Release DetailsLABEL Boycott Records
RELEASED ON 10/3/2003
posted on 3/2004 By:
I’d like to give credit to France’s Gojira for providing me with opportunity to write one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write. With The Link, they have provided some of the most captivating and eclectic yet frustrating and confusing metal I’ve heard in years. Both brilliant and annoying, Gojira refuses to be pigeonholed into any single metal genre. I guess a good place to start to at least allow you the reader some form of starting point would be Meshuggah; unpredictable, complex thrash chuggery with slight jazz fusion. Throw in some death metal lurches and growling, tribal interludes, bizarre sampling and a complete spectrum of shifting atmospheres and ambience; you come close to Gojira’s indefinable sound. Dead Horse was the only direct comparison that kept creeping into the back of my foggy mind. Oh and did I mention all the aforementioned characteristics are delivered with an 800 lb rhythm section and the guitars are rendered with Scarve-like mechanical precision?
Few albums are an exhaustive listen, and even fewer require the song by song breakdown that follows, but The Link requires your utmost attention to comprehend its subliminal heaviness but it’s often detracting experimentation and continually shifting pace. If you can absorb its quirky structures, you’ll be rewarded with some immense weight. The opening title track is a poor start with a lackluster droning pace and ineffectual chorus, but it’s an early display of Gorija’s adventurous style and abusive production. The stumbling lurch of “Death of Me”, has a hefty, chaotic march, solidifying the Meshuggah comparison, and is the first cut that reveals some brilliance pulsing behind the eccentrically extreme exterior. “Connected” is an early foray into tribal filler that’s one of the album's detracting moments, breaking up the excellent mood started on the prior track. “Remembrance” starts with more predictable ground with a tighter, mechanical blasting style akin to country mates Scarve or No Return, but soon morphs into a choppy, convoluted, didgeridoo laced mess. “Torri” is more instrumental, but peaceful filler, but it gives way to the utterly massive “Indians”, with its vast resonant opening riff. However, the song’s mammoth like pace is broken up by more traditional thrash breaks that while perfectly competent, break up the dirge like mood of the song. I can’t decide if it’s brilliant song writing or haphazard musical histrionics. “Embrace the World” kind of sums up Gojira’s schizophrenic nature; pummeling percussion layered over stop start riffs, disjointed vocals and even some chanting. Again-superior talent or random elements thrown together? Each listener will no doubt feel differently from listen to listen. It seems each play of the album opens up another snippet of brilliance or another seemingly needless time change or interlude. Just when you think Gojira have settled into some kind of groove or pace, they shatter it as seen in the startling shift from dream like doom to frenzied math metal that occurs during the superb “Inward Movement”, and that’s not even going near its abrasive yet epic shift at 4:20, that will have some cringing. Again though, in a consistently inconsistent fashion, it’s followed up with the head scratchingly bad “Over the Flows” with its sudden lack of heaviness and sudden change of vocal delivery. So you want brutal? Just absorb the head-crushing two minute blaster ‘Wisdom Comes”.
As the album closes, I’m in awe at some of the material Gojira delivers, especially when it comes with such a powerful production, but as the eight minute instrumental “Dawn” fades with discordant, directionless length and naturalistic samples, you can’t help wonder if a band can be too adventurous for their own good? I understand the need to break free from categorization and be unique, but in Gorija’s case, it makes an otherwise magnificent album somewhat disjointed and reflect attention away from some major talent. Hence the non generous song writing score.
Still, Gojira hold promise to be France’s most promising export, and along with 7th Nemesis, Comity and Kabbal, will raise the level of respect for French extremity that goes beyond the overrated Scarve and No Return.
For the bold metal head only.
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