The Way Of All Flesh
posted on 10/2008 By:
After all is said and done, The Way Of All Flesh is a good album. You should know. The entire album has been streaming for awhile now, and you've probably already picked which side you're on. I'm still on the fence. It's the outer-struggle that Gojira make with their brand of life-after-death-metal that painted such a beautiful picture in 2005, and it's making it difficult for me to readjust the scale. Said portrait, From Mars To Sirius, is an impactive, tidal wave of an album whose wrath of melody and homeopathic approach make for something seismic. The wide-open spaces, the choruses that climb mountains; it flows like a river runs through it. A collection of bridled emotion distributed in moderation that snowballed into the size of a planet, was packaged, and then shipped out, and has been talked about ever since. So ample time spent with Flesh squashed the question of "By what distance does it surpass their previous amalgamonster?", because in my opinion it doesn't. Now I'm left trying to figure out how close it comes.
The pattern that follows would be the easiest pictograph you'd ever have to deal with. First album: Terra Incognita = open hand; voyeurstic. Second album: The Link = closed fist; dehydrated. Third: From Mars To Sirius = an open hand; a conduit. So in keeping with tradition, Flesh is the new closed fist. Even the cover art was a dead give-away. These twelve songs feel like a bone-by-bone tour of the Gojira skeleton, sans the veins that bind them. If you call it a machine, I'll call these compositions the cogs in its wheel. The production embraces it. The songwriting fully endorses it. It's the sound of tying off the charismatic loose-ends of 2005. Much like The Link cut the fray in 2003. And it is reminiscent of that one in more than just the surgery, it's also just as percussive. At the heart of this band is a big drum. The strings, the throat, and the sticks, all in unison to the point of it being zen-like and trance-inducing; more times than not, they can raise the dead. In that respect, the "dry" and compressed overall sound on Flesh that push the drums to the forefront, make guillotines of the guitars, and sporadically raises hell through demonizing-distorted vocal effects, achieves that hypnotism, but only when paired with a significant other: the songs, and this happens about half of the time. If some of the synth-driven experimentation isn't bordering on Euro-club tackiness ("A Sight To Behold"), than the others either exhaust themselves ("Yama's Messengers"), or feel all too uncomfortably familiar ("Wolf Down The Earth", "The Silver Cord"). But the remainder will swallow the earth whole. The pinch and chunk riffing; the hairpin turns of "Toxic Garbage Island", the shamanism-by-way-of-Meshuggah in "The Art Of Dying", the dominant-trait collective inside of "Esoteric Surgery", and the iron flagship for this entire affair, the bleak creep and crawl of "Vacuity" (I don't care what anybody says, this track kills, and the vile vocal delivery is an accessory to murder), all make Flesh a nice place to visit, but not to live. Kinda nice to hear the influence of friends made along the way too, as Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe trades banter on the implosive "Adoration For None". I'll even go as far as to say that some of Flesh feels the slight touch of a certain Cavalera. Conspiracy? I don't really think so, but sometimes we become the company that we keep. And you can't deny some of its cro-magnon qualities.
So.... I will buy this. If I can find a poster, I will hang it. When they come around, I will go see them. I'll buy a shirt. If the drummer throws his drumsticks, I will try to catch one. I will most-heartedly support this, because it's a monster in its own right. But as for my mode of travel until the next one drops, I'm gonna ride the whale into 2010 or so.
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