Gojira - From Mars To Sirius
Listenable Records
Progressive Death/Groove Metal
12 songs (1:06:52)
Release year: 2005
Gojira, Listenable Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Environmental concerns are rarely expressed in our extremist subculture, which is far more concerned with today's headbang than tomorrow's windfarm. Yet French groovemeisters Gojira are one voice in the face of dissent, a kind of serious version of the other week's Stam1na in message and a distilled, grooved-up mixture of Meshuggah, Morbid Angel and Celtic Frost in sound. They are, bluntly, a damn good band, whatever end of the metal spectrum you reside at, and 2005's From Mars To Sirius is probably the best entry into their sound, not least for the spacey atmospherics that are worked so well into the formula. There's a genuine furious passion to the likes of Backbone that gives their message and music a real power, propelling the environmentalist brick straight into the riot police face. It's probably the soundtrack I'd want were I ever to go out on a whaleboat-ramming spree, From The Sky a war anthem that takes the best parts of Amon Amarth, replacing the faux-Viking LARPery with a real urgency and feeling of impending battle. Not all environmentalists are pacifist, the warning seems to be.

It's easy to give the band's message too much importance, as many will no doubt eye-rollingly agree. Yet few will fail to be pleased with the music itself, which never fails to kick serious oil-spilling ass. Opener Ocean Planet revolves around a pleasing chuggy riff which hits all the right technical buttons, whilst The Heaviest Matter In The Universe lives up to its name with a real barnstormer of a riff, kicking your teeth in and refusing to apologise. Elsewhere, slow, heavy pounders like Where Dragons Fall step into Sludge territory, epic terrain reached and conquered as the riffs form a wall of noise, with a very well thought-out dip into ambience. World To Come's proggy Voivodic approach to song formation is also easy to appreciate. The common thread that ties these, and the album together, is, of course, Joe Duplantier and Christian Andreu's brilliant riff machine, and whilst it can take a little getting used to (I found the album quite monotonous the first few times I heard it) once you've got your head around the rip-roaring assault it's never short of killer. Mario Duplantier's battery makes for a solid technical backing to the guitars, and is all too easy to overlook, so here's a nod to him too.

There are moments of peace amidst the madness. Interlude Unicorn hits the atmospheric spot with its gentle melody the perfect foil to the riffage found elsewhere, yet the best atmosphere comes from the usage of whalesong during the slow build-up to Flying Whales. After said calm, the tension mounts to breaking point, guitars twisting and turning as the catchy assault continues its way to your soul. Sure, the peace may be relative, but the lyrics are fascinating, dealing with a man's esoteric search for the whales that 'once did guide us to dry lands of life'. Whales are genuinely powerful creatures, as those who have seen them in real life will know, and the thought that they possess some secret hidden knowledge about how to save mankind from itself doesn't seem so outrageous when you hear the passion in Joe's voice. He and the band have an uncanny ability to write epic riffs here, creating exactly the sort of lush soundscape that Green parties everywhere would use as their call to arms in a more Metal-friendly world.

The album keeps on giving, like a renewable energy source; I keep returning to it, and each time I do there's a track which makes just that little bit extra sense. I haven't even mentioned the gentle psychedelia and epic meltdown of From Mars and To Sirius respectively, or the grandiose farewell that is Global Warming, hinting at the even more technical and experimental approach to come on The Way Of All Flesh. In many ways I can see From Mars To Sirius becoming regarded as a classic in years to come, although I do think Gojira have better to come. They are one of the few major bands around at the moment that deserve the hype, after all, and have enough of a unique approach to mean that future albums will be very interesting indeed. Make sure you don't miss this one, however.

Killing Songs :
Backbone, From The Sky, The Heaviest Matter In The Universe, Flying Whales, World To Come, Global Warming
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Gojira that we have reviewed:
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage reviewed by Khelek and quoted 86 / 100
Gojira - The Way of All Flesh reviewed by Adam and quoted 83 / 100
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