They’ve gone and done it again.
If you have to wait six years for a new album from any artist, then Gojira is probably the band you’re willing to wait patiently for. The Ondres technical-death-metal four-piece never seem to rush into releasing a new album, which is absolutely fine because when they do they are beautifully unique, almost elegant and effortlessly powerful.
Gojira have always been activists, from their support of Sea Shepherd, various environmental causes, homelessness and poverty and this latest album carries on that tradition. The band have an auction and raffle benefit for Brazil’s Indigenous People to help support the cultural rights of struggling locals as well as their own inhabited environment. The second song on Fortitude Gojira’s seventh album is called ‘Amazonia’ which opens with an incredibly bouncy twang [created by a jaw harp, I believe] using Amazonian indigenous folk instruments to give the activistic song some powerful authenticity.
The album’s third song, ‘Another World’, brings that wonderful refreshing sound that is Gojira, with that wonderful up and downscaling of the guitar. It’s the type of song that exists across their back catalogue which is not a negative statement, it provides a place of the familiar and reassurance. The same can be said of ‘New Found’ with that unique guitar manipulated “wah” sound that the band are also instrumentally known for before heading to a heavy, darker pool of treacle in the songs’ remaining minutes.
‘Hold On’ takes just over a fifth of the song to come to life, with a long build-up of rhythmic beats and ‘aaaaaaaahhhhh’ of vocal harmonics before the chugging rhythm guitar ramps up with another ringing out in the background. The song is predominantly about mental health, a plea to not giving in to destructive feelings.
The albums’ midpoint from which the album derives it’s name, ‘Fortitude’ acts as a palate cleanser with further a simplistic, gentle vocal harmonics supported by a tambourine, acoustic guitar some small bongos. This short song then seamlessly bleeds into ‘The Chant’ where we find ourselves in a more intense, immersive world, everything gets just that little bit louder, heavier and balance is restored in the form of a more traditional song.
The penultimate song, ’The Trials’, has a beautifully considered pace to it, something I could visualise listening to whilst driving through a wooded area as the sun began to set. There’s something quite etherial about its texture, its quality.
I don’t think there’s a weak song on the entire album. If there were to be one, personally, it would be ‘New Found’ which is just a little too repetitive for my liking but I’d still listen to it. This is a very thoroughly thought out and superbly well-executed album from start to finish with real heart, energy and passion.
If it took six years to be presented with this truly wonderful piece of art, then in my books that was a wait worth its while.
Fortitude is available now.