Gojira is a French heavy metal band from Bayonne. Originally formed as Godzilla in 1996, they changed their name in 2001 prior to releasing any studio albums.
The band’s lineup, consisting of brothers Joe Duplantier (vocals, guitars) and Mario Duplantier (drums) as well as lead guitarist Christian Andreu and bassist Jean-Michel Labadie, has been the same since then. They have released six studio albums and three live DVDs. They are known for their environmentally-themed lyrics and have gone from “utmost obscurity” to being placed “amongst the genre’s leading new millennium upstarts”.
Gojira’s sound is not easily classifiable as they blend several styles. Genres that have been associated with the band are technical death metal, progressive metal, groove metal and thrash metal. Gojira has been influenced by heavy metal artists such as Slayer, Sepultura, Death, Morbid Angel, Meshuggah, Tool, Metallica, Pantera, and Neurosis.
Gojira plays a technical and rhythmic style of heavy metal with precision drumming along with blast beats, unusual rhythm patterns, and start-and-stop riffs. They have been known to incorporate textured atmospheric elements and instrumental songs into their music. Gojira songs have progressive and uncommon song structures, rarely using the standard verse, chorus, verse songwriting. The vocal style is varied, ranging from the screamed style often employed in extreme metal, with the death growl style predominantly used in death metal, in addition to clean vocals and higher screams. At times, death metal growls and clean vocals are mixed to create an aggressive but melodic effect.
Gojira’s lyrics tackle themes of life, death, rebirth, spirituality, and nature. In particular, their 2005 album From Mars to Sirius is a concept album tackling environmental issues as well as broader themes of life, death, and rebirth.
The members of the band were raised in Bayonne, a city on the south west coast of France (Pyrénées-Atlantiques/French Basque Country). The surrounding scenic countryside and rugged coastline inspired Gojira’s interest in nature and the earth. Gojira uses its lyrics to spread its spiritual beliefs and concerns for the environment. They also cooperate with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to protect marine animals, especially dolphins, whales and sharks.
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