Gojira - Terra Incognita review



Reviewer:
7.6

341 users:
8.11
Band: Gojira
Album: Terra Incognita
Release date: March 2001


01. Clone
02. Lizard Skin
03. Satan Is A Lawyer
04. 04
05. Blow Me Away You(Niverse)
06. 5988 Trillions De Tonnes
07. Deliverance
08. Space Time
09. On The B.O.T.A
10. Rise
11. Fire Is Everything
12. Love
13. 1990 Quatrillions De Tonnes
14. In The Forest
15. Clone [live] [2009 re-release bonus]
16. Love [live] [2009 re-release bonus]
17. Space Time [live] [2009 re-release bonus]


Chapter I: An Ambitious (Yet Flawed) Inception

Gojira's career trajectory has been interesting to say the least. While their level of brutality and intensity certainly hasn't been lacking with later releases (well, perhaps with the exception of Magma), it's really fascinating to go back to their debut album Terra Incognita and explore the more straightforward sounds the group started with. At this time, Gojira were still a young band who didn't know exactly where they were headed (who does at that point in their career?); as such, Terra Incognita captures the four-piece at a much more embryonic and undeveloped state.

That's not always a bad thing, of course, and there are already plenty of hints at the band's future work. For one thing, the technical prowess is already here in spades. Whether it's the rapid guitar-tapped riff in "Clone," the highly unique bass solo by Jean-Michel Labadie found in "04", or the nimble tempo and time signature shifts of "Blow Me Away You(niverse)", Gojira consistently impress with their instrumental skills. Mario Duplantier in particular makes an excellent showing; songs such as the double bass-dominant "Love" and the ever-shifting rhythms of "Space Time" show that his reputation as one of the 21st century's best metal musicians was already a foregone conclusion. The other members aren't slouches either, and when every member is in the pocket, they are just as tight and controlled in their performances as they are on later records. The bouncy bass grooves of "Space Time," the onslaught of crushing guitars and double bass on "Love," and the quick transitions between thrash and groove metal on "Deliverance" are excellent examples of this.

On top of this, one thing that really makes Terra Incognita stand out from Gojira's other albums is a certain willingness to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. The entire album plays out like a grab bag of sorts; pick any song and you'll likely get a different sound or feel. Because of this, the weird rapping of "Satan is a Lawyer" can sit comfortably beside the brutal death metal riffs of "Lizard Skin," and the absolutely crushing "Rise" can get preceded by a song as ominous and foreboding at "On the BOTA." Of course, this also works to the album's disadvantage since there's not much of a sense of cohesion. Terra Incognita works much more on a song-by-song basis rather than as one holistic experience, something that future Gojira albums (yes, even the divisive Magma) would improve greatly upon. Plus, failed experiments like the annoying screeching voices in "1990 Quatrillions de Tonnes" and the aforementioned rapping in "Satan is a Lawyer" proved that the band hadn't fully fleshed out their signature sound just yet.

Still, this is a really nice launching pad for one of the best bands of the 2000s. The production is suitably crushing and powerful (if a bit murky at times), and as I stated before, the combination of sheer brutality and fascinating experimentation makes it quite the unique experience in the Gojira catalogue. The band just needed a bit more cohesiveness and clearer vision to support their weighty ambitions. But hey, they were quick to rectify that!


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written by Necrotica | 05.05.2020


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 28 users
05.05.2020 - 21:08
musclassia
Congrats on the first review, looking forward to the rest of your series!

This album's never quite clicked for me - I'd say it's too extreme for my tastes, but there's other more extreme bands and albums that I like. I guess when I want to listen to Gojira, this level of brutality just doesn't have the same appeal as the more rounded sound they cultivated in the later half of the 2000s. Still, Blow Me Away You(niverse) is pretty great, particularly the outro - sounds massive on The Link Alive
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05.05.2020 - 21:26
Necrotica
Written by musclassia on 05.05.2020 at 21:08

Congrats on the first review, looking forward to the rest of your series!

This album's never quite clicked for me - I'd say it's too extreme for my tastes, but there's other more extreme bands and albums that I like. I guess when I want to listen to Gojira, this level of brutality just doesn't have the same appeal as the more rounded sound they cultivated in the later half of the 2000s. Still, Blow Me Away You(niverse) is pretty great, particularly the outro - sounds massive on The Link Alive


Thanks!

Yeah, it's definitely my least favorite Gojira album for sure. Granted, the fact that I still ranked it so high certainly shows how much I love the band, but this one is definitely the most inconsistent. Still I really love listening to it now and then just for how off-the-wall the experimentation is at times. Same goes for The Link in that regard
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05.05.2020 - 21:37
JoHn DoE
I haven't listened to Gojira or this album in quite some time. I need to change that soon.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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05.05.2020 - 21:38
DeliciousDishes
I think stuff like "Satan is a Lawyer" make this album really unique in their discography and I'd welcome some more whacky things back in their sound, rather than the atmosphere focused approach of the last albums. I agree that it's definitely a song by song kind of album though, however I also don't think that's a bad thing necessarily. Generally this is one of the Gojira records I like the least, but there's a lot to love here still.
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06.05.2020 - 15:14
MetalManic
Another fascinating tidbit is the fact that they have maintained their original lineup. That in an of itself is a marvel accomplishment
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MetalManic
www.MetalManic.com
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