Gojira
Fortitude


3.0
good

Review

by Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (159 Reviews)
May 1st, 2021 | 733 replies


Release Date: 04/30/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As it stands, Fortitude is a decent metal record. However, it doesn’t really offer anything that Gojira’s prior albums haven’t done better.

Part VII: The Dangers of Complacency

The most immediate problem with Fortitude is that it really lacks a unique identifying “feature” compared to previous Gojira records. Terra Incognita had the raw death metal aggression, The Link had an experimental tribal feel, From Mars to Sirius had an ambitious conceptual feel, and so on. Somehow, Fortitude manages to sound like a synthesis of all of the band’s previous albums while lacking the sense of both wonder and impact they all had. Sure, the chugs and technical drumming still come out from time to time, but they’re buried beneath Gojira’s insistence on playing dull one-note riffs that linger for a little too long. It’s not like I’m resistant to the prospect of the band experimenting - again, The Link is a nice example of that - but it’s gotta be over a more interesting foundation than this.

For instance, the main riff of “Another World” is pretty cool; Christian Andreu’s lead guitar and Jean-Michel Labadie’s bass coil around each other to give off a strangely futuristic atmosphere. But then it all falls apart in the verses, which just consist of a boring chugging riff that doesn’t go anywhere interesting. It’s nice to hear Joe Duplantier still bringing the energy with his screams and growls, but they don’t matter much when the material itself is so lacking in heft and intensity. Meanwhile, some songs don’t even sound like they came from Gojira at all. When the a cappella harmonies of “Hold On” started, I had to look at my phone to make sure I was still listening to the same band. Indeed, Joe does perform a lot more clean vocals on Fortitude - these are most prominently heard on “Hold On”, “The Chant”, and “The Trails”. And, truth be told, Duplantier has really proven himself to be a capable clean vocalist over the last five years or so. The harmonies in “Hold On” are actually quite beautiful, despite the fact that the song eventually switches to a more typical groovy Gojira track halfway through.

What really drags this album down more than everything else, however, is the production. It’s quite strange that Duplantier is the same person who produced Way of All Flesh, as Fortitude has none of the same weight, atmosphere, or clarity in its mix. The guitars sound both muddy and unappealing in the chugging bits (the verses of “Amazonia” for instance), and really flavorless during the melodic sections (“The Trails” in particular). It also does no favors for Mario Duplantier, especially during the more technical tracks like “Grind” and “Into the Storm”. He performs some pretty amazing parts during these songs, but all I can think of is how much better they’d sound with a From Mars to Sirius-esque production job. Speaking of “Into the Storm”, that very song represents what kind of record Fortitude could have been; the track is a perfect mix of the band’s more heavy/technical traits and their melodic tendencies. Sure, the main drum part was lifted from “The Cell” off of Magma to an extent, but the riff played over it is one of the most beautifully melancholic parts I’ve ever heard from this group.

Fortitude is a strange affair, as its oddities tend to come from Gojira’s push toward a more simplistic and mainstream sound. On one hand, I suppose that makes it a logical step after the stripped-down music of Magma; on the other hand, it just doesn’t feel natural for some reason. The band’s willingness to step outside of their comfort zone is commendable, but if they’re keen on committing to this new sound of theirs, they need to give it a little more polish and focus. As it stands, Fortitude is a decent metal record. However, it doesn’t really offer anything that Gojira’s prior albums haven’t done better.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2021


9518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, I know I was kinda quick on this one. I just had so much on my mind though, and I had to write something down, lol. Maybe this will end up growing on me at some point, but as it stands, it's my least favorite Gojira album

Teal
May 1st 2021


153 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Agreed. As a fan of their heavier material, Fortitude does not do much for me.

Get Low
May 1st 2021


10126 Comments


Shit album. Band needs to stop.

normaloctagon
May 1st 2021


5682 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice, was curious who got this one. eloquent and concise review and i found myself agreeing with virtually everything you said. personally i'd substitute another word for "balls" but otherwise mucho pos very well done man

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2021


9518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Thanks! And I just switched "balls" to "heft" :]

JayEnder
May 1st 2021


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album. Band needs to stay.

tyman128
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2021


2453 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this was just kinda boring... nothing really horrible here (except for The Chant, can't stand that song), but it all is just kinda bland

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks of God

StickFeit
May 1st 2021


1564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is great yeah

Digging: Greet Death - New Hell

bigguytoo9
May 1st 2021


1020 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Production on this is horrible.

JayEnder
May 1st 2021


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a grower. Went from a 3 to a 3.5 for me in less than a day.



Born For One Thing, Amazonia, New Found, Sphinx, and Grind are all massive jams

KevinKC
May 1st 2021


933 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's the same length as L'Enfant Sauvage but it feels like it's half as long.

Mythodea
May 1st 2021


6127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It does feel short, agreed. I definitely need time to evaluate it, though. I'm feeling it, but don't know how much yet.

NonApplicable
May 1st 2021


2866 Comments


I watched a cool interview with Jammie from Code Orange and Joe from Gojira. The strange part of the interview was where they were talking about how good the production was on Fortitude. I guess there are people out there who really like how this record sounds, but I am certainly not one of them.

LeddSledd
May 1st 2021


5033 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i am not expecting to like this

Digging: Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space

JayEnder
May 1st 2021


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Chant is pretty lame yeah, but the transition from Fortitude to that song is really cool.

StickFeit
May 1st 2021


1564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I get that people don’t like the production, but on this record particularly I think it actually adds an extra layer. The little tribe stuff benefits from it.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
May 1st 2021


9518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"Born For One Thing, Amazonia, New Found, Sphinx, and Grind are all massive jams"



Born for One Thing and Grind are definitely highlights here

Kazmarov
May 1st 2021


10 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I fired up the album today and didn't get all the way through in one go- the stuff that wasn't singles is really quite serious filler. Amazonia I love in its infectious bounciness, Born for One Thing has good weight to it, a couple other tracks are good (I think The Chant might work well as a live song but doesn't sound good in studio).



I agree that it's a synthesis in that it's clearly Gojira but neither a clear evolution from their immediate preceding album or a retread. But it does lack the distinctive element that makes me want to listen to it front-to-back. I may just keep a couple songs in my Spotify Starred playlist and mostly forget this exists. I still play L'Enfant Sauvage and Way of All Flesh in full regularly and have damn near have the album on my starred list.

Muzz79
May 1st 2021


515 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Review is pretty spot on DT. Better production would lift this off the page so to speak. As for the songs, they mainly have Gojira DNA but yes, are less interesting than previous releases. I’m all for pushing boundaries but some ideas don’t work on this

Digging: Grave Miasma - Abyss Of Wrathful Deities

Get Low
May 1st 2021


10126 Comments


"Good album. Band needs to stay." [2]




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