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Released: 2016, Roadrunner Records
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos
THE French Godzilla (aka Gojira) is back with another one exceptional studio album under the Greek-rooted name MAGMA. This is the sixth installment by Gojira and the second one, (the other is L’ENFANT SAUVAGE) that climbed so high in Billboard. That means that a French metal act is beloved in US.
The album was delayed, especially the recording sessions as they were put on hold when Joe Duplantier and Mario Duplantier's mother died. This fact pushed back the release to June 2016.
MAGMA is a very tight album with heavy guitars and deadly growls together with clean vocals, BUT far far away from any metalcore bullshit. GOJIRA are making ART here !
The riffs are a little bit punchier and rough while the song structure is simpler than before. We find Gojira attempting to make their sound more accessible, but not in clumsy or abrupt manner. Possibly, some have already perceived this musical evolution from the awesome video of "Silvera", a sample of genius and inspired modern metal. This is what is closest to what we call as a musical ‘hit’ that Joe Duplantier and Co. have written while the spirit of System Of A Down wandering the lyrics. This song can be a milestone in the band and the only downside are the expectations created for something comparable to the rest of the album, which are not verified below.
If you do not take into account two songs “Stranded” and “Only Pain” which are straight-forward modern punch in the face tracks as only Gojira and Pantera can compose, MAGMA contains the different styles of rock/metal, jazzy infusions and all the elements of progressive rock featuring robust drumming of Mario Duplantier, while the interpretations of Joe Duplantier will evoke sometimes the mille Petrozza (Kreator) and sometimes the Anders Friden (in Flames).
The perfect opener here, the mid tempo gem "The Shooting Star" sound wall that is set up impresses due to its clean vocal lines and that’s an indication of the band's intentions for this album and beyond. On the other hand, "The Cell" conveys a more aggressive and simultaneously claustrophobic feeling, with Duplantier performing to a familiar desperation; one of the strongest albums of compositions.
As far as the sound concerns. There are two reasons why MAGMA is sounding like that: 1) the band created its own studio in New York, which first used it in this album and 2) shortly after the band started working on it, Duplantier brothers’ mother passed away. Under those circumstances, MAGMA has got its special sound and production. In addition, these two reasons affected the final result making MAGMA more compact and the shortest album of the band, while the lyrics even have become more "personal" and emotional, but they have not completely abandoned the social / environmental sensitivities.
This is the best metal album of the year released so far…..
1. The Shooting Star
3. The Cell
5. Yellow Stone
8. Only Pain
9. Low Lands
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar, flute,
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums
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