The best success, it seems, comes in dribs and drabs rather than a sudden explosion and a Top 20 smash. French metal stunners Gojira have been a hot tip for around a decade now, doggedly climbing up end-of-year album lists, festival lineups and the metal community’s estimations, last seen on these shores opening for alt-rock blandees Alter Bridge on an arena trek.

Trading in finely crafted arsehole-tight riffage, bellowy-but-intelligible vocals and laser-guided drumming that ruptures the nervous system, the band are sonically formidable and utterly delicious on record alone. With this in mind, it is a recurring pleasure to remember that they’ve even better live.

It is testament to Gojira’s technical wizardy, and there craft for curating lineups built on ‘the future of heavy metal’, that the 3000-capacity venue is already packed from front-to-back when the very first band graces the stage.

If there name is in any shape or form any indicator of what they are like live, than openers Car Bomb are unapologetically angsty, exploding dangerously via way of their mathcore musings meticulously moving thoroughly through the room mellowing out towards the back, with one band and one band only in mind.

Head warm-up act Code Orange are everywhere right now, their critically-acclaimed major-label debut – and third album overall – Forever has launched them to the front of the list of who-to-watch-in-2017, and a sold-out capacity crowd embrace them head-on, with pits very much alive and well, as they create as much noise and as much chaos as they can between them. Tonight, Code Orange prove why they deserve the accolades they’re receiving, yet deep down know that they are merely playing a back-bench role tonight for a band who have been on a similar journey of earning their stripes.

With a firm elbow to the ribs of other acts boasting a stage show that can be deemed genuinely unmissable, Gojira spend an evening sonically vibrating the Academy’s foundations approximately six miles to the left, out in force promoting new disc Magma.

Whilst perfectly palatable and intriguingly personal, Magma sees an ongoing gradual flirtation with Tool-esque art-metal, with tasty results: The Shooting Star is but one example giving frontman Joe Duplantier’s clean vocals a workout. Instead of a hard Brexit from their death metal stock-in-trade, however, Magma is still counterbalanced with brutally powerful tracks, most of which are road-tested tonight: Only Pain opens the proceedings, before giving way to the seismic tumbling riffs of The Heaviest Matter of the Universe.

The discerning critic’s dullard observations find frontman Joe Duplantier’s vocals appearing slightly sore, with a few higher notes deftly dodged or compensated for. But it’s hard to really care when the mighty Flying Whales (full intro restored, strangely, but building mass anticipation nevertheless) is unleashed and the deathless, brutal simplistic riffing of Backbone conducts multiple neck-strength tests.

The rest of the evening finds an inspired combination of past pleasures squaring off against more new tracks, slotting together to form a wonderful prog-death-metal collection infused with Gojira’s established aural identity and hallmarks, such is the litmus test for any band seeking to stand up for themselves and claw their way into metal’s upper echelons.

Wading further through a gradually swelling back catalogue, the title track from 2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage rears its head, with the evening finishing on a final knockout blow courtesy of Oroborus‘ labyrinth tapping and the merciless power-stomp of Vacuity, from 2008’s near-perfect The Way of All Flesh.

It has been a slow and steady ascent since 2005’s arguable breakthrough From Mars to Sirius, and Gojira have only continued to raise expectations and drop jaws since. Immortality cannot be far off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.