Progressive Metal | Sludge Metal
It is still weird to think that the seventh studio album from French heavy metal band Gojira would ultimately become one of my most anticipated albums of the year 2021, especially after my fears set up by the release of their single “Another World” in 2020. In a nutshell, that track simply felt like the most typical song that Gojira could’ve put out in my opinion; full of all the expected gojira-ism’s, and not exactly giving any sense of evolution from the band. And especially after the positive impact the band had caused with their 2016 album Magma, it was something that had to be done in order to keep this impact alive.
My anxieties towards Gojira were frankly turned on its head earlier this year, which marked the moment where Gojira were moving full-steam-ahead towards their newest album, titled Fortitude. With the release of their second teaser track “Born For One Thing”, which was accompanied by the first look at Fortitude’s album cover, Gojira began to grow on me more than ever. I absolutely loved the focus the band had towards presenting a sense of heaviness, without relying too heavily on tropes like breakdowns. This ultimately presented this track as something truly special, and set my hopes up towards the album being something that Gojira have put a tonne of thought towards.
But my excitement to finally listen to Fortitude truly skyrocketed, upon first listening to their following teaser “Amazonia”. Not only did the dynamic structure of this track make it a real treat to listen to, but the sentiment this track had really hammered down the supposed narrative of the album to come. A song that sheds light on the effects of deforestation, and the disturbance of indigenous tribes, “Amazonia” begun to weave a narrative that ultimately became very clear on full album; the planet is struggling, and we must fight and strive to turn the tides, if we truly want to survive.
I feel that this album does perfectly to reflect the bands activism, and it is incredibly clear to me that Gojira really poured their heart and soul into the conceptual strength carried by Fortitude.
Stylistically, the high-points of Fortitude absolutely deliver. I have always loved the ancient and almost godly feel that the band brings, through echoing vocals, and the impeccable flow and chemistry each of Gojira’s members share. I feel that these qualities are displayed incredibly well on this newest album.
Despite having so many awe-inspiring qualities, Fortitude, unfortunately, isn’t perfect. I would say that the biggest let-down comes in the form of “The Chant”; the fifth and final teaser track Gojira had to offer in the lead-up to Fortitude’s release. From the moment I listened to it, I couldn’t help but see it as a more shallow, and less interesting equivalent of their track “Shooting Star” (the opening single of their previous album). And seen as “The Chant” was paired with an interlude that shares the album’s title, it made for a sorely underwhelming representative of what is otherwise a near-perfect project.
But, oddly enough, the aforementioned “Another World” became a track that I came to appreciate a little more upon being a part of the full album. It is still far from my favourite moment on here, but it certainly felt keepable.
But when you ignore the few underwhelming moments on Fortitude, this album still does very well to reflect the anticipation I had set myself up with. Striking a great balance between awesome hard-hitters, and the more immersively somber tracks, this album presents Gojira as an incredible group.
Favourite Tracks: Born For One Thing | Amazonia | Sphinx
Least Favourite Track: The Chant
Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 9/10 | Atmosphere: 9/10
Uniqueness: 7/10 | Satisfaction: 8/10 | Narrative: 10/10