Live Evil: Gojira London KOKO Review
Steve Hill went to see French metal titans Gojira tear London apart at the seams. He’s only just recovered in time to chuck us a review. Check it….
There haven’t been that many instances in the world of heavy metal where one would feel compelled to shout “Viva Francais!” to our cross channel chums for their contribution to all things heavy. But, sacre bleu, is tonight one of them. This, all Gaelic, three-band bill of extreme heaviness has managed to sell out a venue as prestigious as London’s Koko. That, in any language, is a massive achievement.
Unfortunately due to some typically British, crap public transport, Trepalium have long since vacated the stage by the time we enter the venue. Although main support Klone do a fine job of readying the audience for what’s coming with a slick set of catchy, yet progressive leaning material. They recall certain elements of Deftones, Tool and Dream Theater without leaning too heavily on any of them and are warmly received by a crowd who, 99 per cent of at least, are totally unfamiliar with the band. Extra points are also rewarded for turning Army Of Men by Bjork from a floaty, celestial pop song into a taut-riffing, groove ridden juggernaut that has every head banging from barrier to balcony.
But if it’s banging heads you’re after then look no further than the headliners. From the moment Gojira set foot onstage it’s almost as if they have everyone crammed inside Koko on a piece of string and able to pull and drag them back and forth, up and down totally at their own will, such is the irresistible momentum coming from their instruments. They open with Explosia, which is an apt name for such an entrance, and the first thing that strikes you is how huge, tight and clear the sound is. Every turn on a sixpence rhythmic shift, every beautiful nuance is there in fully audible, glorious crystal clarity. What’s amazing is that Gojira seem to improve as the set progresses; the likes of Backbone and The Heaviest Matter In The Universe from fan favourite From Mars To Sirus would be impossible for most bands to top. The fact they follow that double-whammy with the title track from latest album L’Enfant Sauvage and the whole place goes even more ballistic is proof positive that this is a band on top of their game right now. As difficult as it is to pick highlights, the tribal build of The Art Of Dying and the tech-metal wizardry of Oroborus deserve special mentions, as do the band members themselves for charging around, gurning and throwing shapes when no one could have blamed them for standing still and concentrating on playing these head-fuck songs correctly. They end with The Gift Of Guilt and what seems like the whole of London town raises it hands, beers and spirits to these self proclaimed “French Rednecks”.
There have been some pretty impressive moments this year in the live environment; seeing Mastodon enter the big league by selling out Brixton was one, the return of Refused and their triumphant two nights at the Forum was another. Tonight, Gojira provide 2012 with another “fuck yeah” moment. Let’s just put it into context for you, this is a band from provincial France playing a twisted, bastardised version of death metal to a rabid, sold out crowd at a venue more used to playing host to Indie twits like Bombay Bicycle club and Jake Bugg. That’s got to make you feel pretty happy about heavy metal right now hasn’t it? Zoot Alors! Viva Francais!