Previously known as Godzilla until 2001, Gojira (a term for the giant lizard beast) is a fitting name to what can only be described as a brute of a band. Last seen roaming these shores supporting Trivium in 2007, tonight bares witness to the bands triumphant return as headliners, a clear indicator of the rise from utmost obscurity to habitual guests in top metal magazines.
With five studio albums, the band has a vast array of delights to glean from for tonight’s gig. Predominantly playing tracks off their last 3 records, the band kick-off by detonating fervently into ‘Explosia’, and instantaneously all around me the black clad mob erupts with clenched fists and flailing hair. My own imaginary bouffant soon gets caught up in the mosh as I windmill along to the lizard kings, only soon to realize that ship left the shore a long time ago.
It is an arduous task placing Gojira into a particular genre of metal, but what is clear from the progressive outfit is their environmentally-themed songs and so it is no surprise ‘Flying Whales’ is in tonight’s set. As the song is announced the last vestiges of neutrality from any quiet observer is hypersonically sucked into the spirit of things, as the technical musicianship and groove like riffs take hold. Fast, heavy, and sonically assaulting, Gojira’s (Godzilla) name is quite frankly inspired.
Throughout, the band exudes confidence and quite rightly so. The set is tighter than a shark’s arse at 40 fathoms and the frequent moments of vaulting around causes the fans to continually go ape-shit. With a roar like Godzilla himself singer Joe Duplantier holds his musical axe a-loft, adoring fans cut the perfect scene from Night of Living Dead, exhaustively vying to grasp and taste their metal hero. The ‘Heaviest Matter of the Universe’ and ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ are mere flavours of some of the highlights heard.
Just over half way through, the masses are entranced by Mario Duplantier’s drum solo. Having fun and delighting the crowd he punishes his kit like it’s his musical bitch. Leading perfectly into ‘Clone’, ‘The Axe’ and ‘Vacuity’ it is left to ‘The Gift of Guilt’ to bring tonight proceedings to an end.
With the gig over and my ears still ringing, I hobble through the rubble and over what is left of the venue. Tonight’s gig bore witness not only to a band on the rise, but quite frankly the birth of a monster.
Gojira’s current album L’Enfant Sauvage is out now via Roadrunner Records.
Reviewed by Steve Love and Andy Roles