With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

GOJIRA, Trepalium @Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 12/11/12

France’s Trepalium are looking uncomfortable on the tiny Slade Rooms stage. Not their performance, you understand, which was a superb display of thrash and death metal, with touch of jazz thrown in. It is just that they have a massive drum kit and the five of them look ready to fall off the edge at a moments notice.

Thankfully, no one does go arse over tit and we are left to enjoy the show. RTM wasn’t familiar with the band previously, but they were extremely impressive. “Sick Murder Boogie” is aptly named, and if their finishing song is called “Usual Crap,” the group themselves are anything but. They offer something original and exciting.

As do their countrymen Gojira. They are really riding on the crest of a wave at the moment. This is their biggest UK tour to date and this year’s “L’Enfant Savauge” album is quite marvelous. In addition their show earlier in the year at the Academy was one of the gigs of 2012. This one doesn’t quite match that, but it was pretty damn close.

It is with “Explosia,” a track from “L’Enfant….” That they begin, and in common with all their songs, it seems it is built around a gigantic riff from Joel Duplantier and the driving rhythm of his brother Mario on drums. The band headbang their way through it and it is a jaw-dropping opener.

Like the set in June this is a career spanning affair, rather than focusing on one album, and soon they are attacking “Flying Whales” like their lives depended on it. 2008’s album “The Way Of All Flesh” is well represented – “Oroborus” sounding particularly impressive - while “Toxic Garbage Island” is perhaps the best song ever written about environmental issues.

The fact that Gojira choose to write songs about the planet rather war like some of their extreme metal contemporaries neatly sums them up. They are a serious rather than good-time group. This is exemplified by their attitude to the crowd surfer who nearly hurts himself near the end. Where bands like Down encourage such behaviour, Duplantier tells the crowd not to do it before he gets his head down to get on with his job.

The set ends with “Vacuity” before an encore of “The Gift Of Guilt” brings things to a brutal close. At that point you are left to reflect on how Gojira have done this in an old school way.

Coming from France – hardly a metal hotbed – must have been a disadvantage, but through a string of great albums and the hard work of touring with everyone they can, they can headline 10 shows in Britain and nearly sell them out – and do that twice in a year. But then quality usually rises to the top and Gojira are one of the best bands in extreme metal right now.

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