Gojira - March 14, 2009 - Whelan's Dublin, IR
By: Ken McGrath
The unique chance to see Gojira in such a small venue clearly hasn’t been lost on the Dublin metal community, as Whelan’s is completely sold-out, something it hasn’t been for a metal show in quite some time. No surprise really when you consider the calibre of the band that is playing. French eco-death-metallers Gojira are renowned for being savage live. In a way it’s kind of easy to forget just how heavy this group actually is. In interviews they always come across as nice, well-spoken guys - they don’t pose trying to look tough in photos, even the production on last album The Way Of All Flesh was slightly less than crushing – but live that’s exactly what they are.
Coming out to a packed out room chanting “Go-Ji-Ra, Go-Ji-Ra” they look delighted, but not as much as the crowd who begin to heave in unison once the first barrage of riffs and double-kick drum is laid out for them, a continuous stream of crowd surfers being cast upwards. Neck-snapping death metal guitar lines are bolstered by smashing drums as Gojira launch themselves into their set with abandon. “Backbone” is a brutish affair, slicing cleanly through the air the almost grinding section laid out perfectly, strobe lights exploding red and blue throughout, while the excellently titled “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe” lives up to its name majestically. Even the more groove-laden likes of “Flying Whales’” come across as a solid barrage, one that picks up the audience in its sway as the band members careen about the stage.
Gojira are on fire and tight, almost unbelievably so, none of the proggish subtitles lost in translation from the stage as guitars move seamlessly between earth crushing, stomping riffs to more spaced out moments, every weird time signature and skipped beat nailed perfectly. The crowd laps it up, fists pumping the air, heads banging in unison. With a set that touches on every element of their past, Gojira show just what a talented band they are, the use of effects on Joseph Duplantier’s voice a well added touch, especially during a phenomenal “A Sight To Behold.” The massive sounding powerful footfalls of ‘Vacuity’ are an absolute highlight before “The Way Of All Flesh” is unleashed to a crowd that could stand watching all night in death metal heaven.
At the end singer/guitarist Joseph Duplantier states that this has been the best reaction they’ve received so far on their current tour and it’s easy to believe him. The room didn’t sit still for a moment during a show that’ll not be forgotten anytime soon. This early in, it’s already a contender for gig of the year. Sheer brilliance.