Gojira - The Way Of All Flesh review



Reviewer:
10

751 users:
8.61
Band: Gojira
Album: The Way Of All Flesh
Release date: October 2008


01. Oroborus
02. Toxic Garbage Island
03. A Sight To Behold
04. Yama's Messengers
05. The Silver Cord
06. All The Tears
07. Adoration For None
08. The Art Of Dying
09. Esoteric Surgery
10. Vacuity
11. Wolf Down The Earth
12. The Way Of All Flesh


I wrote in my review of The Link that every Gojira album has a certain atmosphere and feel to it; while the progressive groove/death formula remains, the vibe is ever changing. Well, with The Way Of All Flesh, it doesn't take too long to realize what vibe [band]Gojira[/I] are going for: frigid, tundra-like dread. Frontman Joe Duplantier once said in an interview with Total Guitar magazine that the entire album is the band's reflection on the concept of death and its many facets: the taboo of it, the inevitability of it, and the repercussions of it. And considering how doomy and dark much of the record is musically, there's no doubt that this concept had a huge impact on its writing and recording. From the very beginning, the tightly-coiled melodic guitar tapping of "Oroborus" immediately conjures images that suggest both vitality and despair in equal measure, and that's a pattern that continues throughout. But that's not the only tone "Oroborus" sets for the album... it also sets the tone by being an exceptionally high-quality opener for Gojira's best album.

Let me be clear here: as stated in the From Mars To Sirius review, the power and intensity have still not been lost here. "Toxic Garbage Island", "All The Tears", "Adoration For None" (featuring Randy Blythe!), and the title track are all absolute barn-burners that storm through the speakers with Gojira's usual ferocity and punishing brutality. In fact, both Joe and Mario Duplantier sound even angrier and more passionate than ever in their performances, with Mario offering some incredibly hard-hitting and ostentatious fills to match Joe's anguished screams and hellish growls. The atmosphere of the entire record is very oppressive and bleak, and yet somehow each member cuts through the darkness with a shocking level of precision and clarity. More dramatic and melodic tracks like "A Sight To Behold" and album highlight "The Art Of Dying" allow the band to continue expanding their musical dimensions without running too far off course, and the strangely mesmerizing interludes and backmasked outros really serve to deepen the album's sense of both melancholy and mystery. There's also a much stronger element of doom metal contained in this record, most notably through downtrodden songs like "Yama's Messengers", "Wolf Down The Earth", and the anthemic-yet-simplistic "Vacuity."

But I think "complete" is the word of the day here. In every sense, The Way Of All Flesh feels like the most complete Gojira record to me. There's no stone left unturned, no task unaccomplished, and there's absolutely no filler. Even the extended outros I critizicized on From Mars To Sirius have been given more purpose here on the songs they occupy. "The Art Of Dying" in particular has my favorite outro of any Gojira, the melodies really highlighting a sense of defeat that hits especially hard after such an eventful and pummeling first half. The title track is the same way, contrasting the chunky power chords and booming growls of its first half with a gorgeous cleanly-sung outro that perfectly illustrates the album's entire central conceit. The lyrics of this track speak of the willingness to let yourself go and accept that death is inevitable, almost as if Gojira are channeling the "acceptance" stage of grief and giving it their own take. It's worth noting that not every song deals as much with the "death" theme though; "A Sight To Behold" and "Toxic Garbage Island" continue the band's theme of environmental awareness (especially the latter track, as the title undoubtably suggests), and Joe also stated that the landscape of the band's hometown influenced much of the album's content. But it's also worth noting that even the environmental songs still exhibit that same feeling of fear and dread, lending to the cohesion and unity of the entire record.

The Way Of All Flesh is an album that I don't think Gojira could ever possibly top. This is the sound of a band at the absolute peak of their powers in every way; the writing, the musicianship, the atmosphere, the chemistry... all of it is here in full-force, and having such an interesting take on the age-old concept of life and death just makes it even more powerful. Gojira have always thrived on the way they reconcile their emotional weight, sheer power and impressive technicality, and The Way Of All Flesh is the formula finally reaching perfection after over a decade of recorded output. Gojira, congrats on making one of the best albums in all of modern metal, if not metal in general!


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 10

Written by Necrotica | 17.05.2020


 


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

Staff review by
jupitreas
Rating:
N/A
Without a doubt, Gojira is one of those bands that are being talked about a lot in the metal community these days and with good reason. The Frenchmen are taking part in progressively higher profile tours and their albums are achieving respectable notoriety all over the world, something that is made all the more impressive by the fact that the band's music is far from commercial sounding or easy to digest. The Way Of All Flesh, Gojira's latest album is supposed to be the next step in the band's ascent into super-stardom and I can say with a degree of certainty that it will serve this purpose successfully, even if it is not an entirely flawless release.

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published 15.10.2008 | Comments (19)


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 24 users
17.05.2020 - 19:56
DeliciousDishes
I think this is the first time I vehemently disagree with your review of a Gojira record.

While I really appreciate the more aggressive vocals (like on "Yama's Messengers") and a lot of the songs are some of my favourites of theirs, I think this record is kind of all over the place. It's dark, but then there's the whacky electronic vocals. Songwriting is tight and to the point on most songs, but then they put this annoying sound clip at the end of all the major songs. The instrumental interlude is the worst of their discography in my opinion. I also kind of have a real hatred for "Adoration for None", which I think kind of misses the mark on what I like about Gojira.

They wanted to do a more emotional thing than before, and in a lot of ways really succeeded. Again, the title track or songs like "Wolf Down The Earth" are really emotional to me. But I think there's just too much that they wanted, without having their focus nailed down yet. I think the emotional angle is topped by the follow up, From Mars To Sirius has tighter songwriting and less filler, with more groovy and catchy songs, The Link is more unique in it's sound, Terra Incognita experiments more.

If they had gone harder on the dark sound or the subject matter, I think it could really have been their best. Maybe cut songs like Esoteric Surgery, don't have a feat. song on there, cut that annoying part at the end of half the songs, etc. But as it stands it's kind of a jack of all trades, master of none situation to me. But maybe I'm alone in that idea.
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17.05.2020 - 20:37
musclassia
I think this record is a bit less consistent than From Mars To Sirius, but I agree that it's right up there, whilst I know quite a few people look down on it. For me, that trio of Yama's Messengers, The Silver Cord and All The Tears acts as a bit of an early lull in quality on the record (I know A Sight To Behold can be divisive but I like it); however, Adoration For None onwards makes for an incredibly strong second half (funnily enough, in contrast to DD, I think Wolf Down The Earth is the least interesting song in the latter half of the album, whilst I love Esoteric Surgery). I'd put it in the 8.5-9 range, so lower than you, but I always find it surprising the amount of naysayers there are for it, because I consider it to be the second in a double-header of albums that tower over anything else the band has done and serve as Gojira's peak.
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18.05.2020 - 12:52
DeliciousDishes
Written by musclassia on 17.05.2020 at 20:37

funnily enough, in contrast to DD, I think Wolf Down The Earth is the least interesting song in the latter half of the album, whilst I love Esoteric Surgery

I think that's actually most people. I will admit "Wolf Down The Earth" is one of the more boring songs on the album, but I like it for its emotional impact. I take it you didn't like L'Enfant Sauvage much? Cause I think that record is similar to that song.
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18.05.2020 - 15:34
musclassia
Written by DeliciousDishes on 18.05.2020 at 12:52

Written by musclassia on 17.05.2020 at 20:37

funnily enough, in contrast to DD, I think Wolf Down The Earth is the least interesting song in the latter half of the album, whilst I love Esoteric Surgery

I think that's actually most people. I will admit "Wolf Down The Earth" is one of the more boring songs on the album, but I like it for its emotional impact. I take it you didn't like L'Enfant Sauvage much? Cause I think that record is similar to that song.


I haven't listened to L'Enfant Sauvage as a whole in years actually - the one song from there that has really stayed with me is The Axe, but there's a few others I like as well (Explosia, title track, Gift of Guilt), and the times I did listen to it as a full album I moderately enjoyed it. However, at the time I felt it to be a big step down from The Way Of All Flesh, and I never had a big 'eureka' moment to cause me to revise my opinion. I might actually give it a revisit this afternoon now that you've mentioned it
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18.05.2020 - 18:09
Necrotica
To be honest, my opinion on L'Enfant is probably gonna be the one people like the least. I used to love it when it first came out, but these days I see it as a pretty sizeable step backwards. I think it's mostly attributed to how safe it is; I'm not necessarily against more streamlined music, but I just don't think the material is quite adventurous enough on that album
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18.05.2020 - 19:39
musclassia
Written by Necrotica on 18.05.2020 at 18:09

To be honest, my opinion on L'Enfant is probably gonna be the one people like the least. I used to love it when it first came out, but these days I see it as a pretty sizeable step backwards. I think it's mostly attributed to how safe it is; I'm not necessarily against more streamlined music, but I just don't think the material is quite adventurous enough on that album


I gave it another listen this afternoon - it was fine, but I did zone out during a few songs
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18.05.2020 - 22:18
DeliciousDishes
Written by Necrotica on 18.05.2020 at 18:09

To be honest, my opinion on L'Enfant is probably gonna be the one people like the least. I used to love it when it first came out, but these days I see it as a pretty sizeable step backwards. I think it's mostly attributed to how safe it is; I'm not necessarily against more streamlined music, but I just don't think the material is quite adventurous enough on that album

I think most people here have that opinion. Though the more main stream idea is that it's great.
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