As one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2016, there was a lot of pressure on Gojira to deliver goods. As a band that have given us something slightly different on each album, fans were left wondering what they might get, and the answer is something of awe, an album that brutalises your ears in the best possible way and leaves you with an intense appetite for more.
The album opens with the haunting guitar intro of “Shooting Star” a slow brooding track that offers a surprise first up with frontman Joe Duplantier’s eerie clean vocals complementing the slow churning riff of the opener.
After the foreplay of the opening track we are well and truly rogered by the brutality of the next track “Silvera” giving us a taste of what Gojira is all about, heavier than a black hole and a catch hook thrown in for good measure.
Mario Duplantier’s drumming on “The Cell” is amazing and gives us the backbone of the Gojira wall of sound that we all know and love. My particular favourite is “Stranded” which not only has an amazing stop/start choppy riff , the kind that Metallica have made a career out of, but also a stomping chorus to really make you want to beat your chest.
The instrumental “Yellow Stone” with its Cliff Burton vibe leads into the title track “Magma” which again has the haunting clean vocals and main riff beautifully balanced. “Pray” & “Only Pain” are classic examples on more riff brutality before we are given a slow wind up to a big crescendo in “Lowlands” and the album closer “Liberation” which is an acoustic cherry on the top of a very heavy and pleasant cake.
This is probably Gojira’s most “proggy” album and offers something different on each track, pushing their boundaries further each time, boundaries that seemed to be unchallenged on their last album L’Enfant Savage, given the very high standards set on their previous offerings.
This album will win the band a lot of new fans and hopefully will see them jump to the next level, one they clearly deserve to be at based on this showing.
Verdict – 9/10