The status of legend is hard to come by, particularly in the modern music scene. Oversaturation has led to bands springing up left right and center and with us moving forward into the future the likes of the classic Slayer’s, Metallica’s et al will soon be taking their leave. Contesting this argument over many a pub chat, I have been championing Gojira on since I first saw their performance supporting Trivium in Hammersmith ten years ago and with every release the band have been growing not only in stature but in their musical development. After the death of their mother led them to scrap their entire workings of new material to completely remould their new album based around their experience, it has been one of my personal favourites of the last year. Fast forward one year on and after many supporting appearances in the UK the band have at long last returned to claim their throne in a headline show.
Nevertheless before Gojira were allowed to dominate, the band brought along to Class A support acts. Kicking off with New York based quartet Car Bomb, the band are on the surface sounding like an amalgamation of both Meshuggah and Gojira themselves, with good reason, seeing as frontman Joe Duplantier was responsible for producing the new album. The band do a good job of warming up the crowd with their jittering guitar rhythms that are just a catchy as they are deceptive. Ending with a performance of “Secrets Within” off last year’s furious Meta, that has people moshing when the groove comes in yet it can make for a slight uncoordinated comprehension with the band, if you don’t know the various directions they might be going on in at a moments notice. Nevertheless against an iron clad bill, Car Bomb have more than proved themselves able and believe you me, we’ll be seeing more of them this year
After kicking the year off with their excellent record Forever, Code Orange have only just begun to reap the rewards that this new material will bring. Having absolutely floored Birmingham the night precious, the band are an entirely different entity to our previous technical masterminds. Creating a true air of malevolence and particularly with guitarist come screamer Reba Meyers’ semi wooden Frankenstein-esque walk, particularly when put together with the gangly movements of bassist Joe Goldman, whose rage in the more distorted sections of the song both beckon a true violent and truly unsettling aura. Having suitably bartered and bruised the audience with opener “Kill The Creator” the band push on forward in their quest for total anarchy.
Seemingly a rotating position of singing between Reba Meyers and drummer Jamie Morgan, the two make for an imposing pair screaming until they collapse whilst punishing their respective instruments. Make no mistake the band don’t do half measures, coupled with the unpredictable nature of their man behind the synthesizers. Yet there is an element of the band’s metallic Hardcore that seems to be lost on a crowd of Gojira fans. Despite their guy punch performance of cacophony, the crowd are finding it harder to register the band, perhaps owing to their unpredictable nature. Nevertheless there is no disparaging that Code Orange are definitely a hot to trot band that will have the world over talking about them this year. Though the music might not quite be exactly what you would expect, with Code Orange you should expect the unexpextced.
As the stage darkens and the crowd positively explode with the typically English pronounciation of Gojira, we await the arrival of our shooting stars. Having released their genius record, Magma, last year, the band have gone from strength to strength. Performing a set at Download and so many support appearances I’ve lost count, at long last the band are back to reclaim their rightful throne. Wasting no time after taking the stage drummer extraordinaire, Mario Duplantier, spearheads the band’s attack into “Only Pain” before seeing his brothers in arms, no pun intended, flank either side of him. Continuing their new sounds the gravity defying “Silvera” is released following. With its larger than life verse matched only by melodic midsection that sees more than a fair share of “solo hands” reach to the sky. Whilst of course not forgetting that despite their newer more supple skin, Gojira have a hardened exterior as the band positively annihilate the front row with “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe“.
As expected however, the arrival of “Stranded” sees the fidgeting, indecisive rhythms finally present in their environment they deserve. Having the time for a headline slot the band work material all throughout their career into the performance whilst retaining a cohesive strand throughout. Followed by the sounds of whales, signalling fan favourite “Flying Whales” the band are really pulling out all the stops here tonight with the first section of the evening positively ticking all sorts of boxes for fans. Yet it’s after the initial first wave of aggression where Gojira’s unique sense of serenity comes to the fore. A rendition of musical interlude “Terra Inc.” gives our audience a much needed rest before the arrival of the orange hue of “L’enfant Sauvage” where the band combine this elements of total power with their transcendent rhythmic mantra. Opting for some clean singing “The Shooting Star” makes for a beautifully ethereal midsection, not to mention when in a live setting, with that typical Gojira crunch is a lot more dense than previously thought.
Nevertheless the band have saved the best for last, after a small drum solo from brother Duplantier, we’re treated to Magma’s heaviest offering and from the squealing sounds of several large bearded men and myself is a real treat. Thundering through the track’s cavernous riffs here is where Gojira are quite simply untouchable. Binding both guitar, bass and drums with Joe Duplantier‘s Herculean and at times revealing bellows coalesce with the entire room to create something absolutely incredible. A kind of feeling unable to be recreated and could only have been orchestrated by Bayonne’s finest. Finishing the night off with the tremolo ridden, string bouncing of “Toxic Garbage Island” into the signature stomp of “Vacuity“. Which, as the final riffs uproot the foundations of The Forum,it’s clear that Gojira have well and truly earned their stripes. Supporting all over the world, with a performance that rivalled their headliners at last year’s Bloodstock, simply put Gojira are unequalled. Now, after releasing Magma and I’m sure that a sold out Forum would agree with me, the band have the potential to truly capitalise on their sound and become one of the biggest bands we’ve seen to date in modern Metal.