The Godzilla-Inspired Heavy Metal Band Preaching Environmentalism squib

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There’s nothing more metal than environmentalism, and for proof of that fact, just listen to French heavyweights Gojira’s crushing new album Fortitude, the latest from the death-metal quartet to marry brutal riffs, sonic experimentation, and lyrical laments for the state of the planet.

Since their breakthrough 2001 debut Terra Incognita, Gojira (whose songs are in English) have carved out a unique path in their doom-laden field, their thunderous assaults often fixated on the desecration and pollution of our oceans, the unnecessary slaughter of our wildlife populations, and the destruction of our rainforests—the last of which is the subject of the band’s recent single “Amazonia,” in which lead singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier screams with fury, “The greatest miracle / Is burning to the ground.”

Such concerns are nothing new for Gojira, the original Japanese name for Godzilla—a fictional creature born of man’s catastrophic nuclear folly—who have been addressing these crises with insightful ferocity for the past two decades. Fortitude is their most mature and activist work yet, a furious cry for change that, as on lead single “Born For One Thing” and album closer “Grind,” brings the righteous fury. Nonetheless, despite retaining their signature heaviness, Fortitude is also Gojira’s most mainstream output to date, employing even more of the clean vocals, harmonies, and melodic diversions that elevated their 2016 gem Magma. It’s classic Gojira, as well as an evolution, with the four-piece—which includes Duplantier’s brother Mario on drums, Christian Andreu on guitar, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass—introducing diverse and dynamic elements to their sonic maelstroms, to thrilling and inspiring ends.

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