Easily one of the year’s anticipated releases, “L’Enfant Sauvage” is Gojira’s fifth full length release and comes after a four year wait since the staggeringly good “The Way Of All Flesh”, amid a flurry of near bed wetting excitement from fans and critics alike. The technical problems surrounding the bands proposed “Sea Shepherd” EP has only intensified the excitement, but finally a new album is upon us, and without beating around the bush, it is an absolute colossus.
This is certainly a more defined and precise release than its predecessor. As great as “The Way Of All Flesh” was (my personal favourite Gojira release, at least up to this point), it was quite chaotic and probably their hardest to get in to for a newcomer (especially one with an untrained ear to the experimental and progressive sides of music). “L’Enfant Sauvage” on the other hand is much more accessible to the uninitiated, whilst still remaining complex and technical enough to delve in to still. Album opener “Explosia” (for which there couldn’t be a more apt title if they tried), is a fine example of how its riff and thunderous groove are so immediate and crushing but also how the song then expands and sprawls beyond. The title track similarly manages to encompass all these band traits in to one short and sharp song.
In fact, the initial half of the album follows this pattern of shorter impactful songs with their progressive trait; the aforementioned songs as well as the likes of “The Axe” and “Planned Obsolescence” all follow this trend. Further towards the end of the album there are some notably more atmospheric passages; such as the storm sounds at the beginning of “Pain Is A Master”. This latter part of the album appears a whole lot darker as well, with even shades of near melancholy at times; most prominently on the slower tempo parts in “Born In Winter” and in the midst of closing track “The Fall”. Even on such tracks though, the grooves are absolutely massive and devastating.
All in all, Gojira have unsurprisingly made an album of gargantuan levels in “L’Enfant Sauvage”. An album that is more to the point than some previous efforts and will therefore be more appealing to newcomers, but one that also does not necessarily withdraw its progressive elements that have become their niche and calling card. Right now I would say I love this album just as much as “TWOAF” and the classic “From Mars To Sirius”. Expect to see this name pop up on a lot of best of year lists come winter time.