Joe Duplantier – Guitar, Vocals | Mario Duplantier – Drums | Christian Andreu – Guitar | Jean-Michel Labadie – Bass

Since 1996, this group (then known as Godzilla) – GOJIRA has whittled away at world domination in the death metal realm of music. Now, two decades later they’re on the verge of achieving it through the evolution of themselves and their music. Their current record “MAGMA” is far from where the band started those many moons ago and it is with this record that has shot them into the Gen Pop of Metal. Now, I’m not saying that this was the intent of the band when they started but with a name like Godzilla which morphed into GOJIRA, what more could their intention be? Perhaps subconsciously they set out to bring their methods of metal to the forefront but look, the brothers JOE and MARIO DUPLANTIER that have been hammering out song after song since they were in their teens, there has to be a reason, right? I mean, seriously. This is the path – this is what these guys do and let me tell you, they are damn near close to perfection.

The first time I saw Gojira live was at Psycho Vegas this past summer. Holy monster mash, they were fantastic! They were loud AF and leaving their set after they had all but ear-banged us all, I was hooked. I didn’t know half of what they were saying and I was blinded by the brightest lights I’ve ever seen shoot off a stage, but godamit I loved them!

When I saw they were coming to Dallas in October, I was there, that’s for sure. I think I put in for credentials in like July or something. I watched the days tick by and as the 13 of October rolled up, it was like Easter morning as a kid. I say Easter because of the candy and the little trinkets we’d get when I was a kid. I knew that I was about to get some metal candy at the show and possibly more hearing loss – but I was down for it and couldn’t wait. What I didn’t know until sitting down to write this was how this band influences has really encapsulated what I have been talking about for the last year or so; the connections music strengthens in us all.

Literally, this show was the first I’ve ever worn earplugs to. Ya, call me dumb or whatever – but I’ve never really stood right in front of a speaker and I’ve always been cautious at shows. I know that I can’t say I haven’t damaged my ears with music. I totally have. But I attribute that loss to listening to my Walkman at the 10 volume setting from 13 – 17 and not going to shows. However, I wasn’t going to chance this tonight!

I shoved those spongy weird gum sticks into my ears and prepared myself to have my hair blown back from the pit for the first 3 songs. Lovelies, it was fucking fantastic to be almost at the source of the beauty that is GOJIRA! The brutal double bass that MARIO dished out like it was his own pulse, pummelled the hell out of me and the screaming crowd behind me. As fans stretched out their arms as if to just feel the magnitude of music that washed over them was enough, some reached out further for JOE, CHRISTIAN and JEAN-MICHEL like a lifeboat. The power that reigned down and out was something that I’ve yet to experience live. It was energizing and like a zap of radiant energy plugged us into being alive – like we were toy Frankensteins; all on our own little tables and from the first notes, we were shocked into waking up.

The other aspect of this show that I loved were the lights. I know I’ve talked about the lights at a show a couple of times at shows here recently. But GOJIRA has a look onstage that isn’t one that can be easily duplicated. Now, lights are lights, I get it. But this four piece almost uses them as another instrument or another member on stage. They duck in and out of the bands of color that stream down like peeking around trees or caverns in Middle Earth.

Maybe it is due to their French nationality that bring a je ne sais quoi to their performance. And in using that term, to not adequately be able to describe something, in this case the essence of GOJIRA’s live show, is just that. There is something primal, something that oozes an appeal to people visually and found within their music. And if you watch them on stage, without sound, you may hear something totally different than what they are playing. I dunno – that probably doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. But – it is like watching a painting or a piece of art that just grabs you by the gut and pulls you in for as long as you’ll let it. It’s almost overwhelming just through watching then add on top of that the music and man, you’ve got yourself one helluva show.

To this point, GOJIRA has won over metal fans here in the states over the past few years, I’m sure by their live show. Their current record “MAGMA” is the band’s outreach of their inner selves, a conquest of sorts and while it is a departure from prior records vocally, JOE has said that leaving “death metal” in the rearview and just creating what they felt, was somewhat difficult for him because he wasn’t sure how fans would react. However, in the end what became more important was remaining true to themselves. GOJIRA has found the ultimate reason for art and the creation. It mirrors evolution and it is welcomed and needed.

I love that some want to coin GOJIRA as just another band that has sold out to the mainstream. I love that these are the people that can’t seem to understand the evolution that I spoke about above. I mean, let’s take the labels out of music. Let’s describe music and the shows we see in terms with how these things make us feel or how they make our connections stronger. Let’s take a band’s ability to change our insides, almost and embrace this and be true to what we feel and see through the power of music. THIS is exactly what GOJIRA did for me.

If you didn’t get a chance to see GOJIRA on their headlining tour, scour the www and Facebook for some live video. It won’t be the same, the sound may be shitty, the picture shaky and off focus, but you may get to see that energy that I saw and felt at their Dallas show. You may only get it for a second, but at least you can see it. Then, prepare yourself for their return as a band to American soil – whenever that might be. If you miss their next tour for any reason, then I would say it is you that might want to look inward and see why you’re afraid to step out of the cell that you hold yourself in based solely on the loyalty to a genre. Because, my bet is that a ton of bands and fans have stepped out and are not only diggin’ the shit out of what they’re experiencing as fans, but I’d venture to guess that they’re stronger people for doing so. It’s ok to feel something – no one can take those emotions away from you. So feel them…and if Gojira is the band that can pull this out of you, then they have done the most important of acts and achieved the honor of honors.

All through music…pretty f’ing cool, no?

Til Next Time – MRML

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