Let’s start this review with a bold statement… In my honest opinion, Gojira are currently the best metal band on the planet.
Big words, I know, but each time they release an album, and especially every time I witness their live performances, my belief in that statement only grows stronger.
Tonight, in Manchester, the French progressive metallers are nothing short of breathtaking from the moment they casually wander on stage and launch into Explosia, the opening track from their latest album, L’Enfant Sauvage. From then on, they display a masterclass in how metal can be immensely powerful, technical, intelligent and truly original. Flying Whales brings the tempo down slightly with its Tool-like intro before its signature riff leads us into the pounding rhythm of the main track. As heads bang in the front rows the band’s technicality is something to behold. They’ve been doing this a while now and almost make it seem simple, but pay close attention and you’ll witness the intricacies in the music which twists and turns from gentle segways to weird time signatures to an all-out assault on the senses of everyone in Manchester’s Academy 2 tonight.
Drummer, Mario, once again demonstrates why he’s in a class all of his own. Subtle, tricky and immensely powerful when needed; Gojira’s sound owes much to the man at the back that’s for sure. Joe’s vocals are genuine yet ferocious throughout and the whole band tonight are simply flawless.
Joe jokes that they have two songs remaining but they might just play one because the crowd are so quiet. He may have a point. The fans don’t seem overly vocal tonight but I have no doubt they’re as blown away by what they’re witnessing as I am.
The massive Vacuity ends the main set on a powerful note before the band return for an encore of The Gift Of Guilt, a truly great song filled with many elements of the band’s varied sound but maybe not the best choice for a set closer. I would’ve expected one of Gojira’s more hard-hitting epics to really deliver that final punch. Still, there are no real complaints here. I’ve seen Gojira maybe ten times now and I leave every gig knowing I’ve been witness to something truly epic. If you have any interest in heavy music made for the head & the heart, you need this band in your life.
Review & photos – Steve Gerrard