Release Date: June 17th, 2016
Masterpiece alert! I always wanted to do that. Whenever I see or hear something “Gojira”, I immediately think of two things. A) That HORRIBLE Godzilla movie of 1998 – it was awful, and B) the epic progressive, death, groovy, *insert your genre here* band Gojira. Magma is finally here!
Now, my taste of music never clicked well with French musicians. I apologize. Even though I am a huge fan of Jean Michel Jarre, Daft Punk and have huge respect for names like Piaf, I always fell short of loving the tunes coming from those parts. I do not know why; my dad, my wife, they love some of the country’s stuff. Nope, none of us like Zaz, sorry. That was until I heard this mediocre album called From Mars to Sirius. Joking, it is a masterpiece and I, like half of the metal world, had put Gojira on our radar with that album. Their follow-up releases were equally brilliant, maybe except L’Enfant Sauvage, and they paved a path of their own which, today, is one of the most “inspirational” ones for new bands and old ones alike.
Magma, as Gojira loves to do with their music, is a surprising album. The Shooting Star is the opening track and it is a slow, mellow piece that puts you in some form of trance as if you are in this club (metal bar, weird ambience etc., whatever clicks with you) and tripping over some weird laser show, staring at a nearby wall as everyone around you dances like zombies on ecstasy. The rest of the album is also varied and bears certain surprises. Stranded, for example, is a radio friendly, catchy song with its chorus – bridge sections. It is a beautiful song with its chord progression as well. They also have heavy riffs, pounding drumming and aggression, do not be alarmed.
If you are a Gojira fan from the start, you are already aware of the transition of vocals toward something less brutal and cleaner (as in melodic) in sense. Joe Duplantier singing in his clean voice more and more has truly created something beyond this world in my book. Of course, as it is the case with everything human, some people will hate it. I do not. I love it, actually.
I do not think this album is their best, not after a masterpiece like From Mars to Sirius. However, it does feature some of their best songs to date. Silvera and Stranded are two beautiful examples. Some of their experimentation may pull you away from the core approach of the band but in general, this album is one of the best releases of progressive metal. On the other hand, if you are a fan of Tool and never had any chance to meet with Gojira, Magma could very well be your invitation.
Let me sum it up; so, is this album a masterpiece? Nope, not from where I stand. It is a beautiful progressive metal album, if not the best of Gojira from a “Gojira” perspective. I am not a fan of Tool (yeah, sorry) and that may very well be another +1 for you if you are one and then, it may also become a masterpiece to your ears.
Joe Duplantier − lead vocals, guitar
Mario Duplantier − drums
Christian Andreu − guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie − bass