Sound — 8
Like a whale skydiving, Gojira left a colossal dent in the metal scene in 2005 with the overwhelmingly well received From Mars To Sirius'. After backing their new-found acclaim with a successful string of tours -- bringing their bombastic brand of death-thrash-whatever to ever widening audiences -- they kind of fell off the face of the earth. However, all of a sudden, looming over the horizon with a sadistic grin, we have The Way Of All Flesh', their newest disc. Straight off the bat there's that infectious ride-cymbal groove that we all know and love, courtesy of Mario Duplantier, and the warm, welcoming sound of a Joe Duplantier riff.
I'll be honest with you all; I did not care for From Mars To Sirius', or the Frenchmen's 2003 effort The Link', but that notorious tightness' finally got the best of me with this one. In fact, the screws are turned ever tighter here, as even the sludgy outbursts of From Mars... ' are condensed into razor-sharp rhythmic poundings, finalising Gojira's transition from band to part-cyborg riff machine. It is disturbingly easy to get sucked into the power behind it all, and as soon as you become comfortable, they pull something entirely new out of the bag. For example, after opening with Oroborus' and Toxic Garbage Island', two standard heavy tracks, we move on to A Sight To Behold', a bizarre creature based around a simple synth line and vocoded vocals which writhes in anticipation, without ever seemingly reaching that all-important climax point. Still, an exercise like this is entirely satisfying to the listener. Considering From Mars To Sirius' was a quagmire that wore you out long before it should have, ... All Flesh' is mixed impressively well. A crisper sound is adopted this time, giving every instrument some room to breathe, which can only be a good thing.
Lyrics — 7
For the more environmentally conscious death metaller in all of us, Gojira provide some food for thought about life, our planet and existence itself. Just what we all need, Greenpeace in our metal. Seriously though, for all the merit behind Joe Duplantier's messages, they can be difficult to follow as often full songs are scribed from very simple ideas and extracting a meaning from them can be a daunting task. Let's face it though; accessibility is not Gojira's game, so the eloquence is appreciated regardless. As with each album, Duplantier's distinctive vocal style comes closer to being one with the other instruments, and thankfully all traces of the grating inflections of The Link' are now nowhere to be seen. As a frontman and band leader Duplantier really gets the job done, co-writing all music with his brother Mario as well as handling vocals, guitars, production and even artwork to a slick standard.
Overall Impression — 8
For the moderate experimentation and progression they've made, Gojira circa 2008 still feels like the same brick-in-the-face Gojira that they always have been. The difference is that this time everything is more streamlined and the fat has been cut so that even the 9 minute The Art Of Dying', Gojira's longest song to date, feels neat and tidy, the while continuing to strike you with the proverbial brick. Even the marginy duff The Tears' and Wolf Down The Earth' have some way of working in the grand scheme of things. The flow of the album's songs is worth noting, with a good running order and segues between songs varying from an extended ambient break to mere nanoseconds before the next pummelling. in , a real classy album, the sort of thing Gojira needed to release to justify their status as an established professional act. Hell, just listen to Vacuity'. You don't wanna f--k with that.