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Gojira - Fortitude

Fortitude

· Udkom

Type:Album
Genrer:Technical Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
Spilletid:51:58
Antal numre:11

Officiel vurdering: 7/10

Brugervurdering: 9/10 baseret på 2 stemmer.

Gojira leverer stadig varen, men denne gang uden at imponere

Så kom det endelig

Det er næsten fem år siden, de franske tech death-mestre gav os det fabelagtige album Magma, og ni år siden det mindst lige så fantastiske album L’Enfant Sauvage. Begge plader blev herfra belønnet med den absolutte topkarakter, og nu er opfølgeren omsider landet. Pladen hedder Fortitude, og forventningerne har selvsagt været store, da det jo er selveste Gojira, vi snakker om; det klimabevidste band, der evigt og altid formår at overraske og imponere, uanset hvad de foretager sig.

Det blev til intet mindre end fem singler fra albummet op til dets udgivelse, og de lovede godt og vidnede om endnu en mulig magtdemonstration. Men kan bandet blive ved med at imponere? Findes der en naturlig grænse for, hvornår resultaterne af de fire franskmænds arbejde begynder at stagnere? Og hvis det er tilfældet, kan man så tillade sig at være skuffet?

Det var lige godt pokkers!

Jeg skal ikke lægge skjul på, at det er sådan, jeg har tænkt, hver gang jeg er stødt på nyt fra Gojira. Deres liveoptrædener er altid i særklasse, og album efter album har de altid formået at toppe det forrige. Ved udgivelsen af mesterværket L’Enfant Sauvage forsimplede de deres tilgang til den komplicerede tech death og satte tempoet lidt ned, hvilket var skuffende for mange af bandets trofaste fans. Og igen med sublime Magma blev der justeret på tilgængeligheden og ikke mindst det tematiske, så musikken i endnu højere grad appellerede til masserne. Det var på sin vis et overraskende træk fra et band med god vind i sejlene, men det virkede efter hensigten. Begge plader har vundet indpas over tid, er intet mindre end fantastiske og kommer uden tvivl til at gå over i historien.

Derfor skal det ikke være nogen hemmelighed, at gruppens nyeste langspiller umiddelbart er lidt skuffende. Selvfølgelig kan man ikke forvente, at gruppen opfinder det varme vand hver eneste gang, de udgiver nyt, men denne gang er der desværre betydelige antydninger af stilstand i franskmændenes musikalske evolution. Pladen lægger ellers utrolig stærkt ud med tre af de fem singler: det hårdtslående “Born For One Thing”, den Sepultura-inspirerede regnskovshymne “Amazonia” og ikke mindst det Gojira-karakteristiske og velkomponerede “Another World”. Efterfølgende falder kadencen dog en del, hvor numre som “Hold On”, “Sphinx” og især “The Trails” er forudsigelig Gojira på autopilot, hvor samtlige virkemidler lugter af genbrug fra Magma. Vi får også det mere afdæmpede nummer, singlen “The Chant”, der med sit evigt gentagende “lad os allesammen holde hinanden i hænderne rundt om bålet”-tema hurtigt bliver lettere irriterende lytning, der ikke bliver bedre af, at Gojira her lyder mere som Mastodon end som dem selv. Hvor blev alt det rigtig fede af? Nu startede vi lige så godt. Heldigvis afsluttes der dog utroligt stærkt med “Grind” – et brutalt, polyrytmisk nyreslag i typisk Gojira-stil, som enhver fan elsker gruppen for. Det er numre som dette, man savner undervejs på Fortitude, når der går for meget navlepilleri og Magma-light i den, og dermed trækkes helhedsindtrykket igen den rigtige vej.

En lille håndfuld pletskud og en masse metervare

Som tidligere nævnt har Gojira på deres forrige plader, som Metallica gjorde på deres Black Album og Avenged Sevenfold ligeledes gjorde på Hail To The King, forsimplet deres musikalske formel for at ramme et bredere publikum. Det virkede eminent godt på numre som “The Cell”, “Stranded” og “Silvera”, men det er den slags enestående kompositioner, der mangler flere af på Fortitude. Bevares, pladen har et helvedes højt bundniveau, som nærmest ingen andre end Gojira besidder, men når man ved, hvad bandet kan og altid har leveret, er det på sin rette plads at forvente noget mere fra dem, og man kan derfor godt tillade sig at være lidt skuffet over deres pludselige stagnation.

Fortitude er bestemt ikke noget dårligt album. Flere numre er ren verdensklasse og med stor sikkerhed nyklassikere på bandets fremtidige sætlister. Ydermere er produktionen af frontmand Joe Duplantier abnormt lækker, og det samme er lillebror Marios præstation bag gryderne. De formår stadig at levere varen og skabe storladenhed og dybde med meget få midler, men denne gang desværre uden at imponere på samme niveau, som de plejer.

 

Finally, it has arrived!

 

Nearly five years have passed since the French masters of Technical Death Metal gave us the magnificent Magma, and it’s been nine years since the equally impressive L’Enfant Sauvage was released. Both these albums received high praise here on the site, and now the time has come to take a look at the follow-up. The acclaimed band, that is renowned for being ever so concerned with the earth’s environmental problems, never cease to amaze in all their endeavors, and expectations for the new album Fortitude have thus been extremely high.

 

Leading up to the album release, no less that five very promising singles were released; each giving a glimpse of what could potentially be a new masterpiece. But is it possible for the band to continue their impressive streak? Will the French band’s newer material at some point become a bit dull, and if so, is it okay to be disappointed?

 

“I’ll be damned!”

That has been my exact reaction every time I’ve heard a new album from Gojira! Their live shows remain superb, and their material gets better by every album they release. Back when the magnum opus L’Enfant Sauvage was released, many dedicated fans were disappointed by the band’s simplified songwriting. The songs were made even more digestible on the sublime Magma, which resulted in an album that was appealing to a very broad audience. Considering the success they had already achieved, their simplified approach came as somewhat of a surprise at the time, but the approach paid off, and their fan base has continued to grow steadily.

 

Both aforementioned records have gone on to become classics of the genre that will undoubtedly pass over into legend. This is also the reason why the band’s new full-length is a bit disappointing. Off course, it can’t be expected that the band reinvents themselves on every album, but this time around, the French musicians sadly appear to be stuck in a rut. The record does, however, start out very promising with three of the five aforementioned singles; the powerful “Born For One Thing”, the Sepultura-esque hymn to the rainforest, “Amazonia”, and last but not least, the well-composed “Another World”, that contains all the elements that one has come to expect from Gojira. Following these great songs, however, the band sadly starts to run out of steam. “Hold On”, “Sphinx” and in particular “The Trails” are predictable tracks that sound like recycled material from Magma. On “The Chant”, Gojira practically insists on everybody holding hands and singing Kumbaya around a campfire, and frankly, this quickly becomes tedious. In fact, the track doesn’t even sound like Gojira material, but more like something that Mastodon could have written, and this doesn’t improve the song one bit. The album started out so promising, but all the cool elements seem to be absent at this point. The record does, however, end on an exceptionally strong note with the brutal and polyrhythmic  “Grind”. The song contains all the signature elements of the Gojira sound, and fans are gonna love it! But quality material like this is noticeably absent throughout most of this record that comes across as a watered-down version of Magma. However, the overall impression is definitely improved by the inclusion of a track such as “Grind”.

 

Lots of mediocrity with a few highlights

Like Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold before them, Gojira has taken their songwriting in a more simplistic direction in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. This direction worked exceptionally well on songs like “The Cell”, “Stranded” and “Silvera”, but Fortitude is in dire need of such quality material! The record is, however, still solid. But knowing what Gojira is truly capable of, and knowing what the band has accomplished before, it seems fair to expect them to come up with better songs than the ones that are presented here.

 

Fortitude is not a bad album by any means. Several songs are instant classics that will surely find their way to live shows in the future. On top of that, frontman Joe Duplantier’s work as a producer is particularly fortunate, as is the drumming performance by his younger brother Mario. They are still more than capable of delivering the goods and achieving a truly epic atmosphere, but this time around, they do so without leaving as much of an impression as they used to.

 

 

Tracklist

  1. Born For One Thing
  2. Amazonia
  3. Another World
  4. Hold On
  5. New Found
  6. Fortitude
  7. The Chant
  8. Sphinx
  9. Into The Storm
  10. The Trails
  11. Grind

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