Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gojira - The Way of all Flesh


Gojira has earned their own special place in heavy metal history as being one of the most influential and important bands in the genre, especially in the extreme metal areas. Not only that, they’re one of the most experimental as well. You would assume that I would just put them under “progressive death”, but I’ve always had them under thrash death because those are the two main genres they fuse and thrash death is what comes to mind whenever I hear them. My first Gojira album was From Mars to Sirius; not an album that impressed me very much until several years later when I was more familiar with that kind of music. It was The Way of all Flesh that really got me hooked on these guys. Proving to be one of the BEST thrash death album I’ve ever heard next to DevilDriver’s Beast (which doesn’t even compare), The Way of all Flesh should be an essential for all metalheads (old and new) worldwide.

Of course since I’m most active on Spirit of Metal, which is a French site, the metal scene in France seems to be greater there than anywhere else (simply because the majority of the members on there are…wait for it…FRENCH!). As well as that, I keep getting temporarily convinced that there are more metalheads in France than anywhere else (the country with the highest population of metalheads is Germany). In reality, the French metal scene is actually quite small, with Gojira being one of the few bands that dominate it.

Here’s a warning for any of you that are new to the experimental/progressive side of things or just metal in general. This music isn’t likely to strike your fancy instantly like other (more traditional) bands might. These guys have an EXTREMELY abstract and unique way of expressing themselves that took me several years to REALLY get into, even though I’ve always liked this album. When I say that these guys aren’t what someone would call “traditional”, I mean that there music isn’t usually really fast and brutal for moshing, and it doesn’t typically have a really fat and heavy beat for the headbangers. Most of the time, it’s somewhere in between. But regardless of whether you like it at first or not, this is an album that should always be in your collection because it will eventually grow on you (like it did for me).

I will say that I have a confession to make: because I am a metalhead of the 21st century, the thing that REALLY sparked my interest in this album was when I heard the seventh song. So the seventh song…why would that appeal to me more than the older guys (usually)? Because Randy Blythe does guest vocals in it! I heard the voice that I only knew from Lamb of God and I started going nuts, I was so excited. And that was the only song from this album that I listened to for a long time; that is, until I started becoming much more knowledgeable and more accustomed to the abstract and progressive metal bands. Now that I’ve grown extremely familiar with this record, I can enjoy it in its entity.

The creativity of the musicians in this band surpasses their technical and instrumental skills by light years. I’m not even kidding, they’re not as amazing of musicians as most people describe; they’re no better at their instruments than Kataklysm. But their creativity and songwriting abilities are like nothing I’ve ever heard before! The music that Gojira puts out is the kind of stuff that makes you think “how the hell does someone come up with something like this??” I don’t have an answer to that question because that’s STILL what I ask myself whenever I listen to trippy songs like A Sight to Behold, The Silver Cord, and The Art of Dying. Thankfully, the album isn’t COMPLETELY composed of songs like that; I would end up getting extremely overwhelmed if it was like that.

Gojira throws much more traditional songs that are easier on the ears (and the brain in some cases) that are extremely refreshing and are bursting with color and creativity. My two favorites would be All the Tears and Vacuity. There’s nothing I can say about All the Tears other than that’s the song that has Randy Blythe on vocals and that it’s really chaotic. I didn’t get my wish until towards the end of the album. I wanted to see what kind of headbanging song Gojira could make, and Vacuity answers that question. Vacuity is literally a one-of-a-kind headbanging track and is probably the most enjoyable song that I’ve ever heard Gojira release to the public.

The production on this album is pristine (which should be expected considering the high status and the importance this band has in the metal genre). If there’s anything that I’ve left out, it’s probably because I can’t put it into words because this record is very hard to comprehend. Being one of the most unique albums in metal history, The Way of all Flesh gets my score of 19/20. This album is ESSENTIAL for EVERYONE to have into their collection; I actually think that this record isn’t any more essential than Reign in Blood and Ride the Lightning. So listen to this and get it if you haven’t already.