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Gojira completely solidifies their reign in the upper echelons of top metal bands with their latest release, the powerful and inspiring 11-track album, Fortitude.  From beginning to end, it is a metal masterpiece distilling the heaviness, aggression and intensity of hardcore metal with addicting grooves and melodies that provide accessibility and connection with wider rock audiences.  

The veteran French band consists of brothers Joe (vocals/guitar/Producer) and Mario Duplantier (drums), Jean-Michel Labadie (bass guitar), and Christian Andreu (lead guitar).  The lineup has remained unchanged for 20 years and it shows in their incredibly tight playing.  Cohesion and attention to musical detail is a key hallmark of why Gojira sounds like no other band – with interesting non-traditional (sometimes progressive) dual guitar rhythms delivering fantastic grooves (check out “Into the Storm”), wild often funky full measure drum fills in between rapid-fire beats (“Born for One Thing”), and Joe’s dynamic vocal range effectively balancing deep but discernable guttural growls with intense clean melodies.  Joe’s vocals are often delivered with an enchanting unique harmonizing echo effect, often buried subtly in the mix, adding an atmosphere of spirituality in a Gregorian chant type of way. 

Lyrics by the Duplantier brothers frequently address issues atypical for metal bands - environmental concerns, animal rights issues, and positive messages challenging listeners to be their best selves.  A perfect example of the band leveraging their music with activism is the unforgettable “Amazonia”, a brilliant track decrying the destructive fires and injustices faced by indigenous tribes of the Amazon.  The band incorporates multiple indigenous instruments for maximum dramatic and emotional impact - “There’s fire in the sky/You’re in the Amazon/The greatest miracle/Is burning to the ground”.  But Gojira realized making a cool song about the crisis in the Amazon wasn’t enough.  They put their words into actions and successfully launched a fundraiser supporting a non-profit organization advocating to save the Amazon Forest and fight for indigenous people’s rights.  Check out the video for “Amazonia” – music truly making an impact and a difference in the world.

“Another World” grabs your attention with a tuned-down guitar hook so hypnotic and mesmerizing that it could be looped for repeated meditation (or just whirl in your head for hours).  The music perfectly matches the tone and feel of the subject matter – a yearning to live in a new world due to the perilous state of the current world.  “Born for One Thing” is a hard-hitting cruncher that combines fast aggressive verses with a killer half-tempo transition into a haunting chorus about coming to peace with the prospects of death in order to be more generous and compassionate while still alive.  “Into the Storm” is a hardcore winner, attacking with a precise driving gallop reminiscent of Metallica’s “Disposable Heroes” while drummer Mario transitions seamlessly in and out of different beats and tempos to show again why he’s one of the best rock drummers on the planet.  Drenched in a mindset of rebellion, the chorus is fitting for the times – “Rise/Yeah you come out/You’re awake now/Put your fist in the air/You were hiding/Now you throw yourself/Into the storm”.  Changing gears completely, “The Chant” is a heavy slow marching melancholy track featuring a prominent solemn chant-like chorus.  Admittedly, this one had to grow on me a bit.  Then I realized that hungry creative forces like Gojira need to experiment and push their musical boundaries.  “The Chant” is nothing like any other Gojira song… and that’s the point!  Touché my French metal masterminds!  Note - the song’s powerful video calls attention to the cultural genocide of Tibet following the Chinese invasion in 1949 and how Tibetan children were smuggled out of their occupied homeland to help preserve their culture.

Fortitude captures Gojira at their best.  Like experimental alchemists, they have skillfully forged elements of death, prog, and groove metal with dynamic intense vocals and melodies to create a truly unique heavy and inspirational sonic experience.  The world needs Gojira, both musically and for their inspirational efforts to make us and the world better. 


Be well and keep rocking!   Hunnypot Approved!     Overall Rating:  9.4 out of 10

Artist:  Gojira  AlbumFortitude  Release Date: April 30th, 2021,   LabelRoadrunner Records

Greg Vitalich

Photojournalist - San Diego

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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