The Way of All Flesh

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Rarely ones to work with the most accelerated of timetables to begin with (especially when touring opportunities kept on beckoning) France's Gojira kept fans waiting all of three years between their breakthrough album, From Mars to Sirius, and its all-important successor, The Way of All Flesh. Luckily, by the time it finally emerged in late 2008, Gojira's fourth full-length successfully met most all of the understandably heightened expectations head on, opening strong with a pair of typically syncopated, groove-driven numbers in "Oroborus" and the harmonics-punctuated "Toxic Garbage Island," then repeatedly upping the compositional ante with a string of imaginative progressive headbangers (e.g., "All the Tears," "Wolf Down the Earth," and album-best "The Art of Dying") that were rife with technical fireworks and songwriting variety. Yes, there were also a few failed experiments and indifferent offerings, including instrumental interlude "The Silver Cord" (which barely even registers amidst the surrounding sonic beatings), and the techno effects, jumpy chords, and whiny clean vocals that make the first half of "A Sight to Behold" sound like a bad imitation of hip-hop rockers Cypress Hill (clean vocals are a limiting factor throughout, actually, also contributing to the dull grind of "Vacuity"). But whereas first-time listeners were likely suffering from some serious metal fatigue by the arrival of the 75-minute album's 17-minute title song (give or take a few interruptions and tacked-on "hidden tracks"), devoted Gojira fans were surely grateful to have this much music to digest while beginning the likely long wait for the band's next offering. Until that day comes, The Way of All Flesh provides another fascinating chapter in Gojira's ever more impressive catalog.

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