Sound — 7
The Way of All Flesh is Gojira's 4th foray into the world of music, and to their legions of fans who would proudly proclaim them the "it" band and the black sheep of the modern metal scene, it is no disappointment. The Way of All Flesh, in a nutshell, is the same tried and true Gojira we have come to know and love, albeit more refined and possibly even tighter than ever before. It really is quite impressive that a band that seemed to start out at the top of their game with very little room to grow could improve their cohesiveness as a unit in the way that Gojira has. Despite Gojira's improvements as a band, however, their most recent effort is not without it's shortcomings. Like it's extremely successful, breakthrough predecessor, The Way of All Flesh can be compared to a candy with a sweet outer shell and a sour center. The Way of All Flesh begins powerfully, delivering fantastic melodies and crushing grooves all in one precise, musically tight package before firmly planting it's feet in the sandbox every time it tries to swing. Delivering drab, uninspired tracks like "All the Tears" and the ill-advised collaboration "Adoration For None," the center of the CD moves like the old lady going 40 in the fast lane and often leaves the listener tempted to give up altogether. Fortunately, the pace is restored with "The Art of Dying," Gojira's longest song to date and one of my personal favorites. All is smooth sailing from that point, the out of place "Wolf Down the Earth" notwithstanding. Aside from the filler on the cd, the only other problem -- a subjective one, I might add -- is the production. The production is immaculate and the music is polished to perfection. A little too polished, if you ask me. Some of the trademark heaviness and raw power backing Gojira's behemoth sound has been polished right out of the music. It is not a deal breaker by any means, but it would have been nice to hear some of Gojira's signature crushing riffery in all it's glory.
Lyrics — 7
Gojira's lyrics have always dealt largely with mankind's treatment of the environment and the destruction of the place we call home. The lyrics have always been enjoyably vague in their message without skimping on the quality of the delivery. The lyrics on The Way of All Flesh continue that message and Joe Duplantier screams them out as well as he always has, but the overall quality of the lyrics has slipped a little. Where previous efforts cryptically hinted at man's role in the poisoning of the planet, The Way of All Flesh bluntly points fingers. The lyrics are still well-written, albeit not on par with their previous works, but the obscure nature that made them as enjoyable as they were open for interpretation is absent here. Undermining the overall quality of the writing, the lyrics are often excessively preachy and so blunt that the message turns around on itself and becomes quite silly. Don't believe me? Just listen to "Toxic Garbage Island."
Overall Impression — 8
The Way of All Flesh is not a bad CD by any means. On the contrary, it's a very accessible effort that manages to deliver to the long time Gojira fans as well as those who are just getting their feet wet, a daunting task that many bands fail to perform successfully. Despite it's ever-present pitfalls, The Way of All Flesh is a worthy effort to follow up the immense success of it's predecessor. Where it stumbles over itself, it makes up for the lost time with tracks like "Toxic Garbage Island," "Vacuity," and "The Art of Dying." If you like Gojira, you'll find something to love here even if it means sifting through preachy lyrics and tired musical clichs.