Do you know how to say “brutal” in French? Brutal. True story. Six years of French. Suck it, bitches.

ANYWAY, The Way of All Flesh may not be the most br00tal album of the year, but it’s certainly the most vicious. L’album le plus méchant de l’anée. Hooky but heavy, proggy but not pretentious, and French but not froggy, The Way of All Flesh instantly jumps ahead of this year’s melodic death metal pack.

Gojira refuse to succumb to clichés; at the same time, they’re not pissing on tradition. They never give the listener exactly what’s expected, but it all still feels kind of familiar, like a warm blanket, only instead of a warm blanket, it’s an awesome, awesome metal album. They don’t reinvent the wheel, but they do make the old tricks seem new again. Role playing, baby – that’s how Gojira keeps their marriage fresh. Maybe that doesn’t put them in the company of bands like Sabbath or Metallica – bands that seemed to conjure something new from thin air – but it does put them in the company of bands like Sepultura and Lamb of God. Which is pretty fuckin’ good company to keep.

(Speaking of Lamb of God, Randy Blythe makes an appearance here, on a song called “All the Tears,” which has a very Lamb of God-y feel to it. But if it owes a debt to Lamb of God – and, I s’pose, all the bands to whom Lamb of God owe a debt – then it really is the most awesome Lamb of God song that Lamb of God never wrote. And I say that with all due respect to A Life Once Lost.)

A lot Gojira’s success is owed to the fact that they so seamlessly blend a melting pot of influences. Few modern bands do elephants marching sludge-drone better than Gojira, but sometimes this elephant stops marching and just swings his massive elephant dong for a mighty cock-slap of groove or stops to take a ginormous crap in the middle of the road, resulting in – what else? – a super-awesome breakdown.

Sometimes the elephant puts on lipstick and does the robot in front of the mirror, as on “A Sight to Behold.” But it’s all good, ’cause even then, the elephant just fucking rules.

And the elephant doesn’t need everyone to know it has a massive elephant dong – not a lot of flashy guitar solos here, folks – because it’s an elephant, stupid. It knows it has a massive dong, and it knows you know it has a massive dong, so just solid musicianship here, kids.

I think I’ve taken this elephant metaphor about as far as I can. Like two paragraphs ago.

ANYWAY, there’s so many good songs here, I don’t even know what to say about all of them. I feel like I just won an MTV Video Award for Best Cool Person and I have to thank my entire posse but time’s running out and they’re starting to play Fergie which is my cue to get off the stage. “Wolf Down the Earth,” “Esoteric Surgery.” “The Art of Dying,” which is like a nine-plus minute epic and starts out all tribal and shit and then just curb stomps you because, well, ’cause fuck you, that’s why. Gotta give love to “Vacuity” and “Toxic Garbage Island” and “Oroborus,” which is the best album opener of the year. The title track. Seventeen minutes! You know you my boy. Bayonne represent.

I don’t wanna write this review anymore. I just wanna go listen to the album. So, seriously, in a nutshell: this album isn’t perfect, but it’s damn close. Everything I don’t like about it bothers me less with each successive listen, so ask me again in six months and I might think the album is perfect. Go buy it. Like, a physical copy. With money and shit.

And by the way, you know how you say “metal” in French? Métal. True story. Six years of French. Suck it, bitches.

metal hornsmetal hornsmetal horns

(4 ½ out of 5 horns)


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