The 10 Top Metal Albums of 2012

The french titans

French metal titans Gojira have a huge feature in Metal Hammer

Stolen Babies photographed in Los Angeles on 06/11/12.

Stolen Babies photographed in Los Angeles on 06/11/12.

Stolen Babies
It’s that time of year again. Time to cozy up ’round the fireplace, crack open a brewsky, and duke it out over who had the Best Metal Album of the Year. Without further ado, here they are:

10. CVI, Royal Thunder
The music of Royal Thunder, from Atlanta, GA, is almost not metal — and that’s not a bad thing. It’s a welcome reminder that music can be emotionally resonant without being sonically violent or lyrically graphic. The songs on CVI aren’t any of the things metal fans usually revere: they’re not “complicated” or “fast” or “brutal.” In that sense, this might be the most “challenging” album on this list. It’s more classic psychedelic rock than modern metal, and singer MLNY Parsons is like a dark siren from the ’60s reincarnate. She’s the crown jewel in a band that’s unafraid simply to be themselves. Trends be damned.

9. Resolution, Lamb of God
For over a decade, Lamb of God have been the “it” band in American heavy metal. Resolution is their seventh studio album, and it debuted at number three. At this point in their career, LOG are only competing against the bar they’ve set for themselves. Their groove metal is as powerful as ever, and they are terrifyingly strong live. Much has been said this year about singer Randy Blythe’s manslaughter charges in the Czech Republic; after seeing his astonishing command over the NYC audience at the Roseland Ballroom last month (where there were no fans onstage), we can only say: maybe unstable governments should be afraid.

8. Dethalbum III, Dethklok
Here’s the thing about Dethklok: the lyrics are ludicrous, but the music is no joke. Renaissance man Brendon Small takes on songwriting, guitar, and vocal duties — as though masterminding an animated series on Adult Swim wasn’t enough work already. Add Gene Hoglan (Death, Testament) on drums and Bryan Beller (Steve Vai) on bass, and it doesn’t matter that you’re singing about ejaculating fire: you’re going to sound badass. It’s likely no one in human history has or ever will again compose lyrics containing the phrase “epididymal retention” — except Dethklok.

7. Naught, Stolen Babies
Six years after their debut album (with four of those years spent in indefinite hiatus), Los Angeles band Stolen Babies have arrived back on the scene with more of their wonderfully bizarre cabaret metal. Here’s a fun riddle: what sound do you get when you take twin brothers who’ve played with The Dillinger Escape Plan, a reluctant theatre starlet, and an accordion and mix it with the Talking Heads and Edward Gorey-style illustration? Stolen Babies — and Naught lives in a whimsical world of their creation.

6. Yellow & Green, Baroness
“Beautiful” is a word you don’t often hear used to describe heavy metal, but in this instance, it’s totally appropriate. The third studio album by the Savannah, GA, band, Yellow & Green transcends metal, venturing into folk and psychedelic spaces. While Baroness have always explored genres outside of the “sludge” moniker that’s never done them justice, this record finds them pushing beyond their past efforts into musical territory that’s — gasp! — pretty. The instrumental “Green Theme” — with its shifts from a weeping, atmospheric guitar verse into a blossoming, harmonized guitar chorus — is one of the most gorgeous pieces of music you will hear this year.

5. Years Past Matter, Krallice
Dense and intricately composed, Years Past Matter, by Brooklyn’s Krallice, takes the listener on a journey through six songs, most of which run longer than 10 minutes each. The tracks are titled only by increasing repetitions of the letter “i”, as though someone’s cat applied paw to laptop key, and the results became the song names. (How does one distinguish between songs onstage when reading a setlist of tunes like “iiiiiiiiii” and “iiiiiiiii”?) The album pummels the brain with constantly changing time signatures amidst a wall of multi-layered guitars. Even if we can’t pronounce the songs, we admire the craftsmanship therein.

4. Harmonicraft, Torche
Here’s another metal anomaly: happy metal that’s not power metal. Harmonicraft seems infused by sunshine from Torche’s hometown of Miami. The band have been mislabeled sludge, perhaps due to their Southern origins, but there is nothing swampy about their up-tempo tunes with ample use of major chords (shocking!), which lend a cheerful mood to the album. Somehow it’s heavy and sunny at the same time — a surprising musical juxtaposition that’s refreshing amidst the doom and gloom of typical metal fare.

3. Son of Perdition, Wretched
The chilling, classical-style organ and chorale on “Oblivion,” the opening track of Son of Perdition, sets an intellectual tone for this third album by Charlotte, NC, death metal band Wretched. Yes, we just used the words “intellectual” and “death metal” in the same sentence. Now get this: the main chord progression of the punishing second track follows that of the choral opening. And then there’s a jazz outing in “The Stellar Sunset of Evolution,” a trilogy of instrumentals revealing the breadth of styles these musicians are capable of. It’s a stunning album.

2. Illud Divinum Insanus — The Remixes, Morbid Angel/various artists
Illud Divinum Insanus, the 2012 studio album by Morbid Angel, sucked. Inconceivably, the two-disc album of the same songs, remixed by electronic and industrial artists from around the globe, is fucking phenomenal. It’s as though inserting guitarist and vocalist Trey Azagthoth (one of the OGs of death metal in the ’80s) into electronic subgenres like dubstep has not only transformed one of Morbid Angel’s worst albums into a work of collaborative brilliance (with most of the credit going to the remixing artists); it’s also elevated electronic music into novel realms of darkness. We’d even venture to say it’s created a new genre (deathstep?). There may be metal purists reading this who think we’re kidding. We’re not.

1. L’Enfant Sauvage, Gojira
French technical death metal band Gojira are some of the most highly skilled musicians playing today. Brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier (rhythm guitar/vocals and drums, respectively) write elegant compositions with mind-bending song structures. In performance, their precision and athleticism are elite, rivaling classically trained professionals. The title track alone on L’Enfant Sauvage renders it worthy of this list. Have a listen to the contrasting themes just in that one song — the impenetrable rhythms in the beginning followed by the space created by the lead guitar. No one in metal writes music this complicated yet so perfectly balanced. From beginning to end, this album is peerless.


Gojira’s single ‘The Axe’ has now been inducted into the Death Match Hall of Fame

Mozart has the classic purity of light and the blue ocean; Gojira the fire of passion which belongs to the storms of air and sea, and while the soul of Mozart seems to dwell on the ethereal peaks of Olympus, that of Gojira inhabits the sauvage beauty of nature, riding fearless the storm-beaten sides of the tallest waves. Each represents a moment of life, each does us good. ~ AA

Metal masters Gojira (based in the Basque city of Baiona/Bayonne in France) have clobbered their way to Death Match immortality as the band’s single ‘The Axe’ has now been inducted into the Death Match Hall of Fame with four straight victories.

Gojira began their victorious trek by defeating the world’s most successful cartoon metal band, Dethklok, launching the stamina Gojira needed to ignite a path of utter destruction. Gojira then went on to face metalcore leaders As I Lay Dying, pulling off an incredible win against the new school giants.

The savage metal act went on to destroy legendary black metallers Enslaved, before facing yet another massive challenge against Cradle of Filth, which gave Gojira their fourth and final win.

“Praise be to Gojira and ‘The Axe,’ as we declare the band’s track as immortal in the Loudwire Death Match Hall of Fame.”

Gojira – The Axe (Lyric Video)



Tour – 31 concerts

Starting October 21, 2012 Moscow, Russia

Ending December 15, 2012 Bangalore, India

Gojira is a progressive metal band formed in 1996 in the Basque city of Baiona (Bayonne in french), France. The band was known as Godzilla until 2001. Gojira is composed of Joe Duplantier on vocals and rhythm guitar, his brother Mario Duplantier on drums, Christian Andreu on lead guitar and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass. Since its first studio album, Gojira has had no changes in lineup, and has released five studio albums, one live album, one single, and two DVDs.

Gojira, known for their environmentally-themed lyrics, “have risen from utmost obscurity during the first half of their career to widespread global recognition in the second, including regular mention amongst the genre’s leading new millennium upstarts”, according to Allmusic.

Band members

Joe Duplantier − vocals, guitar
Mario Duplantier − drums
Christian Andreu − guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass

Related post: Gojira – Mario Duplantier Drum Solo

First Impressions: Gojira – ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ Track-By-Track Guide

We got Features Editor Amit Sharma to run his critical ears, hands, tongue and whatever else he fancied over new Gojira album ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’, and we like what he has to say on it. Check out his ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ track-by-track guide below…

1. Explosia
It only takes Gojira 10 seconds to prove that they are once again back with a record that will melt your ears into a pool of bloody mess. All the classic flavours of the French titans are right where they should be – gargantually brutal riffs, cheeky pick scrapes, pounding rhythms and pulsating ambiences delivered with unwavering dedication. Fuck. Yes. The next hour is shaping up to be something very special indeed.

2. L’Enfant Sauvage
The title track is even faster. Whilst they maintain a perpetual brain-simmering heaviness, there are cleaner melodies that seem to leap out of nowhere and sit above the crushing rhythms, adding a cerebral progressive edge to their signature brand of skull-crushing metal. After three minutes comes a full-on blast of death that echoes the sheer brutality they visited on From Mars To Sirius.

3. The Axe
If Mastodon were more death metal influenced, this is what they would sound like… The Axe carries a searching, torch-bearing sense of pilgrimage with a chorus that is hellishly catchy and wouldn’t sound that out of place on Enslaved’s last record Axioma Ethica Odini. It’s a brooding journey of transcendental, dark spiritualism with background chanting that brings further gloom to this blackened religious experience.

4. Liquid Fire
Liquid Fire picks things up in tempo with apocalyptic sized riffs and Joe Duplantier’s instantly recognisable usage of guitar harmonics. The half-time break in the middle of the song is a great example of how anthemic Gojira can be when they want to.

5. The Wild Healer
The Wild Healer is a short, instrumental track that is pretty mellow for Gojira – it’s atmospheric and spacey. But you know this is just the quiet before the storm. Oh yes, there is a storm….

6. Planned Obsolescence
Planned Obsolescence is a total face-melter, echoing the gloriously heavy, fist-in-the-face noise of Morbid Angel’s Domination but with added intensity. There is another half time chorus on this scorcher that boasts an almost twisted bluesiness.

7. Mouth Of Kala
This is Gojira showing their groovey side, once again stepping out towards the progressive and not far off Mastodon’s heavier work. The blastbeat fury at the end is like what you’d hear if Opeth covered a Tool track in their own style.

8. The Gift Of Guilt
This opens with a tapping lick that is part Angus Young and part Eddie Van Halen, though there’s nothing classic rock about it. The massive chorus here could be the catchiest Gojira have ever written.

9. Pain Is A Master
Another ambient excursion off into more progressive realms. Pain Is A Master lures the listener to a false sense of security… this lullaby turns into a death metal nightmare very, very quickly.

10. Born In Winter
The shimmering structures of Born In Winter are a definite highlight on this record, sculpting evocative manifestations and lofty musical circles around the listener.

11. The Fall
The Fall starts off like something off Nine Inch Nail’s The Fragile before evolving into an acid-marinated anthem that is dark, psychedelic and sickeningly heavy. Welcome back, Gojira!

‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ is released June 25 via Roadrunner.

Gojira’s 2012 Tour Dates

French metal band Gojira are set to release their fifth LP, L’Enfant Sauvage, on June 26 2012 via their new label Roadrunner Records. L’Enfant Sauvage, French for “The Wild Child,” serves as their long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s The Way of All Flesh, and was co-produced/engineered by Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier and Josh Wilbur (who was behind the boards for Lamb of God’s Wrath and Resolution).

Gojira are currently touring throughout Europe on their own, and will head to the states in August to begin a US tour with Dethklok and Lamb of God. The three acts will hit Chicago on August 21 for a performance at The Congress Theater; and New York on Aug 29 for a performance at ROSELAND BALLROOM. Advance tickets are on sale.

May 23 VALLE HOVEN – Oslo, Norway
May 26 GETAFE SONISPHERE – Madrid, Spain
May 27 LE PHARE – Toulouse, France
May 28 BOUTIQUE – Werchter, Belgium
May 29 LA COOPERATIVE DE MAI – Clermont-Ferrand, France
May 30 LES RIVES DU LAC – Yverdon-Les-Bains, Switzerland
Jun 01 ROCK IM PARK – Nuremberg, Germany
Jun 02 ROCK AM RING – Wershofen, Germany
Jun 03 URSYNALIA FESTIVAL – Warsaw, Poland
Jun 04 KALASATAMA SONISPHERE – Helsinki, Finland
Jun 06 OPEN AIR – Horsens, Denmark
Jun 08 ROKAJ FESTIVAL – Zagreb, Croatia
Jun 09 VAINSTREAM FESTIVAL – Münster, Germany
Jun 10 NOVAROCK – Nickelsdorf, Austria
Jun 11 NTC – Bratislava, Slovakia
Jun 13 PLENEN BERGEN CALLING – Bergen, Norway
Jun 15 COPENHELL FESTIVAL – Copenhagen, Denmark
Jun 16 METALTOWN – Gothenburg, Sweden
Jun 24 GRASPOP FESTIVAL – Dessel, Belgium
Jun 25 SHEFFIELD CORPORATION – Sheffield, United Kingdom
Jun 26 O2 ACADEMY 2 – Birmingham, United Kingdom
Jun 27 ISLINGTON ACADEMY – London, United Kingdom
Jun 29 EHZ FESTIVAL – Hélette, France
Jul 01 WITH FULL FORCE FESTIVAL – Lobnitz, Germany
Aug 01 WAMU THEATER – Seattle, WA
Aug 02 QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATER – Vancouver, Canada
Aug 04 BIG 4 – Calgary, Canada
Aug 05 SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE – Edmonton, Canada
Aug 07 CONVENTION CENTRE – Winnipeg, Canada
Aug 09 EAGLES BALLROOM – Milwaukee, WI
Aug 10 LC PAVILION – Columbus, OH
Aug 11 HEAVY TO – Toronto, Canada
Aug 12 HEAVY MTL – Montreal, Canada
Aug 14 DELTA PLEX – Grand Rapids, MI
Aug 15 FAMILY ARENA – St Louis, MO
Aug 19 MIDLAND THEATER – Kansas City, MO
Aug 22 COMPUWARE ARENA – Detroit, MI
Aug 23 STAGE AE – Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 24 TWCU AMPHITHEATER – Charlotte, NC
Aug 26 PIER 6 PAVILION – Baltimore, MD
Aug 30 TSONGAS ARENA – Lowell, MA
Sep 04 HARD ROCK LIVE – Orlando, FL
Sep 05 TABERNACLE – Atlanta, GA
Sep 08 SUNKEN GARDEN – San Antonio, TX

Gojira “L’Enfant Sauvage” Song Review — 5 out of 5 stars

11 May 2012 – —Rick Florino – Artist Direct

“I’ve run away from institutions,” growls Gojira singer and guitarist Joe Duplantier on “L’Enfant Sauvage”.

The first single and title track of Gojira’s fifth album and first for Roadrunner Records wonderfully exists outside of any and all institutions and conventions. In that sense, the translation of the title “The Wild Child” is more than a little a propos.

Merging a staggering riff and double bass combo into one polyrhythmic storm the track immediately comes to life. Suddenly, a needling melody kicks in as Joe ruminates upon existence in this world. Every element converges masterfully into a polyrhythmic storm. Mario Duplantier’s drumming seesaws like a ship in a hurricane, while Christian Andreu adds depth to the six-string assault and Jean-Michel Labadie bolts down a thunderous bass line.

Joe’s voice hits succinctly, baring an elegant grit in tandem with his axe work. On par with Metallica, Tool, and Mastodon, Gojira are the next level of thinking man’s heavy music. “L’Enfant Sauvage” meant to be pondered over and philosophized about—while kicking your fucking teeth all over the ground.

This isn’t just the next chapter for Gojira. It’s the next for heavy metal at large. Get ready for L’Enfant Sauvage on June 26, 2012.

—Rick Florino

GOJIRA – l’enfant sauvage – Official Video 2012

Published on May 24, 2012 by TheOfficialgojira

We’re proud to present the first music video taken from L’Enfant Sauvage. Anne Deguehegny had already worked with us on the live visuals and we wanted her to direct one of our music videos. This young and gifted French director has a powerful, sensitive and poetic vision.

Réalisation: Anne Deguehegny
NEW ALBUM “l’enfant sauvage”

Nous sommes fier de vous présenter notre tout premier clip de L’enfant sauvage. Après avoir collaboré avec Anne Deguehegny pour le visuel live, nous voulions travailler avec elle sur un clip. Cette jeune et talentueuse videaste française a un univers artistique puissant, sensible et poétique vision.