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Gojira- From Mars To Sirius – 2005 – Listenable Records

Track Listing
1. Ocean Planet
2. Backbone
3. From The Sky
4. Unicorn
5. Where Dragon Dwell
6. The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe
7. Flying Whales
8. In The Wilderness
9. World To Come
10. From Mars
11. To Sirius
12. Global Warming
Gojira is something of a conundrum. Consider the cover to their newest album ‘From Mars to Sirius’. It’s color is white, which is hardly skull-crushing, but there is also a flying whale on the cover, as large as the planets it appears to be circling. Whales are quite weighty, so that might imply heaviness. The band was originally named Godzilla, but changed to Gojira after copyright fussing ensued, and hell, the album even has a song titled ‘The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe’, so this has got to be thick stuff, right? Well, that’s the thing.

Gojira never takes off. I definitely want to like this album, and I definitely do, but only to an extent. I like most everything about this album ‘to an extent’ (except for the amazing pinches, which I simply cannot get enough of). It’s heavy, to an extent. It’s creative, to an extent. It’s progressive, to an extent. The press release uses words like ‘memorable…chunky…extreme…groovy’, and I agree with all of these…to an extent.

Let me explain. The album starts with a few seconds of whale song, which almost immediately kicks into a large, rolling riff, and a fantastic pinch harmonic. The pinches could be a motif of whale song emulation, but I’ll leave that to you to decide. Moving on. The drums are tight, the bass usually mimics the lead to lend it strength, and when the vocals come in, they are quite apropos. Think Andreas Sydow of Darkane, just slower. And it is true, ‘Ocean Planet’ is a good track. It’s different. Darkane meets SYL meets something else; head-banging is required.

All this is well and good, but the album just doesn’t get off the ground. There’s a fantastic foundation here; solid low end, good production, and guitarists who have their riffing technique perfectly set. I have no doubt that in time Gojira will lay down on the table a slab of metal-so-thick-and-groovy- I-can-hardly-believe-it. It’s just not that time yet.

We’ll hear some well-placed pinches and unique theme-and-variations on lead guitar, but then pops up a filler riff. A few good choruses, then a completely uninspired passage that kills the momentum of the song. For example, ‘From the Sky’ spends a few minutes building up, and at about 3:30 comes to a segue with a bit of dissonant ambience in the background. No problems so far. It cuts out, and the overused somewhat mild but trying-to-be-foreboding quiet part comes in, which again builds back up to a louder repetition of the same riff. This style represents at least 10 percent of each song, and it can go. Gojira would have well served themselves if they’d cut this album down a third or so. It’s already a monster at 70 minutes plus; around 50 and they would have had a killer album. But, since I can’t go in and slice this apart, I’ll just recommend listening to it in half-hour segments. Much longer than that, and I stop appreciating the nice ideas I do find and begin to think how this could be improved by brevity.

So, to take my own advice, I’ll end it here. I do recommend this, but with slight reservations.



-- Etiam 12.9.05


Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: GOJIRA
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
From Mars To SiriusGojira
2005
Etiam1/4/2006
The Way Of All FleshGojira
2008
Etiam1/23/2009


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