Music Review: Gojira – The Way of All Flesh (2008)

Musical genres are in place to easily identify what form of music a specific group makes and so that listeners don’t stray too far from what they are searching for. It’s often considered a bad move to incorporate too many genres in a single band, and more specifically, on a single album but today we have a look at an album where several songs are in a different genre and it works perfectly.

So let’s get a few things covered to start with. Gojira is a Technical Death Metal band as they mainly focus in technically complex rhythm and tempo, but each song on this album, more or less, is in a different genre.

The 1st song on this album, ‘Ouroborus’ is a Technical Death Metal song, and really pushes emphasis on Technical. Its got a very funky tune, an extremely weird sound to it, which at times feels like it’s adventuring a bit further away from Technical Death Metal and close to a semi-electronic genre. The song does repeat its pattern quite a lot but to spice things up sometimes they completely change tune occasionally going to more of a semi-symphonic sounding style. The song slows down quite a lot towards the end and when the music stops we are left with a very calm, and soothing, almost gospel sounding tune lulling us into a sense of calm.

Taking a complete curveball from the calm outro we get thrown straight into (probably) the most aggressive song on this album, and certainly my favourite. ‘Toxic Garbage Island’ is a very in your face and no messing about song that gets straight into the meat of it. Whilst not being overly technical for most of the song, it is still, in my opinion, fresh enough throughout to be both intriguing and gripping. Towards the middle of the song the tune starts to take more of a simple and tuned down style, eventually leading us into a few seconds of quiet instruments before going right back to the tune from the start, and finally leaving us with a very powerful and intense chanting of ‘Plastic Bag in the sea.’ Which, while a bit odd, does sound extremely cool.

‘A sight to behold,’ the 3rd track, is a very weird one to explain really. It’s very electronic and sounds almost like a song you’d expect to hear in ‘Doom’ (it sounds exactly like the music for the first level in the original Doom, which fun fact, is actually inspired by Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’) and certainly isn’t a song you’d expect to be on a Death Metal record. The vocals are even weirder, sounding like straight up auto tune for the most part. Once again, this is an aspect that you wouldn’t think to be on a Death Metal record. The tune is extremely catchy and I often find myself humming the tune in the shower or when I’m cleaning the kitchen. The vocals do eventually leave auto tune for the mostly, and while they aren’t fully gone, it does sound better when the auto tune isn’t present. Toward the end we hear the catchy tune once again in a heavier fashion this time around. The song closes out very suddenly, which is a real shame as I think a slow and gradual outro would have suited this song very well.

The 4th song, ‘Yama’s messengers,’ is the first somewhat weak/boring track on the album. What we have here is an uninspired tune that repeats far too often for my liking, and a significantly slower, more tuned down style compared to the album thus far. While to an extent, it does sound good, it feels too lazily done to hold my interest for any amount of time and I find myself skipping this almost every time I listen to this album.

Track 5, ‘The Silver Cord,’ is a very short, calm and soothing instrumental which gives us a small break before we are plummeted into the next song. If I had to describe this short interlude in one word I’d have to say; Beautiful.

‘All the tears’ is the start to a sequence of amazing songs and is also the halfway point for this album. Right from the beginning we can feel the intensity and rage in the vocals, which manages to channel emotion the best on this album. A little over halfway through, the beat reminds me greatly of ‘Toxic Garbage Island’ before returning back to the signature tune for this song. While this song is good, it falls victim to the rinse and repeat curse, which unfortunately means that often there is little to say about a song after a short sentence of review has been uttered. The problem being with the rinse and repeat business is that this works well some of the time but most certainly NOT all the time as a few of the songs do tend to take that a bit far on this record.

‘Adoration for None’ is a song I can’t help but love because it features vocals from one of my favourite singers; Randy Blythe from Lamb of God. Opening up with Randy’s iconic low growls of sheer concentrated aggression that makes any situation feel intense, followed up by Joe’s deepest vocal’s on this album, a duet of anger that works perfectly together to create something very impressive. The song changes almost everything about itself constantly and doesn’t really stay overly consistent the whole way through, which works greatly in its favour. This song really makes me want more collaborations between Gojira and Lamb of God, I feel like the combination of the musical talents of both bands could create something amazing together.  

The 8th song, ‘The Art of Dying,’ starts out with a very simple instrumental intro that transitions to an extremely heavy version of the original intro. I don’t really have a lot to say about this song as it is 10 minutes long and while it is good I rarely have the patience to sit through the entire thing, so while it is worth a listen, I can’t really give a lot of input for it. 

‘Esoteric Surgery,’ the 9th song, starts out with a very cool sounding, “You have the power to heal yourself.” and overall is a great song for inpatient people such as myself. It’s very fast and it’s just the right length to not feel overly long. It manages to get the point across very well with the amount of time it has to use. It’s got outstanding vocals and incredible instrumental portions. It feels uplifting and inspirational at times. The chorus is a little unpredictable but to that end most of Gojira’s chorus’ are a little bit like that. I consider this to be in a series of sorts because that weird quiet sound that is at the end of the previous is also present at the end of this one, concluding the series with the next track.

‘Vacuity’ is a little on the slow and repetitive side, getting extremely boring to listen to very quickly. If there is any one song on this album that can be skipped altogether I would gladly say it’s this one. While it is decent, it adds very little to this album as a whole and it feels almost like filler material to tide you over for the next 2 songs.

‘Wolf Down The Earth’ has a few confusing aspects to it other than the name. For instance, why did this song need to be six minutes long? Why was the chorus so awkwardly sung? And why, oh why, did a tune so boring need to be repeated for the entire song? I will say, even if you don’t have Aspergers like I do, that you’ll probably see where I’m coming from with this song sounding a little uninspired and needlessly drawn out. If six minutes seems too long for this song, there is a little shock for the next and final track.

Well here we are, the anonymously named ‘The Way of All Flesh’ now there is one thing that stands out almost straight away. This song is 17 minutes long, and I know it’s going to sound like I’m repeating myself here, but…….. This did NOT need to be that long. I will say though, other than the ridiculous length of the song, its unarguably one of the best songs on this album. Now a quick note is that technically this song only goes for 6:50. Anything after that can be totally ignored. This is a pretty good note to leave the album on, it feels very dramatic and fitting for the final song.

Overall I’d give this album a 7/10

It is a very good album with a few blunders but that should’t subtract from the overall enjoy-ability of this album

Take a listen ↓

Thoughts? Discuss down below!

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