Gojira

The Link

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While Gojira's 2000 debut album, Terra Incognita, left many listeners confused about what to make of its schizophrenic combination of extreme metal styles (death, groove, thrash, prog, even metalcore), the French band's second full-length, 2003's The Link, helpfully revealed that this was simply how Gojira "rolled," man. Deal with it, or move on. And so, as it was the first time around, here too, simultaneously intricate and sonically punishing compositions like "Death of Me," "Remembrance," and "Embrace the World" consistently challenged listeners to withstand their dizzying array of Cuisinart-ed styles, presented with a quasi-industrial aesthetic and near-atonal brutality. To enlightened metal heads, such songs will mostly recall Sweden's Meshuggah, minus the distinctive, exotic rhythmic patterns; to neophytes they'll seem like the work of angry machines, grinding along eternally in a post-humanity future. But the aforementioned versatility was also reflected in a few brief, gear-shifting interludes ("Connected," "Torii," "Wisdom Comes"), slower songs augmented by evanescent melodies and white noise sound effects (the title track, "Dawn"), and a pair of unusually concise and less oppressive "singles" in "Indians" and "Over the Flows." All in all, there was just enough variety and discernible human emotion on hand to broaden Gojira's creative reach; though not yet as much as the band would develop on subsequent albums, beginning with the eye-opening leap forward of 2005's From Mars to Sirius.

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