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Gojira – Albany, New York – Live Review + Photos – October 30, 2021

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There is a reasonable case to be made that Gojira may be the most transformative, influential and important band in heavy music over the course of the past twenty-five years.

Much like ground breaking heavy bands before them such as Slayer and Metallica, Gojira have steadily pushed the envelope of not only their own music but the genre of heavy music itself.

Early career records such as Terra Incognita, The Link and From Mars to Sirius not only challenged what many believed heavy music should be, they also laid the ground work for albums that may ultimately end up altering the landscape of heavy music for generations to come.

Gojira’s last three studio releases 2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage, 2015’s Magma and the band’s most recent album, the resplendent Fortitude, have set the band’s course on the exact kind of trajectory that Hell Awaits, Reign in Blood and South of Heaven did for southern California’s thrash masters Slayer in the mid to late 1980’s.

In other words, each of the band’s last three records not only built upon the framework of Gojra’s signature sound and approach to making music, each subsequent studio effort has also been its own beast with a pulsating heart and soul all their own.

2020’s Fortitude is nothing short of triumph as it encapsulates everything Gojira seemingly has been working towards throughout their entire career.

The record is a combustible amalgamation of earlier sounding material from records such as the more brutish and forceful The Way of All Flesh, mixed with the same kind of progressive complexities and sonics that can be found on Gojira’s more recent releases such as Magma.

JOE DUPLANTIER – GOJIRA – ALBANY CAPITAL CENTER – ALBANY, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 30, 2021

In an age where most bands struggle to produce a mere single off an album worth touring on, Gojira have managed to push into existence an entire record in Fortitude that finds the listener discovering something new each and every time they press play.

Fans worldwide have eagerly anticipated the band being able to properly tour on Fortitude for over a year now and this past weekend in Albany, New York, Gojira did everything in their power to reward the dedicated masses for their enduring patience.

Any fan of Gojira had to be beyond stoked in Albany not only by the evening’s set list but how fortunate they were to be able to share such an intimate setting with the band due to the venue’s, lets just say, unique stage configuration.

Initially some may have been concerned upon entering the main stage area in Albany, as it looked as though the venue’s set up was more aligned with Gojira giving a power point presentation than it was the band performing an actual concert.

Fortunately, once the music began the stage’s close and unique proximity to the crowd as well as the acoustics of the room ended up providing a high quality live experience for all those in attendance.

Despite the fact that the music Gojira plays is heavy in nature, their live performances often come across as these deeply personal and even quite joyous experiences.

Gojira’s records also provide the listener with the opportunity to peel back the many layers and intricate nuances that exist within their music’s DNA.

However, it’s only in a live setting where those emotions are allowed the freedom to expel themselves from inner thought, to unbridled restraint.

All of that visceral emotion their music can spur on is fueled that much more by the star of the show on Gojira’s current tour, Fortitude.

GOJIRA – ALBANY CAPITAL CENTER – ALBANY, NEW YORK – OCTOBER. 30, 2021

Whether it was the tight dynamics of songs such as show and Fortitude album opener “Born for One Thing”, the crunching Sepultura-esque groves of “Amazonia”, or the progressive technicality of “Another World,” all of the Fortitude material flat-out floored the audience in Albany.

Fans reacted to the songs off of Fortitude as though they were as intimately familiar with the new record as they were some of Gojira’s more beloved and much older releases.

A few years back the Magma tour featured over the top production values which allowed the band’s performances to come across as one part art installation, one part live music experience.

However, this time around whether it be due to being budget conscious in the wake of today’s touring landscape or Gojira simply choosing to put the music out in the forefront, the results in Albany proved to be as palpable as any of the band’s performance in the past.

Gojira die hards in Albany must have been ecstatic that the band chose to bring out long time classics such as “Backbone” from 2005’s From Mars to Sirius and the title track from 2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage for a twirl.

Additionally what Gojira fan couldn’t have been elated to both see and hear the band perform favorites that included “Toxic Garbage Island,” “Flying Whales” and eventual show closer, “Vacuity.”

MARIO DUPLANTIER GOJIRA – ALBANY CAPITAL CENTER – ALBANY, NEW YORK – OCT. 30, 2021

To date, Fortitude has hardly been toured on. Thus it’s safe to assume that fans spanning the globe are likely going to be able to come together and celebrate all things Gojira with one another for at least the next twelve months or so.

Gojira already has the rescheduled Deftones tour on their calendar for next year as well as myriad of other dates whose list is only likely to grow as 2022 draws closer.

Should you be a fan of Gojira’s music you’d be doing yourself quite the disservice by missing out on experiencing the Fortitude material performed live.

I assure you not only will you walk away from your next Gojira live show grinning from ear to ear, you’re likely to pull out your phone in the parking lot to try and find out when and where the band is playing next.

To the four lads from Onders, France who at this very moment could be watching the landscape of the United States pass them by in fleeting blurs and waves from the windows of their tour bus, I want to leave you with one simple but heartfelt statement from Albany, New York.

Thank you.

PHOTOS – GOJIRA – ALBANY CAPITAL CENTER – ALBANY, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 30, 2021

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