Gojira From Mars to Sirius

With the Japanese translation of Godzilla as their moniker, Bayonne, France’s Gojira obliterate the competition with their wide swath of metal influences woven together in electrifying destruction. The opening trio of tracks — "Ocean Planet,” "Backbone,” and "From the Sky” — ply versatile thrash like slower Meshuggah but with well defined Gorefest influences. Catching their breath, the serene "Unicorn” sounds like Diver Down-era Van Halen guitar pickings, and one can hear the whale (on the album cover) in the background like a metal version of ELO’s "The Whale.” The melodic "Where Dragons Dwell” resembles a Morbid Angel ballad, as singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier tempers his semi-clean vocals to match the intonation of Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman. For "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe,” however, he alters his throat to the growling timbre of Strapping Young Lad’s Devin Townsend while retaining those Killing Joke harmonies. "Flying Whales” reprises said cetacean with more muted and subtle tones before kicking the song into overdrive with drummer brother Mario Duplantier’s Cryptopsy-styled blast beats. The eight-minute "In the Wilderness” tests Morbid Angel’s calculated chunky riffage à la Domination, while "World to Come” lies patiently somewhere between King Crimson’s The ConstruKction of Light and Killing Joke’s Democracy. The whispered "From Mars” segues directly into the brutal Gorefest worship of "To Sirius,” and the closer "Global Warming” boasts repetitive Crimson-ish chord progressions, accented with power metal leads. Gojira take huge strides here, and the solid death/thrash of From Mars to Sirius will surely raise them out of French indie label obscurity with one of the year’s most diverse albums. (Listenable)