• ''Frustrating'' - A review of Gojira's ''Magma''

    Gojira - Magma (2016)

    ''Magma'' is a dull and plodding post-metal output with a constantly depressive atmosphere. Chugging groove metal riffs in the key of Pantera meet tiring riffs with a melancholic undertone in the style of Sólstafir and a few discordant guitar sounds that recall a light version of Voivod during the E-Force years. The humming and droning bass guitar and the tired drum play manage to remain unspectacular throughout the entire album. The vocals are diversified yet somewhat directionless since they are lacking an own identity. They are either psychedelic and effect-ridden, slightly clean and melodic but unimpressive or more aggressive as in previous releases.

    Let's dig a little bit deeper into the negative elements of what might be Gojira's worst output to date. Things start badly with the opener ''The Shooting Star''. Usually, an opener should either kick things off with a bang or foreshadow the things to come. This one does neither and is simply an overlong and repetitive post-metal tune without any song writing qualities. The length of some tracks is actually a reoccurring issue on this release. As soon as the band finally develops a gripping atmosphere or comes around with a tight riff, the idea gets repeated for minutes and loses all of its initial appeal. That's why the title track ''Magma'' is only average at best while the unsatisfying ''Low Lands'' is even harder to digest.

    The band gets worst though when its songs are purely instrumental. There is no reason in the world for a song like ''Yellow Stone'' to even exist. On a rather short record with ten tracks, there is simply no place for a numbing sound check that makes the listeners waste seventy-nine seconds of their lives. This song doesn't follow or build up anything and is obviously an attempt at being an uninspired filler but it's actually so bad that it gets more negative attention than it was supposed to get. The worst joke on this album is the album closer ''Liberation''. Random and simplistic acoustic guitar sounds that remind me of a clumsy teenager that grabs a guitar for the first time in his life and tries to play some random sounds meet boring tribal percussion elements that manage to be ether repetitive or out of rhythm for three and a half painful minutes. There is no chemistry or harmony whatsoever between the two instruments and it only makes the record longer after the previous tune was already excessive. This might sound severe but these two instrumentals shouldn't even exist and it's almost offensive to include them on an album that is not named ''Demos, Jams & Outtakes'' with a warning sticker ''Only for fanboys/fangirls who would buy anything from this band''.

    It's really tough to find anything really positive about this output aside from its coherent oppressive atmosphere. Maybe the shorter songs with vocals aren't so bad at times. ''Silvera'' has a decent main riff and some solid hypnotizing guitar and vocal melodies that recall System Of A Down. ''Stranded'' also has a certain appeal thanks to its mix of groove metal riffs and progressive guitar sounds that meet angry yet liberating vocals leading to a quite catchy chorus that could also come from KoRn. This song reminds me of a slightly more psychedelic version of nu-metal that was popular fifteen years ago. I guess most people will hate this tune but since I somehow grew up with this kind of music I may have a sympathetic feeling of nostalgia for it.

    The few catchier tunes that were chosen as singles are acceptable but can't save an otherwise plodding record. I know that this frustrating output was created under difficult circumstances but the band should have just stopped recording this album, taken a break and come back with a more poignant and liberating song writing that wouldn't be influenced by those depressing events. What counts in the end is the final product and not how or why it was made and my verdict is that this sub-par record is so underwhelming that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The name Gojira usually stands for something monstrous but this here is just disappointing, elegiac and vapid.

    Final verdict: 42%

    « ''Join the revolution!'' - A review of Unbeing's ''Ceres''''You always sing the same'' - A review of Jorn's ''Heavy Rock Radio'' »
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