Gojira - Fortitude
Genre: Progressive Metal
FFO: Meshuggah, Opeth, Lamb of God
Brand new Gojira album, ‘Fortitude’, is here. I’m glad I can finally say those words because it’s not every year, or even every few years, we get a new record from these titans of metal. These progressive legends are just as aggressive, forward, and creative as ever before. The production is as to be expected, dirty, yet clean. Loud, captivating, and thick.
‘Born For One Thing’ is a great opener for this record because it really just slams us in the face with who Gojira is and always has been. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’ve obviously been more aggressive or fast in their career at times, but this is a very good spot for them in their sound that I’ve come to love. It’s still one of my favorites on the album.
‘Amazonia’ continues that recognizable sound from Gojira in a different way, utilizing unique sounds/instruments incorporated within the music as they have been known to do in other albums. At this point, it would actually be a little weird if we didn’t get a song or two from them that has something that makes you go “wait, what the heck is that?”
‘Another World’, the first single, is the 3rd song on the LP, and I gotta say, I like it a lot more in album context. I didn’t, not, like it before. I actually enjoyed it a lot. However something about hearing it in between these other songs made it really pack more of a punch that it may have lacked a bit from the first time hearing it by itself.
‘Hold On’ is the 4th, but the 1st non-single, song on the album. Even being almost 15 minutes into jamming this album loud and proud, this song caught me way off guard and by surprise because of it’s isolated singing intro. It only took me maybe 10 seconds though to adjust and start following along. Then those kicks, then those riffs...I don’t want to go too into detail about the non-single songs in case you haven’t heard it yet for some reason. All I have to say is this song is super good.
I do want to bring up the title track though because it’s different than most other title tracks. Usually when a song is named after the album, you can expect some sort of epic track that wraps what the album is about into one song musically and thematically. Gojira went a slightly different direction and just made it a short interlude track that leads into the next song ‘The Chant’ where we hear more of this melodic group singing I came to lose myself in at this point every time it pops up. I say only “slightly” different though because yes, the music may be different than expected, the message however, is not. According to Joe, this song is fully encompassing the album and it’s theme. I’ll quote him instead of trying to explain it myself:
“Fortitude is the underlying idea throughout the whole album. It’s a mantra. It’s something that is addressing the universe and the stars and the planets when I sing, and maybe an alien consciousness or whatever there is up or down there—spirits, guides. It’s like a prayer. It’s the thing that sums up the entire album, but very personal. The more you’re honest with yourself, with your heart, the more people are going to feel it.”
I’ll cut my thoughts short on the details of this album here before I keep on more tangents. I think you get the point by now that I really like this album and what it’s going for.
As for the rest of the songs, they are all just as fulfilling and massive as the others I’ve talked about. Especially ‘Into The Storm’. I can’t even put the sound and emotion of that chorus into words. ‘The Trails’ is a calmer song that I completely got lost in. Gojira just has a way of mesmerizing me with their rhythms.
Lyrics have always been an important and meaningful factor to pay attention to in Gojira’s music. Beliefs and teachings about life, death, the environment, humanity, and self preservation are all topics (and personal takeaways) that you’ll hear covered on this record in their detailed, metaphoric way delivered with straight forward lines and attitude as always.
To sum up everything - this album is some of their best work. I personally like it even more than their previous effort ‘Magma’, and I really like that album.
This is, in my opinion, their most consistent sounding record musically since ‘From Mars, To Sirius’. Let me clarify, I’m not saying it’s their best work since then, I’m not even comparing the concept behind ‘Mars’. I’m speaking strictly musically, from front to back of this album, everything just fits extremely snug together like every track belongs exactly where it’s at with all the others around it. The sounds and styles that are heard flowing throughout are very consistent (I specifically love the contrast yet relation between ‘Amazonia’s more grounded sound and the following ‘Another World’s unearthly ethereal feel) The pacing for it all is the cherry on top. Not a moment of boredom or over compensation. Do I think this was a perfect album? No. I’m not 100% in shock and awe and love with everything I heard through and through. But I’m not the least bit disappointed with any moments on ‘Fortitude’. The replay value for every song and the album in total is immeasurable. For those reasons, it’s enough for me to give this a 10.
‘Fortitude’ is a little bit of everything we already know and love about the band *cough* pick scrapes *cough*, and then some. 11 tracks, 52 brand new minutes of Gojira is something to truly take in and appreciate for a while because this doesn’t come all that often. For a 7th album and over 20 years in the business, I want to say this was above my expectations, but come on, it’s Gojira.
Strongest Song: Born For One Thing, Hold On, New Found, Into The Storm, Grind
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/gojira/65158676