Gojira: L’Enfant Sauvage (2012 Album)

Earlier in the week French progressive death metallers Gojira released their much anticipated fifth studio album L’Enfant Sauvage. Having kindly posted a full album stream on their soundcloud page the week before, le proverbial chat has been out of the sac for almost a fortnight, so having had some time to digest what is a truly awesome display of aural smithery we bring you our humble, if ever so slightly fanboy tinged, thoughts on the matter.

Formed in 1996 by brothers Joe Duplantier (vocals, lead guitar), Christian Andreu (guitar), Jean-Michel Labadie (bass guitar) and Mario Duplantier (drums) originally under the name ‘Godzilla’, before changing to the original Japanese version of the name ‘Gojira’, meaning ‘gorilla the size of a whale’ due to legal issues. Playing a seriously crunchy, blast beat and groove infused death metal overlaid with environmentally concerned lyrics that breaks regularly into ambient passages of varying heaviness, Gojira have cemented themselves as leaders of innovation within their subgenre. The band have gone from strength to strength with each album displaying a step up in both technique and character, and this latest effort is no exception.

It’s genuinely impossible to try to pick stand out tracks from this album, the standard is so high throughout that there’s just no point. What I will say is that L’Enfant Sauvage is an absolutely exhausting listen, artfully playing with tension and release throughout, building and breaking, building and breaking, building, breaking, again, relentlessly; for the entire 52 minutes. This is excepting mid track ‘The Wild Healer’, a 108s passage that uses clean guitars, straight forward drums and slow, resonant, distorted bass to apply soothing dressings, stitching and bindings to the aural and emotional wounds created by the relentless first half, before the listener is once again thrust into chaos. You can’t help but feel that the track may genuinely have been added for health reasons, that after listening to the first cut they may have thought ‘merde! this is dangerous, let’s get a healing passage in the middle in case anyone’s foolhardy enough to listen to the whole thing in one sitting’ .

Released through Road-Runner records, the full-length album stream is still available on the bands Soundcloud. Check out the awesome videos below from the RoadRunnerUK YouTube channel, the first of a trilogy in which Duplantier explains the thoughts behind the album, track by track, and a fan Q&A with the band discussing the artwork.


Track Listing:

1. Explosia

2. L’Enfant Sauvage

3. The Axe

4. Liquid Fire

5. The Wild Healer

6. Planned Obsolescence

7. Mouth Of Kala

8. The Gift Of Guilt

9. Pain Is A Master

10. Born In Winter

11. The Fall

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