Ah, Gojira. Eleven years, four albums and seven gigs since discovering them through From Mars to Sirius in 2006, here we (well, they) are, headlining the Kentish Forum. I wasn’t as big a fan of their last two albums – they were good, but having placed Gojira on such a pedestal, keeping up with my expectations was always going to become impossible/not their concern. I felt that to say a Gojira album was ‘good’ was a backhanded compliment; if each album wasn’t ploughing a new furrow for ecologically–minded progressive death metal it was falling short of my expectations. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this gig, especially given their confusingly short and poorly EQed support slot for Alter Bridge last November (30 minutes ÷ long songs = not long enough).
Opening act [Car_Bomb] were tight as a limpet, playing riffs as tricky as a weasel, and impressive in their own right, but I’m not sure if song A is all that different from song Z. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of Code Orange’s mix of metallic hardcore with other styles, but I quickly came to enjoy the frequent curve balls that peppered their set.
But Gojira was what I had been waiting for. I am pleased to report that as soon as drummer Mario Duplantier walked out and started playing the drum intro to Only Pain a little bit of personal hysteria and a lot of roaring ensued, and from there on in Gojira crushed all and sundry like, well, the heaviest matter of the universe.
Contrary to my expectations of a Magma–heavy set, they mixed it up between Magma, The Way of All Flesh and From Mars to Sirius, alongside Love, the breakdown from Remembrance and the outro of Terra Incognita. I was expecting their newer material with more clean singing to be less exciting and to get less of a reaction from myself and the crowd. Wrong, sucka! My favourite song of their two hour set was all of them. It should also be noted that there are not many bands who can have a backdrop of a starry night gently spinning away in the background whilst barrelling through a double bass drum beat and inciting a big ol’ moshpit.
I have been to see bands I like a lot and have sometimes come away thinking that was OK, or how the songs began to blur into one, or what I had for dinner, and it’s always a grubby feeling. At one point between songs frontman Joe Duplantier implored us to be in the moment. In witness to the heaviest matter of the universe, that was easy.