France has to be cheating. There’s no way one country can produce such high quality Metal on a regular basis and it be legitimate. When GOJIRA are the result, though, I can’t help but abandon my ponderings, because “From Mars To Sirius” slapped them out of my head. Brandishing pummeling instrumentation and a gigantic sound overall gets the job done here, thankfully without serving as the all-too-familiar crutch.
GOJIRA possess distinct modern elements and can be compared to a host of peers. I hear FEAR FACTORY during the latter half of “Ocean Planet” and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD in “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe.” MASTODON are included, too, as well as a production reminiscent of MESHUGGAH. The approach is uncannily similar to that of their predecessors, therefore “From Mars To Sirius” showcases a band neck-deep in aggression and MESHUGGAH-esque mind-fuckery. Out of twelve songs, most contain sections that are verifiable earthquakes. Unlike earthquakes, however, the onslaughts are predictable but no amount of preparation will ready you for the upheaval. Besides the gentler “Unicorn” and “From Mars,” every other opus fully encapsulates what GOJIRA are about and what kind of damage they are capable of inflicting. Still, “From Mars To Sirius” is not without its blemishes, no matter how miniscule. When the growls dissipate on “Global Warming” it’s easier to understand the lyrics and they unfortunately come across as hokey. Also, the song titles themselves can be deceiving as “Unicorn,” “Where Dragons Dwell,” and “In The Wilderness” are more in league with Power/Progressive Metal rather than a style like this. I was pleased with the length, but I can envision some drifting after forty or fifty minutes of such perplexing intricacy.
Whatever the case, “From Mars To Sirius” is exemplary in a number of ways. In addition to the instrumental wizardry, the group’s songwriting skills are conspicuous. Adorers of any of the bands I mentioned in this review are encouraged to take a stab at this, because GOJIRA are simply too powerful and competent to ignore. Though much of the record’s appeal leaves me futilely searching for descriptive words and phrases, rest assured that the impact and subsequent devastation are both unavoidable and irreparable. You might see it coming, but it’ll still knock you on your ass. It’s one of the better things I’ve heard this year and while we’re on the subject of Listenable Records (well, sort of), check out VILE’s “The New Age Of Chaos.” Just buy them at the same time. Thank me later. (Online January 28, 2006)