Gojira & Friends Destroy Koko – Live Review From London

Gojira on stage at Sonisphere Knebworth 2011 in the Bohemia Tent

Gojira are one of the hottest properties in metal worldwide right now. Having been brilliant but flying slightly under the radar of many for a number of years new album L’enfant Sauvage (their first for Roadrunner Records) has brought them a lot of attention and a lot of new fans. They are in the mist of a week long UK tour, and in what might be a first in the UK, its a bill made up of 100% French metal. Matt and Jamie went along to the crowning night of the tour, a sold out show at London’s Koko in Camden.

Kicking things off were Trepalium, who were something of an unknown quantity prior to the gig. Their style is a groove based death metal (think Pantera or Rich Ward style riffs intertwined with traditional death metal) which when merged doesn’t sound a million miles different to Gojira, but in the case of Trepalium this is not a bad thing. Their brand of metal quickly won over the ever swelling masses inside Koko. Frontman Cedric ‘KK’ Punda, whos hair role models would include Brian Fair from Shadows Fall and Terrance Hobbs from Suffocation gave a fantastic performance and the band were extremely tight overall. A big circle pit and a huge roar greeted them for their last song and Trepalium left the stage having made a great impression on many in attendance. A band who definitely warrant further investigation (8).

Klone were next up and were a band who’d received extremely favourable feedback from other shows on the tour online. They had a contrasting style to Trepalium, with their brand of metal more in the vein of a heavier Tool, or Pelican with vocals. Technically they were extremely good, but with the more ambient style of music they didnt connect with the crowd as well as Trepalium, apart from on the closing song, a magnificent cover and reworking of Bjork’s Army of Me. The overall feeling from Klone this evening is one of a good band, but maybe the wrong crowd for them on this occasion (6.5).

There is no feeling associated with Gojira other than them being a band riding a wave of popularity and momentum and being determined to harness every drop of it. The inevitable opening of Explosia was like a match being set to the combustible crowd ready and willing to go truly apeshit from the word go. The tone set by the opener was furthered by old favourites Flying Whales and a particularly vicious stampede through Backbone but Gojira wanted more from their audience.

“London if you’re sleeping we might as well go home now!” was Joe Duplantier’s view on the matter. “It’s been OK but I want you to give a little more”. Cue The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe and the masses in Koko certainly role to the Gojira frontman’s challenge, going crazy from front to back. There was no let up with L’enfant Sauvage’s title track next to get an airing and provided more evidence that the band’s latest work adds considerable weight to what was already a very strong song book.

Other highlights (and there were many) included a thunderous rendition of Toxic Garbage Island off The Way Of The Flesh, the Dupliantier brothers temporarily trading instruments and Koko basking in the sheer awesomeness of L’enfant Sauvage’s The Axe, giving it the ovation it richly deserved. The only complaint that can be leveled at this performance is that time seemed to pass incredibly quickly and before you knew it, it was over, being rounded off with the carnage that is Vacuity and one last blast from the new album in the form of The Gift Of Guilt (9).

For a band who, other than Slipknot are arguably the heaviest band on the Roadrunner roster, and who do not necessarily have the instant hook of some of their peers and label mates, Gojira’s rapid rise is a testament to the quality of both their music and their live performances. Their London show in June 2012 was a sellout at Islington Academy. Five months later and in the same city they have sold out a venue double the size. The word of just how good this band is is spreading rapidly and there are few bands who would deserve success more than Gojira. Next time they come to your town or city or are nearby, go and see them, very few would regret it. The sky really is the limit as to just what Gojira can achieve.


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