The title of Gojira’s acclaimed 2012 album is L’Enfant Sauvage, or The Wild Child.
Wild was definitely the operative adjective to the French Metallers’ show Friday night at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. To turn a phonetic spin on “sauvage,” savage could be another descriptor of the event. A sold-out crowd was primed for some brutal metal, and Gojira delivered with the force of a sledgehammer.
As the audience waited for Gojira, the twinkling lights on the backdrop set an eerie tone. A large replica of the human-shaped head from L’Enfant Sauvage’s cover loomed in front of the stars.
Following opening acts The Atlas Moth and The Devin Townsend Project, frontman Joe Duplantier walked out and shouted “Are you alive!?” The question elicited a throaty roar over the feedback coming from the band’s huge amp stacks.
With that, Gojira tore into “Explosia” and the center of the Fonda was reduced to a swirling pit of humanity. Duplantier and guitarist Christian Andreu assaulted their axes with soaring riffs, while bassist Jean-Michel Labadie laid a solid foundation.
Their second offering, “Flying Whales,” starts ominously with mysterious notes coming from the guitars, but once the tempo is kicked up about halfway through, it puts a spotlight on drummer Mario Duplantier’s technical skill. His staccato double bass drum became a constant one-two punch to the chest for the first few rows of fans.
Later, Gojira played the destructive “Backbone” and “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe,” which along with “Flying Whales,” completed a trilogy of tracks from their 2006 gem, From Mars to Sirius.
“Oroborus,” “Toxic Garbage Island” and “The Art of Dying” also peppered a few songs from 2008’s The Way of All Flesh.
Mario Duplantier got to further showcase his kit with an assaulting drum solo, and the brothers even switched roles for a song with respectable results.
While Gojira did take a short break after closing with “Vacuity,” the night was not yet over. A crushing encore of “The Gift of Guilt” maintained the brutal nature of Gojira’s set.
From the pit to the back, the mighty Gojira surely left everyone seeing double. And in case there was any chance of something getting lost in translation, Joe Duplantier offered a quick French lesson: “It doesn’t matter if you mean ‘yes’ or ‘fuck yeah!’ Say ‘Oui!’”
For more information, visit Gojira’s official website.
“The Heaviest Matter of the Universe”
“The Art of Dying”
“Toxic Garbage Island”
“The Gift of Guilt”