Go on then, name a French Metal band…. apart from Gojira.
In terms of international profile the Ondres 4-piece are literally miles ahead of any of their countrymen, and with the release of this years L’Enfant Sauvage they staked their claim to a spot at the Metal world’s top table. The L’Enfant Sauvage UK tour has been getting some excellent reviews, and it’s fair to say it was one of CackBlabbath’s most eagerly anticipated shows of the year.
The first band on this feast of the best in French music were Klone, and although I’d not heard of them before, it’s fair to say I was blown away by their groove-metal sound. Not a band for hanging about clearly, they hit the stage at the proverbial 100mph with Frontman Yann Ligner throwing down the gauntlet…
“Good evening Manchester, are you ready to make some noise tonight ??”
“Are you ready to make some noise NOW ?”
Oh allrighty then.
There’s a lot to like about Klone. Really tight melodies and a strong groove, with the odd Slayer-esque crushing wall of noise thrown in to make sure everyone is paying attention. They were as strong an opening act as I’ve seen, and by the time they got to their cover of Bjork’s Army Of Me they’d certainly won over a large chunk of the audience.
Next on were Death Metallers Trepalium who, like Klone before them, showed there is a lot more to the French scene than just one big name. This is a band with a formidable reputation as a crushing live act, and on the evidence of tonight’s performance that reputation is well deserved.
Trepalium (appropriately enough named after an ancient torture device) aren’t just your dumb Death Metal band though, showing some distinctly melodic and even slightly progressive leanings.
Still f’kin loud though, and by the time they had finished there was more than one sore neck among the packed crowd at the barrier 🙂
Right, time for the main event….
The chants of “Gojira, Gojira, Gojira” rang out as the band took to the stage. The venue had filled up nicely and the atmosphere had that special “this is going to be good” feel about it.
But “good” doesn’t really do Gojira justice, they were f’kin awesome.
Right from the off this was a gallic masterclass in coursing riffs and (literally) thunderous percussion you could feel in your viscera. If ever there was music made to headbang to then this was definitely it.
It had been a while since Gojira had graced Manchester with their presence, but Joe Duplantier was obviously enjoying being back, reminiscing “The first time we were here was in Satan’s Hollow, You know it ?… What a shithole”
“Now we’re here in this big room full of people”
Gojira’s stage set was the epitome of “simple but effective”, nice to see someone still making the effort ;-). The band’s logo on the backdrop being lit to great effect at first, with more and more little elements being revealed as the show went on until, ultimately, they were playing in front of a night sky, complete with stars.
Gojira put on a frankly brilliant show, tracks like L’Enfant Sauvage and Oroborus are good on record but, like most proper heavy metal, need to be experienced live. It’s always nice to see a band who genuinely connect with the audience too, jokingly saying “Usually we have three songs left, but we’re only going to play one because you’re so damn quiet”.
Cue more chants of “Gojira… Gojira… Gojira…”, which must have done the trick as we got the promised three more songs.
This was without a doubt one of the best gigs I’ve been to all year. Klone and Trepalium showed there is much more to the French scene than Gojira, and Gojira showed that they are one of the best live bands on the planet.