GOJIRA have, on their third album, unleashed an epic. This is a masterpiece on par with anything MESHUGGAH or MASTODON have released, that sort of massive, lumbering, seething wall of sound that the listener just can't help but become immersed in. "From Mars to Sirius" is a journey that'll take many listens to fully appreciate, but is richly rewarding to anyone open-minded and musically ravenous enough to make the trip.
File them alongside a(u)stral explorers ALCHEMIST, along with their common old-school influences (a little NEUROSIS, a little KILLING JOKE). Then add a bit of MESHUGGAH's relentless mechanical clangor, a pinch of DARKANE in the vocals, and some STRAPPING YOUNG LAD in that intangible intensity factor. A little VOIVOD-ian weirdness (check out the midsection of "World To Come"), and leave about an hour and ten minutes to fit in all these influences, and you'll be somewhere in the same galaxy as these French nutters.
A grocery list of influences does GOJIRA no justice, though. Their sound is dark, churning and hypnotic, massively heavy but varied and surprising, never monotonous. Their lyrical outlook is worthy of mention, as well — surprisingly positive and life-affirming, their words add humanity to even the most angry, mechanized portions of the album.
Mostly clattering along at an inexorable midtempo, with occasional blasting flare-ups and acoustic breathing spaces, "From Mars to Sirius" is, for all its progressive qualities, like a goddamn tank. Its weighty, impossibly burly guitar tone gives even their simplest riffs a punishing authority and a commanding urgency. The drumming is just as intense, and combined, they create a suffocating atmosphere that's tar-thick and unforgiving. Luckily, GOJIRA's sense of dynamics is keen, and they know just when to let the listener up for air, before plunging them back down to the icy depths again.
The French scene has a lot of promising bands right now, but GOJIRA leads the pack, and if there's any justice in the world, "From Mars To Sirius" will be the album that puts them on the map for the rest of the world to behold as well. An immense, intense, and very impressive album.