With every single step, Gojira continue to outdo themselves. After releasing one of the best albums of 2016 in Magma, the French titans returned to the UK to give fans a taste of the aforementioned record, with the support of Car Bomb and Code Orange. Upon entry into the O2 Academy in Leeds, it was clear this was going to be a heavy night.
New York quartet Car Bomb stepped up first, warming up the crowd with their own, ultra complex sound. The math metal group blasted through as set laden with strobe lights and polyrhythms, delivering a blistering opener of Meshuggah-esque riffs. For anyone expecting a solid 40 minutes of head banging, Car Bomb were likely a shock to he senses, because frankly just keeping up with the complex song structure provided a challenge in itself.
With a set comprised mainly of tracks from the group’s latest release, Meta, the crowd grew at an impressive rate building towards Secrets Within, an impressive send-off that would fit directly into obZen. For those catching their first glimpse of Car Bomb, it’s a skull rattling experience that’s sure to stick with them for some time. With Meta produced by and featuring vocals from Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier, all that was missing was an early appearance from the man himself.
You can check out our interview with Car Bomb on the site, too.
Code Orange were up next, with a set that can only really be described as pure unadulterated aggression. Fans awaiting the lightly more mellow, progressive vibes of Gojira’s Magma may have been in for a shock as the hardcore group smashed through a tracks from their latest album, Forever, delivering short, ruthlessly heavy tracks, and a passionate, if sometimes a little over the top, stage presence. The combination of effects and noise with heavily distorted trio of guitars and variety of vocal styles made for a distinctive sound, and an impressive new take on the hardcore genre.
Despite the clear contrast in styles between Code Orange and the headliner, there was still some clear influence on show. Tracks such as the opener, Forever made use of the Gojira style pick scrape featured in tracks such as Explosia and Flying Whales, and the use of various noise effects added a progressive element rarely seen within the hardcore genre. While perhaps the odd one out on such a tech heavy tour, Code Orange didn’t fail to deliver and open themselves up to a growing new fan base.
To say the crowd was hot for Gojira would be a huge understatement. Only Pain kicked off the set in style, greeted by a rapturous ovation both before and after the song, while The Heaviest Matter of the Universe lived up to its title, sending the crowds central ‘danger zone’ into an absolute frenzy. Popular new tracks Silvera and Stranded followed, but it was during the always outstanding Flying Whales that Gojira truly began to peek. Whale noises and full intro included, the crowd split down the middle and one of the best progressive riffs around kicked into gear, flattening the poor fools who dared to wander into the divide.
The Remembrance outro to the performance of Backbone once again went to prove just how tight the musicianship within Gojira is. Note perfect, through some of the must mind boggling picking patterns you’re likely to hear, the members have a synergy unmatched throughout most of the music industry, and go to show that you don’t require sweeping solos and triggered drums to show true technical ability. Perhaps the only downside to the show was the under representation of the fantastic L’Enfant Sauvage album, with only the title track featuring in the setlist, still making its mark in the short time given.
The almost Pink Floyd-esque The Shooting Star gave the crowd a chance to rest up before a frantic rendition of Toxic Garbage Island, and an extended version of Pray served as an excellent ‘finale’. That was of course, before the Grammy nominees returned to the stage for two more favourites in Oroborus, and the skull crushing finale of Vacuity, to wrap up the kind of spectacular performance that is to be expected by now. It may seem like a broken record to reinforce the fact by now, that Gojira may be the most important band in metal today, but there is no denying that every release, and every performance from this band raises the bar to a whole new level.
A flawless performance from one of the most talented bands around