Gojira - From Mars To Sirius review
|Album:||From Mars To Sirius|
|Release date:||September 2005|
01. Ocean Planet
03. From The Sky
05. Where Dragons Dwell
06. The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe
07. Flying Whales
08. In The Wilderness
09. World To Come
10. From Mars
11. To Sirius
12. Global Warming
It's not an easy task to try and approach From Mars To Sirius with fresh ears after a decade and a half of insane acclaim heaped onto it. It's commonly accepted as the peak of Gojira's entire career, as well as the album that caused them to be regarded as one of the ultimate competitors for the modern metal throne. And it's not like it's hard to see why; with two incredibly promising albums under their belts, Gojira were steadily becoming more progressive and ambitious with every outing. More atmosphere, more stylistic diversity, and more sonic density were all creeping into the band's sound, so much so that their old Godzilla days sounded like the recordings of a completely different group. It's not like their core intensity was being muted, but instead that it was being twisted and manipulated into several new and exciting genre-shifting creations; and THAT is exactly why From Mars To Sirius succeeds so wildly.
"Ocean Planet" immediately demonstrates this, presenting itself as a powerful blend of heavy doom riffs, unpredictable rhythm shifts, and mesmerizing guitar melodies. Somehow, in its ever-shifting nature, it never comes off as either formless or directionless. Every piece seems to fit shockingly well despite the band's widening array of tones and moods, and that only becomes even clearer when the disparity between brutality and ingenious songwriting fades with each passing track. Songs like "Backbone", "The Heaviest Matter in the Universe", and "In the Wilderness" clearly focus predominantly on the heavy side of things with chunky riffs and double bass aplenty, but Gojira always manage to throw a few wrenches in there to make sure nothing gets stale. "Backbone" constantly alternates stomping groove metal beats with nimble blastbeats courtesy of the incredible Mario Duplantier, always changing the tempo to the whim of the carefully conceived songwriting. "The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe" and "In The Wilderness," meanwhile, exhibit more changes in mood instead. Both tracks combine crushing brutality with a strange undercurrent of sorrow, the latter fleshed out in both songs' outro sections. Christian Andreu takes his lead guitar work in a more melodic direction as the overall tone of Joe's voice gradually becomes more reflective.
On that topic of reflection, that's one of the biggest leaps forward regarding From Mars To Sirius in general. As the band's lyrical themes became more environmentally driven and complex, the emotional weight of the music became much more noticeable; this especially becomes apparent on the band end of the record, as songs like "World To Come" and "Global Warming" get much closer to the heart of what the entire album is trying to get across to the listener. A lot of the guitar distortion starts getting stripped away as a stronger melodic presence chimes in, not only in Christian's aforementioned guitar leads but also in Joe's surprisingly effective clean vocals. It doesn't surprise me at all that he would eventually start utilizing cleans more often as Gojira progressed, as it's a really nice break from the predominantly growled and screamed vocals featured on the band's early albums. The moody and reflective nature of From Mars To Sirius also lies in its few interludes - "Unicorn" and "From Mars" - which are played in much cleaner and atmospheric guitar tones while offering some nice breathing room in between the onslaughts of heavy riffs and relentless drums. It's a nice way to help distract from what I'd consider the album's only flaw: the fact that it's a bit bloated. This mostly comes from songs like "Where Dragons Dwell" and "In The Wilderness," which could have benefitted from having a few minutes shaved off their outros, as well as the highly repetitive "we will see our children growing" outro of "Global Warming", in which Christian and Joe's guitar tapping really starts to get grating.
Regardless, I don't think it's any wonder why From Mars To Sirius is considered such an incredible record. The way that intensity and brutality converge with reflectiveness and melody is just ingenious, and the technical-yet-emotional songwriting enthralls me more and more every time I return to it. The album might be a bit bloated and long, but somehow that just seems to add to the effect it was going for. There's a really genuine sense of ambition and commitment heard on From Mars To Sirius, something that makes it feel more like an epic journey than an album. And unlike the previous two records, there's a much stronger consistency in the tracklisting; every song fits where it should in other words. In any case, this is an absolute must-buy for any fan of both progressive and cutting-edge death metal... chances are, though, that the majority of you have already heard this one because of its legendary status.
Staff review by
|Of all the young French bands Gojira is without any doubt the most promising and probably the most talented. Even if their first two albums were already excellent and even if we all know that a third release can be fatidic, it can also be a nice confirmation. It's a confirmation yes, a confirmation of all the potentiality of this amazing combo and it's not really surprising to see that all the media in Europe say that it is one of the best release of the year 2005. "From Mars To Sirius" is a must?
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published 29.11.2005 | Comments (19)
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