Taking their name from the original Japanese pronunciation of Godzilla, French metal quartet Gojira have risen from utmost obscurity during the first half of their career to widespread global recognition in the second, including regular mention among the genre’s leading new-millennium upstarts. These Frenchmen are giants of the modern heavy metal scene and their brand new album Fortitude is just over a month away from release (30th April).
Gojira teased with some material from that album with the monstrous single “Born For One Thing” on February 17th, 2021. The track is an all out banger with ridiculous drumming, hammering harmonics and some deep, introspective lyrics about detaching ourselves from material things. While “Born For One Thing” was a banger, the latest single from Fortitude, “Amazonia” is a boinger. And that’s not really a jibe at the song, it’s just the description of the incredible main riff of the song. Listening to it is bound to give a spring in the step for anyone.
While all that sounds like a lot of fun, the lyrics of “Amazonia” deal with far more serious stuff, most notably the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and its adverse impact on the indigenous communities living there. All proceeds from the song will be going to The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (AIPB), which supports the indigenous victims of deforestation, land loss, forced labour, violence, and harassment.
Aside from this, Gojira is also launching two fundraising initiatives to raise money for the APIB. There will be an auction on Propeller featuring a set of rare items including Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier’s hand engraved guitar, a hand-engraved bass donated by Metallica’s Rob Trujillo and Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe’s motorcycle helmet. In addition to that, proceeds from the sale of a limited edition art print will also go to AIPB. Frontman Joe Duplantier said: We don’t want to just release a song called Amazonia – we want to do something on top of that. We feel a responsibility as artists to offer a way for people to take action.”
Musically, “Amazonia” witnesses Gojira taking inspiration from Sepultura’s Roots Bloody Roots and including indigenous Brazilian instruments in their sound to a glorious result. As the boing boing guitars play over extremely tight drums and (a first for Gojira) didgeridoo, Joe Duplantier screams “There’s fire in the sky/You’re in the Amazon…the greatest miracle is burning to the ground.” The song’s video features the indigenous people of Brazil and the charred remains of parts of the Amazon rain forest.
Perhaps the biggest strength of Gojira is their unique ability to stand out without playing something really extreme and yet sound so fresh all the time. As a matter of fact, Gojira’s own sound has evolved a lot from their debut album Terra Incognita. Gojira clearly aren’t in the business of making the same record many times over.
A lot of Gojira fans were expecting Fortitude to sound like a mixture of the organic, technical stuff from The Way Of Flesh and the simplistic stuff of Magma. Based on the first two singles, that is exactly what is happening. April 30th can’t come any sooner.
Verdict: Just astonishing.