Gojira – “Terra Incognita” [Album Review]

The Band:

  • Joe Duplantier – vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Christian Andreu – lead guitar
  • Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
  • Mario Duplantier – drums

Track List:

  1. Clone
  2. Lizard Skin
  3. Satan is a Lawyer
  4. 04
  5. Blow Me Away You (Niverse)
  6. 5988 Trillions de Tonnes
  7. Deliverance
  8. Space Time
  9. 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]
  16. Love [Live]
  17. Space Time [Live]

Buy the album here.


Gojira’s trademark heaviest matter in the Universe riffs are not quite there with their debut record, Terra Incognita. Yes, it is heavy, but like The Link which follows, Gojira hadn’t quite nailed their sound here. It doesn’t flow as well as the band’s later efforts and it simply goes on for too long thanks to an overstuffed track list.

Depending on what edition of the record you own, you will find either 14, or 17 tracks on there. Just as with many metal efforts from the early 2000s, the band just didn’t know what songs to cut – quantity over quality was certainly a tactic employed by many rock and metal outfits for a good decade. The version of the album I’m reviewing here contains 17 tracks and goes on for a good 77 minutes. Tracks such as the laborious “Satan is a Lawyer”, the pointless “04” and the nu metal inspired “On the B.O.T.A.” detract from the overall impression Terra Incognita leaves on you.

Thankfully, there are some barnstormers here. “Deliverance”, “Lizard Skin” and “Space Time” (which sounds the closest to the Gojira we know and love today) are all great tracks. “Clone”, “Fire is Everything” and “love” are all good, too. There are elements such as the smart layering of guitars, drums and bass throughout these six songs that are very close to the Gojira of today, but the writing isn’t quite as clever. Terra Incognita comes across as a long selection of songs, rather than a cohesive whole record – something the band does without match these days. Everything present in Terra Incognita is recognisably Gojira, but without the same technical nous the band has nowadays.

The record is reminiscent of an early Sepultura effort. Solid, full of killer moments and riffs, but not quite comfortable in its own skin. The overtly strange filler of tracks such as “1990 Quatrillions de Tonnes” show a band still early in their development. It adds nothing to the record, but it sounds like they had fun while creating it. Terra Incognita represents a young band finding their feet, and it does deliver some quality on the way thanks to the likes of “Deliverance” and “Space Time”.


7/10

Although unpolished and full of filler, there are moments to savour in Gojira’s debut record.

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