Enfant Terrible

The brothers Duplantier serve as the composers,while Joe is also the band’s primary songwriter.

Written by Shantanu David | Published: September 8, 2012 12:27:46 am

Since their inception in 1996,metal band Gojira,formerly known as Godzilla,have had the same line-up of artists (a rarity with bands that have met any degree of success) and have made a norm out of constantly pushing the envelope. With the release of L’Enfant Sauvage (‘Wild Child’ in French),after a gap of four years,they continue unabated with auditory thrills. The band consists of lead vocalist Joseph Duplantier,drummer Mario Duplantier,bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and lead guitarist Christian Andreu. The brothers Duplantier serve as the composers,while Joe is also the band’s primary songwriter.

It’s hard to categorise the band considering they seem to take delight in defying genres. Not the kind of metal which grabs you by the throat,the band’s sound is more insidious,with progressive drum beats,complex structured riffs,and a varying but concordant bass-line. The opening track,Explosia,has a very groove metal feel to it — its tune sounds simple and metronomic,but is,in fact,cunningly layered and complex. In the first few tracks,the music is quite tempered,showcasing each band member’s virtuosity. L’Enfant sauvage,The axe and Liquid fire are the type of songs to lull your average metal-head into a happy somnolence.

The wild healer,the less-than-two-minute instrumental,is probably the most unusual track in the album,almost a metal jingle. It’s quite campy,and shows the band’s not afraid to play around with catchy metal tunes,which is a welcome digression from their usual heavily structured works. It is in the next few tracks like Planned obsolescence,Pain is the master and the exquisitely crafted The gift of guilt,that the band flexes its metal muscle,with some edgy strumming,stunning percussion and Joe’s harmonic voice,which oscillates between an almost choral chant to a raspy,angst-filled scream,with some growling thrown in for good measure. One track,The mouth of kala,however,fails to strike as impact-filled a chord as the other songs.

The band is known for their environment-themed lyrics and the last two songs,Born in winter and The fall,reaffirm their commitment to preservation and sustainability,specially if you play close attention to the lyrics and Duplantier’s plaintive voice. This is the band’s first album deal with metal records behemoth,Roadrunner Records,and it’s easy to see how the boys from Bayonne,France impressed the studio honchos. This one’s a keeper.

shantanu.david@expressindia.com

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