Gojira, Klone and Trepalium
@ KoKo, London
11th November 2012
Review by Rhiannon Marley
Photography by Michelle Murphy
If the power of the deep compels you, extreme metal sensation Gojira should be at the top of your playlist. The quintet are storming London’s KoKo tonight, on the back of 2012’s release, L’Enfant Sauvage.
I’ve never seen Gojira live, so my appetite is whetted to perfection. Attendees have been buzzing with glee for weeks. Mornington Crescent station bleeds Amon Amarth shirts and New Rocks, as hundreds of queuing metalheads of all ages scramble in wallets for tickets, and flavoured accents babble above the thrum of excitement.
After arriving inside, I head to the stage to find a spot for TREPALIUM (4/5).
The southern French powerhouse unleash a death-groove monster that sees technical precision marry guttural rawness. Their multi-dimensional sound blends as many genres as it does riffs; an electrifying presence, and the crowd seem to love them.
Older goths and metallers catch sweaty pre-pubescents as they roll around the pit, the odd drenched Meshuggah logo launching from one side of the room to the other.
Guitarists Harun Demiraslan and Nicolas Amosse pound infectious riffs, but there’s a uniqueness to Trepalium’s funk-packaged density that not only sets them apart from the masses, but offers one of the most ambitious – and successful – fusion concepts in the metal arena at present.
Dynamic show, backed by titanium musicianship and sterling innovation.
Poitiers metallers KLONE (3.5/5) tread more mainstream territory.
Twinges of Alice in Chains, Incubus and Tool hit some death rhythms and interesting weighty patches, but on the whole, their ground is much less extreme.
On this basis, they’re a choice slightly out of sync with this bill, but onlookers are initially intrigued nevertheless. The place is rammed, as I stumble over Dr Martens and discarded cups.
Peering through limbs and shoulders secures but half a glance at the stage, although judging by a flock of Emperor t-shirts lining the bar, it seems many have decided that Klone are not their thing.
A cover of Bjork’s Army of Me raises eyebrows, as those who recognise it remember Skunk Anansie’s collaboration with the Icelandic circa mid-late-90s, which produced a far more effective version.
Yet although Klone are a little out of place here, they’re strong performers, with vibrant enthusiasm and sound musicality. Externally, their fan-base is burgeoning in its own right, and if you dig the goods, it’s not without warrant.
Chattering hushes. A forest of horns rises, and in the shadow of a thousand roars, the mighty GOJIRA (4.5/5) take their stand.
KoKo is stuffed to the brim with a patchwork of characters all fighting for a piece of the Bayonne boys, as L’Enfant Sauvage opener Explosia slices us in two.
Treating the crowd to a classic-heavy set, they bring gems Backbone, Wisdom Comes and Oroborus forward, alongside 2012’s title-track and the stunning Gift of Guilt for the encore.
The Duplantier brothers are on fire, with Mario getting stuck into a barbaric kit solo before Clone, and frontman Joe commanding the crowd like a sorcerer with his spell. Inked arms pump fists as the pit swallows smaller warriors whole – swiftly lifted again by larger veterans – in contrast to a serene backdrop littered with stars.
KoKo is known for its grandeur, but the visuals are truly stunning. the Baroque décor with Gojira’s artwork providing a rich, psychedelic vibe.
Gojira are as ambient as they are aggressive, with their dark atmosphere and spiritual lyrics, delivered absolutely drenched in reverb and delay effects, fasten deeper undertones to volcanic grooves and pendulum rhythms.
The energy is insane, as they ricochet around the stage, and Mario attacks his cymbals so hard that one falls off. Upturned faces around me both wail lyrics and stare in wonder, and it becomes clear how different the recorded and live experiences of Gojira are.
On record, calling them a very good band is an insufferable understatement. But live, they’re nothing short of mesmerising: a melting pot of limb-ripping heaviness, genre-exploding creativity and philosophical grit.
It might be the first time I’ve witnessed them, but I promise it won’t be the last.
A mind-blowing gig, and fantastic night!