TVD Live Shots: Gojira at Alexandra Palace, 2/22

I’ve seen some heavy shows in my life, but holy hell, this one takes the cake. Gojira absolutely destroyed the ten thousand-plus capacity Alexandra Palace in London last week, and this show was mental.

Not only was the music next level, but the stage show was one of the biggest and best I’ve seen in the past decade. Flames shooting up from the stage like a metal volcano, smoke machines and lasers—it’s like they were trying to set the place on fire, but in a good way. And the crowd, they’re going mental too—headbanging, moshing, crowd surfing, and screaming along to the words as if there was a prize for the best Gojira karaoke of the night. This was my first time seeing these guys, and I can’t believe it’s taken this long, as I really had no idea what I was missing. It was a sight to behold.

While French and metal aren’t two words you hear very often together in the same sentence, Gorija has put France on the metal map just as Sepultura did for Brazil back in the ’90s. And while there may be a few similarities in styles, brothers Joe (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Mario Duplantier (drums), along with Christian Andreu (lead guitar), and Jean-Michel Labadie (bass), Gojira is not your average metal band. These guys are on a whole other level. Their music is like a force of nature, with crushing riffs and complex rhythms that hit you like a tidal wave.

There’s no denying that Gojira are the current reigning kings of metal on the global stage, and no one can fucking touch them right now. As one of the most innovative and influential bands in the genre, they’ve developed a unique style that blends elements of death metal, progressive metal, and post-metal creating a sound that is both heavy and atmospheric. This technical prowess is also evident in their live performances where they are known for their tightness and precision. Their songs are complex and challenging with intricate rhythms and time signatures that push the boundaries of what is possible in metal music.

And their lyrics? Don’t even get me started. Gojira’s lyrics are a thing of beauty. They’re like poetry but with growls and screams. They tackle big, philosophical topics like the nature of existence and our place in the universe, but also more down-to-earth issues like environmentalism and the impact of human activity on the planet. It’s metal with a conscience, and it’s bloody inspiring. This truly sets them apart and adds a sense of urgency and purpose that is rare in the genre.

Gojira has a reputation for being a socially conscious and politically engaged band. They have used their platform to raise awareness about climate change and environmental degradation in addition to sustainability and eco-friendly practices in the music industry. Their commitment to activism and advocacy has earned them respect not only from metal fans but also from a wider audience. They represent a new generation of musicians pushing the boundaries of what metal can be and are not afraid to experiment with different sounds and styles while showing that metal can be both heavy and emotionally impactful.

From the moment the lights went down and the eerie intro music started playing, I knew we were in for a wild ride. And boy, did Gojira deliver. They blasted through a setlist that covered all the fan favourites and then some with enough energy to power a small city. Opening with “Born for One Thing” from 2022’s Fortitude, then straight back to 2005 with “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe.” Seventeen blistering songs—and one epic old-school drum solo—with six pulled from their latest and the rest cherry-picked from the heaviest catalogue in metal. 

All in all, it was an epic night of riffs that hit you like a punch in the face, drums like a thunderstorm, and a roaring frontman leading the charge. If you haven’t seen these guys live yet, what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the power of Gojira for yourself. Your ears (and your soul) will thank you.

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