When the band announced that they had relocated to New York with the construction of Silver Cord studios, what followed were pictures of drummer Mario hammering away (as he normally does) as the band tried out new sounds for their upcoming sixth record. I was very much excited about the news although I felt like it had been an age – though, in reality, only 2012 – since I last had any new Gojira material.
Around the time that L’Enfant Sauvage (in English: The Wild Child) came out, I bought all their past albums from iTunes so between L’Enfant Sauvage and Magma, I had a wealth of Gojira material to listen to, even buying The Way of All Flesh both digitally and physically, as well as their live release The Flesh Alive, which was bought for me as a Christmas present. I sadly missed out on their L’Enfant Sauvages release, but alas it’s not exactly crucial.
Although it has felt like ages, as discussed above, since I’ve had any new Gojira material, the two new singles – “Stranded” (seen above) and “Silvera” – felt really solid as I listened to them repeatedly about a thousand times; of course the full album would give me the entire picture, but for a certain time these two singles filled the hole that I had desperately wanted to fill since 2012. (I was desperate, OK?)
With music, I always look for bands to experiment with their music and their sound, but stay in the same sort of area so that their music is recognisable. With Gojira, and much like Opeth in the same way (and probably most bands), it feels as if they had boxed themselves in a little and really, in all honesty, needed to experiment with their sound.
As always with music it takes me a little time to digest the album. I cannot listen to the album – or any album, for that matter – and just make up my mind. I really have to studiously listen to the album, almost as if was reading a book and, only getting about 100 pages or so, then I decide I want to carry on. Music, is as many ways, sometimes bend those rules: in the rare exception I will love an album instantly from the get-go. Gojira‘s Magma is that exception.
Although this album follows the same pattern as The Way of All Flesh and L’Enfant Sauvage did, with “Yellow Stone” being the short instrumental that separates “Stranded” and the title-track, there is honestly nothing I can find in this album that I can’t criticise. It’s almost like I’m trying to be really picky trying to find something I can be negative about, but alas no, there’s nothing I can find fault in.
This an extremely well-written and performed album, with a very personal subject matter at its heart. I can understand the criticism this album has been getting at taking a left turn of sorts, but L’Enfant Sauvage was always going to be a difficult record to follow-up on. And for that I rate this record very highly indeed.