Like Meshuggah and Mastodon, French metal quartet Gojira take heavy music into bold and uncompromising new directions.
Though they have been around since the mid 90s, it was after 2005's From Mars to Sirius, an album featuring staunch and stomping epic Flying Whales, and 2008 follow-up The Way Of All Flesh, that their elaborate yet punishing sound started to take shape.
On L'Enfant Sauvage, with its combination of effortlessly ambitious metal (like Tool, only more jaw-dropping, ear-splitting and extreme) that retains a beautiful, unflinching heaviness, they have nailed it.
The title track has an onslaught of riffs that will slice your head off, but there are moments of primitive majesty and grace as it pulls back to a soaring, seething pace, and then there is an all-important sense of humour that comes through on the wurlitzer metal of interlude The Wild Healer, preceding the album's most carnage-inducing track, Planned Obsolence.
Standout track is Mouth of Kala, which moves all over the place with relentless time-signature changes, distorted primal yowls, and a brooding, hammering barrage to end.
L'Enfant Sauvage is thrilling, visionary, and makes you feel bulletproof. All key ingredients in making it the metal album of the year so far.
Verdict: Frenchie metallers conjure up their masterwork.
Buy a copy of L'Enfant Sauvage here.
- TimeOutBy Scott Kara @scottkara Email Scott