?' 'L'Enfant Sauvage' reflects on that. There's no answer though. There's just life and questions."

Despite being pigeon-holed as a one-topic band dedicated to the environment and man's effect on the Earth, "L'Enfant Sauvage" makes much use the first person to explore more personal themes, freedom being one of them. However, the all-important pulse of Gojira's music means he has limited wriggle-room for poetic rhythm and remains more effective in instruction than reflection; urging the world to change seems to come more naturally to Joe than pondering his own life as an artist. Perhaps sensing this, the band have decided to close their album with the two most effective eco-friendly tracks and overall album highlights "Born In Winter" and "The Fall", which offer potential for change and then a grave warning of the consequences of failing to address the problems facing our planet.

Where his lyrics are hit-and-miss, his vocals are much the same. The majority of vocals are now pitched or 'clean' the groovier songs benefit from this added dimension but the already melodic "Mouth Of Kala", for example, becomes rather dreary for Duplantier's reliance on the same one or two melodic shapes and cries out for a harsher approach.

Overall Impression — 6
So, what to make of "L'Enfant Sauvage" on the balance of things? It's big, it's heavy and you can bang your head to it with a conscience clear as crystal, but is there much more to it than that? The squeals and slides may still have some artistic shelf-life but they're not as audacious as they once were. This album is a little too 'safe' for a band who ought to be pushing boundaries and asking big questions what it's lacking is that bit of ingenuity. Gojira have made over 5 hours of effective music from a relatively small pool of ideas but this is the first time in their career that they seem to be repeating themselves. Listenable, at times enjoyable, but ultimately underwhelming.

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

    chrizevans
    Phenomenal album by a phenomenal band. Definitely in my albums of the year with Meshuggah and Lamb of God
    travislausch
    100% agree with every word of this review. Gojira are one hell of a talented band with a very recognizable sound, but unfortunately they seem to be running on creative empty. The unfortunate thing is, their sound is so recognizable that changing even one element of it is enough to make all the fanboys disparage the band because of it, so I'm torn on wanting to hear something different from Gojira, or wanting to hear more of the same...
    AndrewAmadeo
    I'm new to Gojira, I decided to check them out after I saw their name on the LoG/Dethklok tour. They're a great band, I've heard Explosia and L'enfant Sauvage from the new record, it is safe to say i'll be buying it.
    SirBiggithBrian
    I liked it, whereas not as powerful and ear catching as previous releases, it still was really rather good. If a band without Gojiras back catalogue released this it was be considered amazing. Sadly Gojira just started off with several amazing "hard to top" albums which makes this new release seem that little bit weaker.
    sven.stazic
    I really love Gojira, one of my fav bands but this album is not as good as their previous releases. but thats just my opinion..
    tsoun-net
    I think this album is their best one with From Mars to Sirius, they're technically and musically at their best.
    LostLegion
    I still have to get it. Although I thought they kind of lost their roots in the l'enfant sauvage song. But hopefully my view will change once I get a listen.
    coVal
    The Gift of Guilt and L'Enfant Sauvage are the best tracks on this album, in my opinion.
    ManInTheBox14
    I totally disagree with this review. IMO, this is the best metal album of the year so far (I'd give it a solid 9 overall) and better than their previous work. And "Mouth of Kala" is actually one of my favorite tracks from the album.
    Von II
    Iommianity wrote: Can anyone fill me in on what's particularly technical or death metal about their music? I've heard From Mars to Sirius, which I liked, and considered kind of sludgy. They remind me a lot more of earlier Mastodon than any death metal bands. I know they mix tapping, harmonics, open strings and guitar noise into their riffing, but it always seemed subdued, and never in a technical fashion. I know their demo material was death metal, and I'm assuming you can find elements on their earlier albums, but I just don't hear it.
    I don't think anyone can put Gojira into one simple genre, I mean look at the list: technical death, thrash, groove, prog,... If you can label them in one or two words, go ahead.
    Ananais
    I agree that they have lost a bit of the originality of The Way of All Flesh, and that they re-use a bit of the sound of that album, unfortunatly. Still, I think the overall rate should be much higher than 7,7, specially when comparing with other albums from the band. Maybe not above 9.0, but surely above 8.5
    JoeySteel
    Explosia's 3 minute outro riff & Mouth Of Kala's undeniable groove. And I suppose "This Emptiness" is crushingly heavy as well. \m/ the//axe \m/ Fuckit, it's a fantastic ****ing album overall, not one bad song. Having said that, I hate how "My Last Creation"'s intro riff- is a poor rip-off of The Way Of All Flesh's into riff. -JD-
    xicetraex
    kratos379 wrote: Iommianity wrote: For the record, I don't think it matters what genre they are; if anything, I'm trying to figure why people slap them with so many labels, when it seems like these are the same kind of people who complain about bands getting boxed in, or the oversaturation of various metal genres. I don't care if they fit an easy label or not or some kind of preconceived notion of what a certain genre is, I just think they get lumped in with death metal as another way to show how 'diverse' they are. I don't get listing 5 different genre descriptions when they really aren't as spastic or all encompassing as that would entail. It seems like they just play a form of groove metal. That doesn't mean they can't mix in influences from other genres, I'm just saying. I think they're considered death metal, because if you listen to a few of the songs, the vocals are harsh enough to be from a death metal band. Like if you listen to Adoration for None off of the The Way of All Flesh, you should be able to hear it those vocals. Gojira is just really hard to place. Maybe it's more implicit, because I've always thought of them as some mix of thrash, groove, prog, and death, but I'm not fully able to describe why.
    A better track to tell people to listen to would be "Clone" if you're specifically talking about death metal influence. Also, Randy Blythe sings 50% of Adoration for None.
    derangedxzombie
    Some of their songs on this album have generic moments, so they do seem to play it a little more safe. But then it's like an amalgamation of all their past albums. And the album is still incredible. The gift of guilt, I know everyone loves that song!
    Iommianity
    For the record, I don't think it matters what genre they are; if anything, I'm trying to figure why people slap them with so many labels, when it seems like these are the same kind of people who complain about bands getting boxed in, or the oversaturation of various metal genres. I don't care if they fit an easy label or not or some kind of preconceived notion of what a certain genre is, I just think they get lumped in with death metal as another way to show how 'diverse' they are. I don't get listing 5 different genre descriptions when they really aren't as spastic or all encompassing as that would entail. It seems like they just play a form of groove metal. That doesn't mean they can't mix in influences from other genres, I'm just saying.
    kratos379
    SirBiggithBrian wrote: Sadly Gojira just started off with several amazing "hard to top" albums which makes this new release seem that little bit weaker.
    This explains it probably the best. There were some good songs on the new album that I really enjoyed, but some of their stuff is getting a little stale and they need to try some new things. They don't do guitar solos, so they live and die on their riffing. I hope their next album tries to push the limits a little more. They have shown that they have great potential. Mario Duplantier actually wrote most of the album, so I don't know how much that changed things. This just s
    srvrules
    Gojira is bad ass. I do have to agree with most of the posters about this latest album. It is not as good as some of their other releases. I really enjoyed from mars to sirius and the way of all flesh was great. I then got into the link, which took me a while to get into, but ended up being killer. I think they kick ass, but the latest album lacks some creativity. There is still some good songs on the latest release like Liquid Fire, L'Enfant Sauvage, and the Gift of Guilt. I really want to see them live and really appreciate their creativeness because they sound like nobody else. I believe that they will surprise many people showing up for the Dethklok/Lamb of God show. Like Sir BiggithBrian wrote it was hard to top the amazing releases that they had previously. This should get people into Gojira, but in time, they should see that their earlier releases will be much better in comparison. I also wish that Of Blood and Salt should have been included in this release. That was a bad ass song.
    fartsyjoe420
    this is one of the only metal albums i've really liked in a long time. I never really liked or disliked gojira before, but this album is solid. i guess i'll have to go back and give their older stuff another listen.
    Iommianity
    Von II wrote: Iommianity wrote: Can anyone fill me in on what's particularly technical or death metal about their music? I've heard From Mars to Sirius, which I liked, and considered kind of sludgy. They remind me a lot more of earlier Mastodon than any death metal bands. I know they mix tapping, harmonics, open strings and guitar noise into their riffing, but it always seemed subdued, and never in a technical fashion. I know their demo material was death metal, and I'm assuming you can find elements on their earlier albums, but I just don't hear it. I don't think anyone can put Gojira into one simple genre, I mean look at the list: technical death, thrash, groove, prog,... If you can label them in one or two words, go ahead.
    Plenty of bands defy the conventions of their genre, but that doesn't mean anything. They can be called lots of things, and I'm asking for a justification for one of them. Obscura by Gorguts is an album that defies classification in terms of conventional structure, composition, guitar technique, harmony, rhythm, etc. It's still a 'death metal' album. I'm just wondering what the point is with Gojira. You can call them a million different things, but that makes them sound far more open, adventurous, and genre defying than they really are. They either play a form of death metal, or they don't. Pretty simple,
    SGofawesome
    I only liked a few songs off of this album. It's really drawn out and gasping for creativity. There's still a couple that I would like to hear in concert, but not as much as TWOAF or FMTS songs.
    AnEvilWalrus
    I was disappointed by this album. There were a few good songs (mostly near the end) including the title track, but the rest of it was pretty much just the same old same old and it was kinda boring. I'll have to listen to it a few more times but I doubt that opinion will change.
    Bruntti
    This album gets a bad rep, but it's really awesome. It's not From Mars to Sirius, but it's much better than The Way of all flesh
    PerpetualBurn
    This is a great album. I think it is about on par if not a little better than TWOAF. The problem is that From Mars To Sirius is one of the greatest metal albums of all time, not to mention how incredible The Link and Terra Incognita are. If it weren't for how amazing their first few albums were it would make the last two a lot more mind-blowing. This one has some cool grooves but for the first time ever on a Gojira record I hear sections where I think "you know what...it sounds like there was outside production that affected this in a negative way," or "this section could have been so much better if it did ____ instead of ___." I think that this is made worse by the fact that repeating the fault of TWOAF it seems as though the major breaks in the album are broken into sections within songs rather than songs within an album, let alone an album within their catalog. Take my thoughts on the album with a grain of salt though as I am pretty much the biggest Gojira fan short of obsession that you'll find. Along with Cynic, Decapitated, Pantera, Zepp, The Beatles and King Crimson, I think they are one of the greatest bands of the last fifty years.
    Anemo
    I think the Way of all Flesh was their weakest release : it was very influenced by the likes of Lamb of God and Mastodon, as they intensively toured the US with them. This one is a little bit more technical, the sound is somewhat better and the drums are juste stupidly amazing.
    EpiExplorer
    I've only heard the single so far, and to be honest, they've done better. Still, I my friends say that its as good as TWOAF so I'll try it out.
    kratos379
    kratos379 wrote: This just s
    I don't know where that came from, so just ignore this part of my post.
    (sic)knot
    Kind of just discovered this band not so long ago. Loved the Way of All Flesh album, then this new one came out...I liked the Way of All Flesh better, but this one is still pretty damn good! Plus the title kicks ass-which means the Wild Child.
    Abacus11
    I'm looking forward to hearing this album. "The Way of All Flesh" and "From Mars to Sirius" were great and I think these guys really stand out from most of the newer heavy bands out there. I've only heard the title track so far and it's killer!
    Iommianity
    Can anyone fill me in on what's particularly technical or death metal about their music? I've heard From Mars to Sirius, which I liked, and considered kind of sludgy. They remind me a lot more of earlier Mastodon than any death metal bands. I know they mix tapping, harmonics, open strings and guitar noise into their riffing, but it always seemed subdued, and never in a technical fashion. I know their demo material was death metal, and I'm assuming you can find elements on their earlier albums, but I just don't hear it.
    napalm890
    I listened to some of their tracks the other day and was kinda underwhelmed... I don't really understand why everyone seems to be raving about them (online anyways), they sounded kinda generic.
    Cannibal Koala
    napalm890 wrote: I listened to some of their tracks the other day and was kinda underwhelmed... I don't really understand why everyone seems to be raving about them (online anyways), they sounded kinda generic.
    That's what I thought of them when I first heard "Flying Whales" a few years ago. For me, I had to listen to the albums in their entirety to get a feel for the band and their style, and when I heard "The Way Of All Flesh" for the first time, I thought it was a steaming pile of crap. I gave it a second chance and loved "Toxic Garbage Island". And with that, I started to fall in love. Okay, well. It's disappointing to hear how underwhelming this album is. I really hope to listen and to be surprised. Who knows, I could love it.
    etceteranough
    I got into Gojira when I bought "From Mars to Sirius" on a whim back years ago when I saw it's cover at best buy.. I listened to it a few times and it didn't really stick. A couple weeks later a friend asked if I had heard of them and to his surprise I had the album.. so I tried listenin' to it again and realized how great it was. Been a fan since and I have to say I like this new album just as much as their last two. They're pretty much equal, IMO. Best songs on this album for me would have to be "Planned Obsolescence" and "The Gift of Guilt" but that tends to change, especially with this band.
    megafan11
    I think this album is great. I feel like they took elements from every other albums they made in the past and made one awesome album. It is also true that it doesn't sound as original as it did back then, but it is still a great album. For me the only song that should not be on the album is The wild Healer because it doesnt fit and sound a bit forced like they HAD to fit a two minutes instrumental in the record.
    SGofawesome
    kratos379 wrote: Iommianity wrote: For the record, I don't think it matters what genre they are; if anything, I'm trying to figure why people slap them with so many labels, when it seems like these are the same kind of people who complain about bands getting boxed in, or the oversaturation of various metal genres. I don't care if they fit an easy label or not or some kind of preconceived notion of what a certain genre is, I just think they get lumped in with death metal as another way to show how 'diverse' they are. I don't get listing 5 different genre descriptions when they really aren't as spastic or all encompassing as that would entail. It seems like they just play a form of groove metal. That doesn't mean they can't mix in influences from other genres, I'm just saying. I think they're considered death metal, because if you listen to a few of the songs, the vocals are harsh enough to be from a death metal band. Like if you listen to Adoration for None off of the The Way of All Flesh, you should be able to hear it those vocals. Gojira is just really hard to place. Maybe it's more implicit, because I've always thought of them as some mix of thrash, groove, prog, and death, but I'm not fully able to describe why.
    That's because Adoration for None is, for the most part, sang by Randy Blythe from Lamb of God. Genres don't matter. It's metal
    Inglig909
    I loved the album and thought it was a good one by them, don't understand why so many people think it's not as good as there other albums
    kratos379
    Iommianity wrote: For the record, I don't think it matters what genre they are; if anything, I'm trying to figure why people slap them with so many labels, when it seems like these are the same kind of people who complain about bands getting boxed in, or the oversaturation of various metal genres. I don't care if they fit an easy label or not or some kind of preconceived notion of what a certain genre is, I just think they get lumped in with death metal as another way to show how 'diverse' they are. I don't get listing 5 different genre descriptions when they really aren't as spastic or all encompassing as that would entail. It seems like they just play a form of groove metal. That doesn't mean they can't mix in influences from other genres, I'm just saying.
    I think they're considered death metal, because if you listen to a few of the songs, the vocals are harsh enough to be from a death metal band. Like if you listen to Adoration for None off of the The Way of All Flesh, you should be able to hear it those vocals. Gojira is just really hard to place. Maybe it's more implicit, because I've always thought of them as some mix of thrash, groove, prog, and death, but I'm not fully able to describe why.
    Liamm92
    I thought this album was pretty dissapointing. This is their first release that I would say is definately not death metal on any level.