Seven hundred and thirty one. That is exactly how many days it had been since Gojira last appeared in Belfast – when they completely wiped the stage with Bring Me The Horizon and Bullet For My Valentine at the annual Belsonic festival – and this much-anticipated return, one of two headline shows they were playing on the island of Ireland in preparation for their appearances at the Leeds and Reading outdoor shindigs.
With Mario Duplantier’s huge kit dominating the stage, openers Dead Label! were squeezed into a relatively small space. Nevertheless, despite a surprisingly unsymapthetic sound mix – which resulted in Danny Hall’s guitar sounding like it was being played at the bottom of a swamp and Dan O’Grady’s bass being almost totally lost – the Dublin trio performed with a dense energy, particularly from frontman O’Grady. The flat, almost monotone of Claire Percival’s drums also hampers the impact of her own strong performance, but their dark groove, and especially its melodic edges, manage to shine through the mediocrity of the aural treatment.
Gojira take to the stage amid huge, rumbling, tumbling walls of metallic sound, which broil, roll and seethe around the room. Jean-Michel Labadie’s huge bass sound stretches the inhouse PA to the limit as the band deliver their huge swelling, swollen soundscapes with both intense emotion and emotion-charged intensity. Mario Duplantier’s blastbeats – which genuinely make your heart want to break out of your chest, it’s pumping so hard – combine with massive progressive harmonies from his frontman brother Joe (who has an easy and assured, almost nonchalant, stage manner, especially in his between-song banter) and Christian Andreu as the quartet rip through their hour-long main set with blistering intensity, their tidal waves of sound washing through and around the room, soaking those present with their orgasmic auralism.
It’s loud. Very loud. It’s heavy. As fuck. It’s metal of the sort that leaves your ears ringing, you every fibre shaking – and a deep, warm glow in the deepest recesses of your heart and soul as you head out into the cool evening.
Ocean Planet, The Axe, The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe, Backbone, Love / Remembrance, L’Enfant Sauvage, The Art Of Dying, Solo Dieu, Toxic Garbage Island, Flying Whales, Wisdom Comes, Vacuity
World To Come, The Gift Of Guilt
Photographs by Marc Leach.
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