Gojira
Fortitude


3.5
great

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
May 5th, 2021 | 273 replies


Release Date: 04/30/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The spirit of perseverance

“ The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide. ” *

There are few bands in recent decades that have flown the flag for environmental awareness as the French Gojira. Ecological consciousness coupled with spiritual themes surrounding life and death has been the conceptual core through which all their music orbits. This narrative, portraying the symbiotic link between ecosystem and man, besides mirroring the band's environmental values also expresses a growing worldwide interest in sustainability and social responsibility. I'm not a fundamentalist, at least not to the point of wearing a Greta Thunberg t-shirt or blaming capitalism as the source of all evil, however, I do realize that we, as a species, have been overstepping too many red lines that may jeopardize future generations. In this sense, Gojira's message has a contemporary relevance like few others.

The most important aspect to highlight of the band's twenty-five-year career (first five of which as Godzilla), besides their stylistic evolution, is the fact that the French eco-squad never changed its line-up, something increasingly rare in the rock business. So, it is important to look at Gojira as a genuine band and not as an occasional collective. The Duplantier brothers, Jean-Michel Labadie and Christian Andreu are thus one of today's most solid metal quartets and proof that a common goal can last a quarter of a century.

Gojira's creative journey, as one might expect, has undergone stylistic mutations over the years, the most relevant being its gradual detachment from classic death metal signatures reminiscent of bands like Morbid Angel. Truth be told, Gojira has never been monochromatic, assuming a hybrid personality from the start, yet the deep gutturals and Azagthoth-ish riffs progressively faded in favor of a more mainstream approach with special focus on the groove. Despite these mutations, the ‘90s have always been present in the band's music, either through Sepultura influences or via the subtle nu metal layer that has invariably enveloped them. In a way, Gojira never left the nineties, they just shaped it to their own will.

This connection to the nineties not only resurfaces in Fortitude but is also one of its main creative sources, even if it goes almost unnoticed amidst the band's trademark sound. The unintentional tribute to Sepultura in 'Amazonia' or the nu metal textures on 'New Found’ and 'Grind' are all examples of this ‘90s flavor. The former, besides the Sepultura-esque berimbau, also has a chorus orbiting a riff that could have been featured on Rage Against the Machine's self-titled debut album. It seems clear that the band wanted to renew their sound by looking back to the past, namely to some of their more mainstream references. The gothic-ish verse of 'The Trails' or the super catchy chorus of 'Into the Storm' are both nuances that lend Fortitude a more accessible and commercial look and feel. Make no mistake, this is the band's most mainstream album to date. Whereas Magma carried a denser aura, related to the death of Duplantier brothers' mother, Gojira's seventh release emanates a more positive and joyful vibe, almost like a cry of hope. The unexpected choruses of 'Hold On' and 'New Found', the former reminiscent of classic heavy metal, the latter recalling '80s Genesis, both epitomize this lighter, more encompassing feeling.

The easy listening approach surrounding Fortitude may not thrill hardcore fans eager for a new space trip to Sirius or L'enfant sauvage 2.0, but it should be seen as yet another cycle for the band at a stage in their career where they would have nothing to lose by playing it safe. Granted, the album is not without its generic chunks and surely has its weak links such as 'Sphinx' or 'Grind', which sounds like a forced frenzy at times, however, its highlights do not put the band's legacy to shame, on the contrary, they enrich it. 'Amazonia', 'Another World', 'Hold On' and 'Into the Storm' will certainly be among my favorite tracks of the year, with the former being Fortitude’s most emblematic moment along with the title track and 'The Chant'. These two interlinked songs, which explore tribal chanting, emphasize the concept surrounding the resilience of nature and its indigenous people, thus giving voice to the album's key message.

After a quarter of a century, eco-squad Gojira keeps fighting for a world more in touch with its natural roots. And even though their journey has now taken them into more mainstream territories, the message remains as relevant and unsettling as ever. Fortitude may not have the charisma and power of previous releases, nor does it have the ability to take us to Sirius, yet its joyful, all-encompassing spirit unveils a new creative cycle that deserves our full attention.

* Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).



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user ratings (469)
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (3)
As it stands, Fortitude is a decent metal record. However, it doesn’t really offer anything that G...



Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2021


16187 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Once again, I wish I could have posted it sooner, but unfortunately I haven't had much free time lately. Better late than never, I guess.



The album has a nice vibe, I love it.

Fortitude is available on all streaming platforms.

Digging: Helloween - Helloween

Flugmorph
May 5th 2021


24214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

based fernando, this is a great read, ghost pos'd



"The unintentional tribute to Sepultura in 'Amazonia'"

is it really unintentional though? source?

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2021


16187 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks ;)



It was unintentional at first. Joseph about people comparing 'Amazonia' to Sepultura:



" Yup. And it's a compliment, and there is no shame here. And we ripped them off, but we didn't do it on purpose. But we realized it right after. We were, like, 'Oh, that sounds like SEPULTURA. Ahhh, whatever.' It's a tribute to SEPULTURA — how about that? It's about Brazil. It's about the Amazon. It's tribal."

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/gojiras-new-song-amazonia-is-a-tribute-to-sepultura-says-joseph-duplantier





Flugmorph
May 5th 2021


24214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah that's sweet, thanks for sharing.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2021


9979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Great review! Definitely liked the environmental angle you approached it with... in hindsight, that was one of the things I regret not putting in my own writeup

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2021


16187 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers buddy ;)

I have to check your thoughts on this. I will read it today.





Mythodea
May 5th 2021


6283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this review makes me feel represented, pos'd

StormChaser
May 5th 2021


746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great review, I just can't fathom how Grind is a weak link. It's a definite standout for me, maybe even the best song on the album

Mythodea
May 5th 2021


6283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oops, didn't quite catch that when reading the review. Yup, Grind is a high point for me too, albeit a bit half-baked.

jfromnj
May 5th 2021


55 Comments


There’s nothing on this album that makes me want to come back to it. It’s solid but that’s about it.

AaroN911
May 5th 2021


3049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will give this a shot today, I enjoyed Magma quite a bit

Digging: Origami Angel - Gami Gang

DaveT0738
May 5th 2021


2680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

" Yup. And it's a compliment, and there is no shame here. And we ripped them off, but we didn't do it on purpose. But we realized it right after. We were, like, 'Oh, that sounds like SEPULTURA. Ahhh, whatever.' It's a tribute to SEPULTURA — how about that? It's about Brazil. It's about the Amazon. It's tribal."



That's how i felt about it and i'm completely ok with it

Digging: Dead World Reclamation - Aura of Iniquity

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2021


16187 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, StormChaser.

I can't say it's one of my favorites, but each to his own.



valek
May 5th 2021


124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love the review and the view on the environmental problems, it's pretty much my general feeling with the album.

AaroN911
May 5th 2021


3049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Had it's moments but nothing really stood out too much, Into The Storm was probably the highlight

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

almost halfway through listening to this and I am not enjoying myself

Digging: Sweet Trip - A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
May 5th 2021


14137 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

why does one of the best metal drummers on earth play barely any double bass on this

Flugmorph
May 5th 2021


24214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if the bass not double it's gotta be trouble

DaveT0738
May 5th 2021


2680 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"why does one of the best metal drummers on earth play barely any double bass on this"



He said that as he mature, sometimes doing songs just a service is enough which i agree but also disagree



CaliggyJack
May 5th 2021


6827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm gonna be that guy and say I really fucking dig this.



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