- Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
- Christian Andreu – guitar
- Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
- Mario Duplantier – drums
- Toxic Garbage Island
- A Sight to Behold
- Yama’s Messengers
- The Silver Cord
- All the Tears
- Adoration for None
- The Art of Dying
- Esoteric Surgery
- Wolf Down the Earth
- The Way of All Flesh
The Way of All Flesh is probably the heaviest Gojira album I’ve heard. It’s a brutal record that covers themes of death and our dying planet. It doesn’t come with much optimism and its darkness is all-consuming. This is uncompromising Gojira. Typically each of their albums come with equal parts beauty to their brutality, The Way of All Flesh is not the same.
There are fleeting moments of beauty to be found buried underneath a tidal wave of dark, crushing guitars and depressing lyrics, such as in the heavily techno “A Sight to Behold”, but these moments are few and far between compared to the likes of Magma, L’ Enfant Sauvage and From Mars to Sirius. Joe Duplantier must have been a pretty dark place when he wrote this record. Indeed, speaking of the meanings behind the album, he told Total Guitar that “The Way Of All Flesh is everything we have to go through until death. I’m 30 years old now and it’s the first time as a human being that I’ve thought about my own death philosophically, and the time that I have to spend here on earth. It’s something that we’re all concerned about. But it’s almost taboo. You don’t go to a party and talk about death, right?” Crikey.
The Way of All Flesh is the culmination of Joe Duplantier coming to terms with his own morality. Everyone has to die at some point and this record reminds you of this sombre fact. “The Art of Dying” offers the summary of the record. This 9:54 minute epic starts off with percussion and some sort of ritual voice that wouldn’t sound out-of-place in a Sepultura piece. It then builds into something spectacular, driven amazingly by the tribal-esque drumming of Mario Duplantier. The chugging, brutal riff over the top adding to the feeling that this is a big, bold track. Indeed, this is a song that represents Gojira at their though-provoking best. While it doesn’t contain the beauty that other tracks from the French masters do, it instead relies on a powerful sense of unease and intensity.
The Way of All Flesh is an intense record throughout, but perhaps no track more so than “Adoration For None”, which features an aggressive appearance from Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe. Another highlight of the album has to be “Toxic Garbage Island”. This unforgiving track talks of Global Warming and its dangers. Gojira have always carried with them a message of protecting the environment and Toxic Garbage Island is their brutal rallying call. There are plenty of tracks here that have become classics and necessary parts of Gojira’s live shows too. “Oroborous” and its swirling riff is probably the most famous of them all.
Gojira’s The Way of All Flesh might not share the broad appeal of their newer stuff, or even From Mars to Sirius, but this matters little when you’re enjoying its dark, brutal riffs and crushing choruses. The Way of All Flesh is a brilliant record, with plenty of quality throughout. Tracks such as “Toxic Garbage Island”, “Adoration for None” and the epic “The Art of Dying” are all classics for a band who have been growing monumentally in popularity over the years. I don’t think it’s possible for Gojira to release a weak record.
Darker than your typical Gojira, The Way of All Flesh is a crushingly dark and brutal record.