Gojira – Fortitude (Review)

Gojira Fortitude

When it comes to bands that have been relevant for some time but have only recently busted through to the ears of many more listeners for one reason or another, you can’t go far without mentioning Gojira. The progressive metal act was once one of the best kept secrets of the style with their sound helping cultivate the playlists and songwriting habits of many aspiring bands out of the underground since their debut in 2001, surely bringing great inspiration to the boom of technical death metal bands we find ourselves in the midst of today. But, it was with their last album, “Magma”, that Gojira properly burst forth from the underground in such fashion that was no less than explosive. It was one of the most talked-about albums that year with good reason, and a follow-up was hotly anticipated. It took a little while longer than many of us were expecting (the planet stopping for a year will do that), but it’s five years after its predecessor and two decades after Gojira’s entrance, it is now time for “Fortitude” to wash over the world of metal without prejudice.

I remember when the previous album came out that there was a little bit of commotion about Gojira suddenly becoming “mainstream” with a number of their death metal elements falling off in the overall performance, but it led the way for Gojira to tackle a slightly different sound that more than perfectly fits them. It is undoubtedly with “Fortitude” that trajectory is only continued as it is in every single one of these eleven tracks that Gojira seeks to flesh out that new identity while still remaining true to their ideals as a band, and it worked out almost too well. An overall somewhat more accessible album, it is with “Fortitude” that Gojira manages to still lurch forth with the progressive sound that is still undeniably their own as it’s wreathed with all the twists and turns in the songwriting and power behind that progressive edge that’s become all but synonymous with Gojira, but it’s with a renewed sense of catchiness and immense melody that really sets this record apart from the rest. That’s not at all to say its predecessors lacked melody or catchiness in any regard, but they take center stage more than anything else for the most of “Fortitude” such that it’s clear they were a big focus of this record, and it should go without saying that Gojira pulls it off seemingly without breaking a sweat. It’s all engrossing with the trademark Gojira flair permeating every possible moment of the release, and it’s by the end of “Fortitude” that I’d be surprised to see any fan not wanting to head right back into it in order to be mystified by the magic that Gojira has somehow managed to craft for the seventh full-length in a row, only adding to their already massive reputation and well-earned status as one of the reasons why French metal is on the rise in every regard.

While this effort may not be as heavy as what many people would like to see done by Gojira given their history, one cannot sit here and deny the simple fact that what’s been done here is anything short of delicious. “Fortitude” has so much of what has made Gojira a treat to behold right from the beginning, but it’s with their continuation down a slightly different path that the act proves to be so much more than comfortable staying in their lane, but, rather, willing to try something new to challenge themselves as a band and as musicians. And so far, they’re killing it.

You can purchase and listen to “Fortitude” via multiple sources here, and listen to the single, “Amazonia”, via YouTube below.

Track Listing:
1. Born For One Thing
2. Amazonia
3. Another World
4. Hold On
5. New Found
6. Fortitude
7. The Chant
8. Sphinx
9. Into The Storm
10. The Trails
11. Grind