Live Review: Gojira, Leeds O2 Academy, 16.03.17

Gojira have been causing quite the stir of late. After the release of their sixth album Magma last year- which was met with much high praise- they have solidified their title as one of the best live bands on the metal scene.

With this in mind, it only seems right a band with such stature should take nothing less than the hardest of up-and-coming hitters out on the road with them. Code Orange hit the stage amid a myriad of production and sound effects, instantly proving they are THE loudest band around. Kill The Creator is a stilted, jarring assault that’s interspersed with a variety of interludes- whether they be guitar breakdowns or electronic breaks. In the band’s unconventional set up, the two guitarist and the drummer all take turns on vocals, while bassist Joe Goldman stands pretty much centre stage as a frontman. Despite Code Orange doing nothing less than destroying their support slot, Goldman’s calls for circle pits are not particularly answered on a wide scale. The lacking crowd reaction however, is completely counteracted by the sheer amount of limbs flailing around the stage- Code Orange’s set is purely just organised chaos. My World is a stomping, heavy number which provides the ultimate catharsis, while Bleeding In The Blur takes a mellower turn, upholding an ominous edge.Slowburn has a real chugging guitar part that makes for quite the moment when the whole band hits the groove and look as if they’re almost moving as one. Ugly is a different tone altogether, with dissonant guitars and strains of Nine Inch Nails- however there is still an overarching threatening vibe. With such musical diversity in their slick, polished and yet maniacal set, the only possible downside would be that Code Orange’s onstage activities look constrained on such a stage.However, nothing is quite on a parallel with the finely honed behemoth that is Gojira. Opener Only Pain has a heavy yet simmering feel in the verses, before it builds and hits the bridge and everything is turned up to 100. The light show is utterly blinding, which seems only fitting when accompanied by the sheer wall of sound that is Gojira. You’d be hard pressed to find a guitar part heavier than that of The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe, that has been heard within the walls of the Leeds O2 lately- at only two songs in and this band are already demonstrating that they’re basically invincible.However the moment when the opening riffs to Stranded kick in full force, is something else entirely. Meanwhile, the intro to The Cell is unarguably relentless and punishing- Joe Duplantier’s vocals towards the end of the track are unmatched- something that although good on record, are just exercised to their full potential in a live environment. Right before Backbone, drummer Mario Duplantier takes centre stage to cajole the crowd a little. “Are you guys fucking sleeping or what?! Make some noise!” he jibes, before taking a seat back behind his drums and launching into the pummelling aforementioned Backbone, which features an absolutely leviathan outro.L’Enfant Sauvage brings things back after the instrumental of Terra Inc, while The Shooting Star changes up the pace, still maintaining a sort of sense of impending doom. Pray casts a hypnotic atmosphere over the room, aided by a background evocative of falling snow, and punctuated by the crushing and relentless choruses. Following the encore, a guitar solo from Joe Duplantier leads into the final two tracks. Oberous, in all its harsh vocals and speedy guitar work, is complimented by a video back-drop constantly morphing from images of a woman, to a penny-farthing, to a bomb. Vacuity is a perfect showcase for Gojira’s rhythm contingent, and perfectly toes the line between heaviness and melody for the set closer.

Already well on their upward trajectory, Gojira are most definitely going places. It would be no surprise if this band found themselves in the mix for the next generation of festival headliners. As each member takes to the mic to say his thanks, its clear (and refreshing) to see that staying humble no matter what, is a priority for the Bayonne quartet.Photography by Erin Moore at Forte Photography UK

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