Our top 10 Gojira songs introduce us to a French band famed for its progressive and technical death metal styles. The band was formed in 1996 by brothers Mario and Joe Duplantier initially as a technical death metal act. Mario and Joe tagged in nineteen-year-old Christian Andreu, who like them, was a passionate fan of Metallica. Practice makes perfect is a mantra deep within the band’s ethos, having the trio start their career by practicing with guitars and drums at the Duplantier brothers’ garage. Soon, the trio recruited Andreu’s friend, bassist Alexandre Cornillon to the lineup. The band settled for the name Godzilla inspired by the 1954 movie Godzilla. Cornillon left the band after the release of its demo albums Victim (1996) and Possessed (1997), having him replaced by a young bassist Jean-Michel Labadie.
The band won the Tremplin Ultrasons regional festivals in early 1999, helping it become a reputable supporting band to Immortal, Edge of Sanity, Cannibal Corpse, and Impaled Nazarene. Thanks to tours with Immortal that the band gained national exposure building a reputation in the metal scene for its incendiary riffs. A third and fourth demo album followed only to have Gojira start thinking of a full-length album in 2000. The band’s debut album, Terra Incognita (2001), came with the modification of the band’s moniker to Gojira. While the band had stayed for quite some while without releasing its debut album, vocalist Joe revealed that the album was recorded in ten days. This followed the writing and planning for the debut album since the band’s inception.
The band went from utmost obscurity to a surging wave in the metal scene, receiving widespread global recognition. Drummer Mario revealed that the band’s metal vibes are a build-up from pushing the limits of inspiring artists such as Morbid Angel, Death, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, and Sepultura. Mario has established himself as the anchor to the band throughout the band’s seven studio albums, thanks to his award-winning precision drumming. Here are the top 10 Gojira songs that combine metal’s darkness with limitless lyrical creativity from the band.
#10 – Magma
Opening up our top 10 Gojira songs is the raging hit “Magma,” the album title song of Gojira’s sixth studio album. The song takes on some of the most intense moments centered around personal anguish, like most of the releases in the album. Magma (2016) came at a time when Joe and Mario’s mother passed away after battling cancer. The loss of their mother inspired Gojira’s spiritual direction on the album. Creativity with the title had the band put the sun on the cover, which symbolically stood for the big bang, which is scientifically referred to as the source of life. Joe revealed in an interview that the word “Magma” best suited the album name, having it turn to “Mama” when you remove the letter ‘G’ which represents the band’s name.
#9 – The Shooting Star
“The Shooting Star” is yet another impressive hit from the band’s album Magma (2016). Released as the album’s opening track, it is with no doubt that “The Shooting Star” offered the album direction. According to Joe, the song’s title alludes to the spark in the sky that every artist chases without any real reason. He also revealed that the song had a double meaning having it also allude to losing someone dear and seeing the soul of the departed flying in the sky. In this context, the departed soul was the mother.
#8 – Another World
After a break of four years from releasing new songs, Gojira returned with a bang thanks to the hit “Another World.” The song was released in the band’s album, Fortitude, having it feature a Planet of the Apes-inspired video. “Another World” questions whether humanity is doomed or will we survive nature’s fury. The song showcases quite an array of atmospheric and melodic elements that the band featured in the previous album, Magma (2016).
#7 – Explosia
Written by Mario and Joe Duplantier, “Explosia” is one of the dazzling hits from the band’s album L’Enfant Sauvage. The song explodes from its haunches and then roars with Joe starting the lengthy narrative about a person’s gentle fight against self-depravity. “Explosia” features rip-roaring guitars that help the song achieve an engaging and expansive soundscape that complements Joe’s growls.
#6 – Amazonia
Other than releasing spellbinding songs, Gojira has stood unique in the metal scene by its unswerving and proactive environmental activism. Like “Global Warming” and “Toxic Garbage Island,” the song “Amazonia” is used to address environmental issues head-on. In the song, Gojira brings the Amazonian crisis to the forefront, leaving no stone unturned in showing how the destruction of the Amazon Forest has impacted its society, especially the indigenous communities.
#5 – Born for One Thing
“Born for One Thing” is one of the best Gojira songs from the band’s album, Fortitude. This album’s lead single finds the band singing about taming and facing their fears. Gojira has the song filled with philosophical and religious qualities in a thesis sentiment that states that the primary goal in life is to conquer the fear of death. The culmination of the song brings forth the notion that what unites every human being is our mortality.
#4 – L’Enfant Sauvage
“L’Enfant Sauvage” is the title track of the band’s fifth studio album. The song’s title is a French name that translates to “The Wild Child.” Gojira was inspired to record the song by a 1970 film with the same name. The film features the story of Victor of Aveyron, a child who spent slightly more than a decade alone in the woods with little or no contact with human beings.
#3 – Born in Winter
Gojira proved the member’s capability to pen down catchy choruses without comprising on the grit with the album L’Enfant Sauvage (2012). A perfect example of this is the release “Born in Winter,” which is one of the quieter but more introspective releases from the album. The song is delivered in an animated video that explores the circle of life and death, showing the complex link between the two.
#2 – Silvera
“Silvera” is yet another single from the band’s album, Magma. The song’s lyrics allude to societal conformity. Specifically, Gojira sought to bring to light the anguish that people who fail to conform and require others to do so feel and cause. The song’s lyrics also take note of the suicides of people who don’t conform to societal standards. “Silvera” adds to the bundle of emotions spelled in the album Magma.
#1 – Stranded
Number one of our top 10 Gojira songs is the intoxicating hit “Stranded,” featured on the album, Magma. The song features some of the best growls from vocalist Joe Duplantier. Some have described Joe’s growls as growing sickness in the heart. This matches the song’s lyrics which Joe wrote to express the pain and helplessness the Duplantier brothers went through after losing their mother after a year of illness.
Photo: Morten Skovgaard from Copenhagen, Denmark, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons