Exclaim!'s Top 10 Metal & Hardcore Albums Best of 2016



 
4. Gojira
Magma
(Roadrunner)
 
Gojira seem hell-bent on proving that their success to this point has been no mistake, or maybe they're just staying the course and letting sonic waves splash about them as they may — either way, they are making it sound easy. The band's sixth release, Magma, offers a brilliantly intense soundscape: spacy, groovy, gut-wrenching and earnest.
 
Joe Duplantier's vocals shift from desolate ferocity to a soaring elation, conducting the emotional storm from above the intensity swirling beneath — and swirl it does, the instrumental foundation pulsating with enormity: relentlessly chugging, brain-breaking sweeps and bends invoke pity for the strangled guitars. The vocals and instruments play off one another nicely, providing nimble shifts in tempo and mood. At times, it seems like they are planets dancing with one another, at other times colliding.
 
Well-grounded and unapologetically intense, whispers of Voivod, Pink Floyd and Tool seep into the mix here, as they usually do. Magma is a stalwart an entry as anything in the Gojira catalogue — with maybe a couple extra ccs of LSD — and provides one of the most intense and deepest metal albums of the year.
Chris Bubinas