Gojira // L’Enfant Sauvage 
Rating: 5/5 — A baby sausage!
Label: Roadrunner Records
Websites: gojira-music.com | facebook.com/GojiraMusic
Release Dates: Out Worldwide!

Gojira - L'enfant sauvageTo say that L’Enfant Sauvage is a highly-anticipated album for me is certainly an understatement. As soon as the extreme French metallers, who hail from Bayonne, announced they were re-entering the studio, I followed their progress with excitement. What I am trying to communicate here is that I fucking love Gojira. If you’re looking for a disinterested hipster review of the album that poo-poos what these Japansese-monster-moving-loving gents are trying to do, I recommend that you look elsewhere. This band pushes all my buttons, hits me in all the right places, from my Viking warrior brain to my delicate girls parts. I hope you will forgive me if I gush.

L’Enfant Sauvage is the fifth studio album from Gojira, who have become known for their environmentally-themed lyrics and emotionally intense, physically demanding instrumentation. The title of the album means “the wild child,” and I believe this is a reference to a famous case of a feral child being discovered in France in 1798 [I thought for sure it meant “The baby sausauge.” – AMG]. The boy was apparently abandoned as a very small child and lived as an animal for most of his life. He was eventually discovered and trapped by hunters when he was eleven or twelve, he seemed to have never been able to speak, and was taken to Paris to be studied by experts and educated. Feral children, also called “isolates,” show profound developmental differences from people who have been socialized normally, and often offer scientists a fascinating and tragic look into the ways that we learn and develop relationships as social creatures.

Gojira 2012It is clear that Gojira wanted to embody the sense of wildness in this album. The emotional tone is desperate and feral, like the growls of a human animal backed into a corner. But it is not all ferocity either, as they also channel the profound loneliness of the isolate’s plight, the primal drive for contact and companionship that is never fulfilled until it gradually twists and grows into a pure, animal violence. But, dovetailed with this emotional core of savagery is an equally strong sense of restraint. L’Enfant Sauvage is not simply about the wildness and ferocity of what makes us human being broken down, but also the painful, difficult process of reclaiming our humanity. This is embodied the most in two songs, “The Gift of Guilt” and “Pain is a Master,” which conceptually explore some of the most difficult and challenging part of the human condition while musically creating tumultuous, cerebral storms. They ache and thrash, often writhing in anguish, but never ceasing to fight, to rattle and pull against confining chains.

The album opens with the trembling, tautly wound “Explosia” which hits the listener like something between a plague of locusts and a thunder cloud. As the album pours forth, the lyrical eloquence of the songs is matched only by their musical sophistication. As technically dense and aggressive and death metal, Gojira never privilege the instrument over the emotion or the idea, so as complex as the music becomes it is always the conceptual and emotional core that remains the strongest part of L’Enfant Sauvage. Every jagged tempo, every anguished rasp in the vocals is precisely, artfully deployed. This record reminds you that the heart is a muscle.

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  • LOL, the first paragraph is so obscene.

  • u have good tastes

  • HohenheimOL

    I’m sorry, but this is a poor review. It says almost nothing about the actual songwriting/musicianship/anything relevant to the actual music; all I see is a bunch of rambling about some vaguely defined theme of “wildness” with the exception of the end paragraph, and even that tells me little. 

    And in my opinion, Gojira is mediocre at best. Sure, their songs can feel like they carry some weight, but other than that they’re lifeless and sameish. If you love them so much, can you elaborate upon exactly what the album is doing right? because the only thing I’m getting from this is that they’re loud.Also, I love how you imply that anyone who doesn’t like this album is a hipster. Real classy.

    • Martin L

       The review is OK. It could have been better, I agree but it’s not just rambling. I do think Steel Druhm and AMG usually provide more details (and helpful comparatives!) when describing music, something I hope Natalie takes a page off.  BTW you have to try really hard to be offended by the hipster reference, which apparently you did. That’s on you, though.

      As for the album, it’s pretty good! I like it but I am baffled that this stuff is revered while Voivod did the same kind of experimentation over a decade ago to little recognition. I mean, the album even sounds like Negatron-era Voivod.

    • In all honesty, I agree and disagree with this comment. 
      Firstly I absolutely love Gojira and I believe this album was absolutely amazing, however where I have to agree is that one could say so much about how brilliant this album is musically, but rather in this review it’s a page long session of rambling completely off music as a topic and more directing towards a fangirlish obsession with Gojira and 2 paragraphs worth of reviews on what the album’s lyrical content is about. I’m sure we could find half a million bands that are lyrically superior to many but musically wouldn’t score above a 2/5.Brilliant album but the review is somewhat off topic (something I rarely, if ever, see on AMG).

    • I like Natalie’s style. Sorry you didn’t like this review. 

      • Its not even a case of disliking the review entirely, what Natalie said about Gojira is in my opinion unquestionable, I don’t for one second disagree with the review. It’s just different to what I’m used to reading on AMG though. Normally after reading a review I know exactly what an album is going to sound like long before I even bother popping in the cd (hence when a band I worship gets a bad rating for a new release, I have to hold back tears of acid) and giving it a listen. That’s just the way it is here, you got one hell of a team, but this review barely let on anything aside from, “this album is awesome, who gives two shits why? Gojira for life!!!”

        • Great album, and looks like everyone was a little snooty about the review but it’s pretty hard not write a review like this for such an artfully crafted album. Some bands put out albums with songs on them and they should be critiqued technically. But some bands, like Gojira, put out works of art like this album. And a work of art is usually comprised of many different and interesting things that all add to the overall piece itself, usually leaving the person viewing said work with an overall feeling and connection or disconnection to the artist’s message and maybe even with the artists themselves. This is the kind of album that evokes such reaction. anyone douchebag can talk about how they didn’t like the riff in some song or some other shit. But this reviewer put out her true feelings on this one and I gotta say I agree. You can’t review a Gojira album like a metallica album because artists like Gojira are completely different breed. Everyone knows that Gojira’s music always contains an amazing display of instrumentation and skill so there isn’t much need to comment on that.
          Also, HohenheimOL, it is pretty hipster for you to get all huffy about the hipster joke. And after having listened to this album through many many times I can also say that it was pretty hipster what you said about the album and Gojira for that matter. I find your argument shallow and pedantic.
          I’m not saying that you have to be hipster to hate this album, but if you hate this album there’s a very large chance that you are a hipster and need to shut the fuck up.

      • HohenheimOL

        It’s not the style so much as the fact that the reviewer completely ignored any flaws (of which I will charitably say there are many) and just went on a complete opinionated rant about how much she loved Gojira.

        Yes, these things are subjective, but there’s a line to be observed, and I find it’s being crossed here. It’s like giving The Lord of Steel a 5/5 just because it’s by Manowar. When a band is doing things wrong, they should be mentioned(say, the over reliance on chugging, the general lack of anything remotely new, and lyrics so vague they start to sound like they were written by a metalcore band).

        Call me a cranky and old fashioned, but Gojira sound to me like they’re trying too hard to sound “different” and this review sounds like it was written by one of those types who are waaaaaay to eager to give a band a perfect score.

        • vinnie

          Not even the biggest Gojira fan can give you reasons why we like them so much. They certainly aren’t more skilled than any other band in terms of technical skill (cept mario), but there is something very special about them that you either see or you don’t. They can do no wrong in my eyes.

  • omit spam

    hm, several observations/thoughts/transgressions. Natalie i really like this ” This band pushes all my buttons, hits me in all the right places, from my Viking warrior brain to my delicate girls parts. I hope you will forgive me if I gush.” very delicate/intimate/cute, refreshingly un-hipster’ish and honest.
    i like your review in general. it gives me an emotional impression of the album that kicks my sonic imaginings into high gear. especially in art, i often times find emotive descriptions more useful. sorry, Herr HOHL.

    btw, i agree with your hipster reference and i get it. for more hilarity on hipster’dom check out theneedledrop (keyword: hipster) on youTube. if you have to stand up for hipsters, chances are you’re one.

    also, Kaspar Hauser is the “German version” of L’Enfant Sauvage, which is also a movie by Francois Truffaut. Werner Herzog also directed/wrote a movie titled “Kaspar Hauser”. i would recommend both.

    aloha

  • AMG, do you review your collaborators reviews? I mean… this is inconsistent with the album of the Month, and Natalie isn’t even listed in the About & Contact section. I don’t completely agree with the fellow who said this is a poor review, but I can understand his point. This feels much more like “OMG I’m a fanboy who rates all my favorite albums 5/5 in RYM” instead of a proper AMG insightful and dense review.

    • I do review them, yes. I thought this was a well-written, if sloppily edited review. Natalie is a talented reviewer. The style lacks the comparative approach that we normally take, but it’s also her style. It’s hard to be too combative about that.

  • Hah, as a fellow Gojira fan I know exactly how it feels to just be at a loss for words with how much you love the band. Already have my copy and have enjoyed it immensely.

  • Felt more like a Fan girl making a big deal about this album than a good solid review, not many mention about the musicianship and the instrumentation. Just Emotion really.  Overall not a good review…felt hastily written.

  • Eh, I would not go and call it a poor review, but it felt a bit rushed and inconclusive, Miss Zed is quite the prolific author and I can read her stuff in a lot of places in the internerds, but I feel like this one got a bit sidetracked to go and listen MOAR GOJIRA while finishing the other gazillion reviews and scripts that must be in her queue.

    There is not a lot more to say though, this is a really good album, if a bit more mainstreamed than previous offers. Perhaps this is a record that could have been benefited by the 2 (or more?) people approach that you guys did for Carolus Rex.

  • Nelas Sorensen

    Shockingly bad.  It wouldn’t be as bad if the review hadn’t led me to believe this was a special album.  I’d rather listen to Sounds of a Playground Fading.

    • No you wouldn’t; that’s ridiculous.

      • L Roy

        Haha – no it’s not. I completely understand why old school fans wouldn’t like Playground but, if you think of it as a radio friendly release (ie not ‘metal’ per se) then it actually makes for some surprisingly satisfying pop music (ie along the lines Within Temptation or Soilwork’s last respective releases, which at the very least are great introductions to the melodic side of the genre). I actually rate Playground as their best album since Clayman. Anyhow, I digress… carry on.

        • HEAD A’SPLODE!

          • jon

            I agree with Nelas, I’d rather listen to a shitty album by a band that used to be good than listen to an obnoxious, overrated band that has always sounded like shit to me. But then again I could just do neither of those things and listen to Jester Race and Colony.

    • HohenheimOL

      I think that’s a little bit harsh. Gojira’s overrated for certain, but In Flames’s contemporary work just goes above and beyond the call of badness.

  • I can do little else but agree on everything that’s been said about this album. And for the ones who claim this is a bad review: how much more clues do you need to know that you HAVE to pick up this album. 

  • Zadion

    Yeah, I don’t get why people are saying this is a bad review. My only complaint is that the last paragraph feels more like it should be in the middle somewhere, and there’s not a real conclusion. Nonetheless, everyone has their own review styles. What I pull from this review is that it’s quite an emotional and sophisticated album. It certainly makes me interested, enough so I may check the album out (despite not liking Gojira much in the past).

  • AMG community: reviewing your reviews since 2009.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Natalie about L’Enfant Sauvage. It’s a stunning album and easily the highlight of Gojira’s career so far. Also good to see that she picked out The Gift of Guilt and Pain Is A Master too, I can’t stop listening to them.

    • Well, I guess it’s good that they’re invested in the website being good. :) 

  • michaelcallavaro

    I think people expect good reviews, because AMG is known for exactly that: good reviews.

    When it comes to major releases, everyone who’s metal and knows its way on the interwebz comes here, checks outs the title, sees Gojira and thinks: lets see what AMG has to say about it…

    …And very unexpectedly gets to read a fangirl letter about gushing girly parts, the casestudy of a feral child and a few very longwinded subjective pseudo-poetic lines about a few songs on the album.

    Bummer.

    • Want my review? 

      Gojira is boring and overrated. I think their style has its moments but they take too long to do anything, the riffs are too repetitive and the vocalist annoys me. 

      • Martin L

         LOL

        Well, that really is the point. Your reviews never read like that. They’re a lot more informative. I think some of the comments here were a little harsh on Natalie but the general sentiment seems to be that her style clashes with what we usually find here. You’ve got an extremely valuable website, almost unanimously praised for its quality. Editorial consistency is important, IMO.

        I found AMG by googling for a specific album review. I was impressed by the writing and read another and another… and then bookmarked the place. The thing is, Gojira is (God knows why) one of the hottest metal bands out there. “L’Enfant Sauvage” was one of the most anticipated metal records of the year. Which means lots of people will look for reviews. New readers may come here. Their first impression of AMG will be this review. Regardless of its quality, I really do think objectively, the style is very different from what made you successful and why you have a loyal following. That’s something to think about.

        I really hate knocking down a writer. Natalie writes well. But she didn’t give nearly enough information for this to be a good review. Especially not a review on AMG. I wish she would give this one another pass, personally. Or at least come and discuss it. Not that she owes us anything but again, that’s something I expect on AMG. Writers who respond to feedback.

        Barring that, another solution might be to at least get another review of L’Enfant Sauvage by another writer up here.

        PS: Ever since you made that “sausage” joke, I keep fucking up the album title… not cool :p 

         

      •  I don’t agree at all with them being boring or overrated since they are one of my favorite bands (specially live), I loved this record and I love their style. Though every time I read one of your real reviews that I don’t agree with (it doesn’t happen often since our taste in music is pretty much alike) I come out with a lot of respect afterwards. They are always extremely well written and you express your oppinions really well. So I would have loved to see a long review by you where you show why you think Gojira is overrated instead of this vague one which praise the album but doesn’t say much about the music at all. And of course I know you don’t have the time to review every single release that comes out (I would die by pressure if I would try doing that), I just hope you can keep reviewing major releases like this since you always do it so well.

  • thehuntress144

    No offense, but I agree w/ the other commenter. I could’ve used more info on the way the music sounds (songwriting, lyrics, melody, riffs etc) as opposed to how the music made the reviewer feel.

  • Contentions about the review being bad or not set aside, this is actually a nice album

  • Ximen Nao

    Well, looks like it’s been heavily edited, and we are reading just the beginning of a song-by-song review that’s been completely cut off. Maximum respect for the reviewer, still, as it’s been said, I didn’t get any idea how the album actually is. I’ll make it up by myself, of course.

  • Juular

    Shots being fired all over the place in here. Stayed for the entertaining show in the comments. 

  • João César

    I’m not so hooked up on new Gojira album as much as I was for the previous ones. It’s not that bad, its ok, good, but not great. The opposite is happening regarding new Periphery Album. It’s not just ok, it’s great :)

  • I’m not sure why there is so much ‘angriness’ here about Natalie’s review? When a reviewer conveys so much excitement for an album it motivates me to investigate the album  further. In doing so I found that many reviewers out there share in her love of this album/band and similar high scores were given. I’m usually not a fan of this genre of metal but there’s something about the arrangements on this Gojira album that I really enjoy and until I read her review I had never heard anything from Gojira. I bought the album after giving the samples a listen on iTunes as I was equally impressed with what I heard. So, thank you Natalie for your enthusiasm. As for the review, I like reading about what an album title means, the story involved, and the inspiration behind the songs. 

    • Martin L

       Absolutely anyone can convey excitement, including the most intellectually challenged individuals on this planet. Although the actual appreciation of the record is expected, that’s not what a review is about. It’s about information, consistency, objectivity.

      This review doesn’t tell you about Gojira’s style, or how this album sounds. Anyone who has no idea who Gojira is will have absolutely no idea whether they might like this record or not. And so it’s not really a review. It’s an elongated opinion that describes Natalie’s feelings for L’Enfant Sauvage rather than describing the album itself. It does convey excitement but you can find that on any forum, record store or bar.

  • Great album and great review! Keep on Natalie! You will keep her AMG, do you? It’s differnt point of view and i love it!

  • After a bit of time with this album, and after my initial fanboy glee died down… it’s really an average album. 3.5/5 material at BEST. There’s none of the innovation that made From Mars to Sirius or The Way of All Flesh so good. It’s more of the same, but worse. The riffs all feel homogenized and samey, some tremolo and then a fretslide for just about every song on here. The shortened songlengths prevent Gojira from really wandering into more experimental territory, which is a shame, since these shorter tracks remind me first and foremost of metalcore. I really wanted this album to blow me away like their last two did, but it was a letdown.