L’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner)
By Mike Delano
It’s been a great first half of the year for kick-ass album intros. None of this slow-build or first-song-is-a-wussy-instrumental stuff, these are the openings that let you know in the first ten seconds that the record is going to kill. Royal Thunder pulled it off a couple of months ago with a kick-down-the-door roar to open CVI, and now Gojira lays immediate waste to your ears with the super-heavy and instantly catchy riff of “Explosia.” And as you might expect, based on the sterling reputation of this French metal crew’s last two albums (2005’s From Mars to Sirius and 2008’s The Way Of All Flesh), L’Enfant Sauvage is no one-trick pony. It’s a beast from beginning to end, and one of its best traits is its efficiency. Whereas previous albums tended to be a little overlong, this one is more concise and is all the more punishing and memorable for it. The moods also seem to shift often, but the feel remains cohesive. It goes from contemplation (the first half of the title track) to despair (the shouldn’t-work-but-it-does robo vocals of “Liquid Fire”) to glimmers of hope (“The Wild Fire”) to boiling-over rage (the second half of the title track). Wherever it goes, though, it’s mesmerizing.