Gojira: Fortitude-2021.

Gojira are a French heavy metal band from Ondres. Founded as Godzilla in 1996, the band’s lineup—consisting of brothers Joe (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Mario Duplantier (drums), Christian Andreu (lead guitar), and Jean-Michel Labadie (bass)—has been the same since the band’s name change to Gojira in 2001. Gojira have been known for their style of progressive and technical death metal, and their spiritual and environment-themed lyrics. They have gone “from the utmost obscurity during the first half of their career to widespread global recognition in the second”.[1]

Gojira’s first two albums, Terra Incognita (2001) and The Link (2003), and powerful live performances established their reputation as a leading band of the French metal scene. The band then released the critically acclaimed album From Mars to Sirius (2005), which featured “Backbone”, “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe”, and “Flying Whales”, receiving exposure in the British metal press. Subsequently, Gojira signed with Prosthetic, the label that gave them visibility in North America. The follow-up album, The Way of All Flesh (2008), marked the first time Gojira charted on the Billboard 200.

In 2011, Gojira signed to Roadrunner Records. The band entered a period of experimentation and released two consecutive albums that reached the Top 40 on the Billboard 200, L’Enfant Sauvage (2012) and Magma (2016). Gojira would put aside their death metal in favor of concision on Magma, an album which found the band breaking through commercially, introducing their music to a broader audience. With the DIY ethic, Gojira produce their albums themselves at their own recording studios in France and New York City.

Gojira have released seven studio albums, three live DVDs and are the first French band to have topped the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart in 2016. The band are considered one of France’s most successful exports in the US. Gojira have received Grammy nominations for Best Rock Album for their album Magma and Best Metal Performance for its single “Silvera”. The band holds the record for the loudest concert and sound ever recorded at the Stade de France. Throughout their career, Gojira have been involved in environmental and animal rights activism.

Early years and Terra Incognita (1996−2002)

Joe and Mario Duplantier, two brothers, aged nineteen and fourteen respectively, decided to start a band based on technical melodic death metal and recruited nineteen-year-old Christian Andreu.[2][3] “A passionate guitarist, like us, of Metallica,” said Mario Duplantier.[2] They began practicing together their guitars riffs and drum parts in the Duplantier family garage where the group had quickly set up a studio,[4][5] in their hometown of Ondres,[5][2] in the south of the Landes department,[6] at the gates of Bayonne.[7][2] Soon after, they enlisted bassist Alexandre Cornillon from Hossegor,[8] a friend of Andreu.[3] Joe Duplantier remembered that “[w]e wanted to go fast and strong. We had no plan, no pressure. … We did not even have a [band] name”.[9] By then, the Duplantier brothers were each playing in their metal bands that they had started two years previously.[10] Both were already regarded for their abilities.[11][10]

In 1996, they settled on the name Godzilla.[3][12] When deciding on a choice for a band name, the idea came from the original 1954 Godzilla black and white film, as they appreciated “the myth of the big furious atomic lizard. … It was in our heads a symbol of devastating power”.[13] The band’s first performance was effectuated four months after the formation,[10] playing in the bars of Bayonne.[4] They would sell cassettes at shows and to their friends.[10] Delivering a straight-ahead death metal with elements of thrash metal,[14] Godzilla self-released a pair of demo albums, Victim in 1996,[7][5] and Possessed in 1997,[7][12] and toured throughout the southwest of France.[15]

Cornillon left the band in [January] 1998 and was replaced by Jean-Michel Labadie;[16] a “young bass player very active on the Basque scene”.[2]

In early 1999, Godzilla won the tremplin Ultrasons (English: Ultra Sound springboard), a regional festival aiming to encourage young emerging artists.[17] In September 1999, Godzilla supported Cannibal CorpseEdge of SanityImpaled Nazarene, and Immortal in France.[7][18] During the tour with Immortal, their exposure spread all over the country, and they began to acquire a reputation on the French underground metal scene for their “incendiary riffs”.[2] The band continued their progress and recorded Saturate, their third demo album released in the fall of 1999.[15][12]The Gojira’s logo first appeared in 2001 on the album Terra Incognita

In 2000, the band released Wisdom Comes, a fourth homemade demo album.[19][12] However, at the same time, they immersed themselves in the songwriting for what they intended to be their first full-length album, a project planned since 1996. Joe Duplantier said that he was inspired by Mike Oldfield when writing the songs.[20]

In 2001, legal problems forced Godzilla to change its name.[21] The band changed their name to “Gojira”, the rōmaji spelling of Godzilla.[22][12]

Enticed by the album’s production quality of a metal band from Paris, Gojira moved on the spur of the moment in the same studio in Brussels to record their debut album, Terra Incognita.[9][23] Before entering the recording studio, they solicited friends and family members to support the budget through donations.[9] Although Joe Duplantier admitted that Gojira was taking a long time to compose, the recording process lasted ten days.[23][9]Gojira performing in Niort, France during the Terra Incognita Tour in October 2002, from left to right: Christian AndreuMario DuplantierJoe Duplantier, and Jean-Michel Labadie.

After completing the recording and mixing by Stephan Kraemer at Impuls Studios, Gojira had neither label, nor record company, nor management.[3][13][23] Moreover, the labels deemed them “too ambitious” for their style of music—quoted as “a real war machine”—and told them to stop death metal and sing in French. Joe Duplantier said: “[t]he door was clearly closed”.[2] The band understood then that the best way to get out of the deadlock was to get structured, and then launched their own label named Gabriel Editions via a limited liability company, becoming autonomous and consequently able “to produce their music from A to Z”.[24] To “manage the band’s activities, financing everything ourselves”, said Andreu.[2]

In March 2001, Gojira released their debut studio album, Terra Incognita, under Gabriel Editions, which “made significant waves”.[25][1] Do-it-yourself enthusiasts,[2] Gojira had a pallet of 1,500 albums delivered to Duplantier’s parents’ kitchen, and then they went to supply a small store in Bayonne to sell them.[9][26] Subsequently, Gojira signed a contract with Sphere Management, and Richard Gamba became their manager.[3][13] Promoting the release of Terra Incognita, Gojira went on a country-wide tour, sharing the stage with French death–thrash metal–crossover acts such as Hertz and Silence,[27] Nihil, No Flag, Oversoul,[23] Scarve,[28] and Swiss grindcore band Nostromo, among others.[29] In July, they performed at Dour Festival in Belgium as one of the opening acts.[30] Later, they signed with the independent Boycott Records–Next Music for national distribution.[13][15][24]

In November 2002, Gojira became the owner of a recording studio also home to their rehearsal room,[31] named Le Studio Des Milans, and located in the heart of the Landes forest.[2][24] Initially, the studio was a barn in ruin that they entirely rebuilt—mainly the roof and the walls,[32] over two years of work between tours and albums.[33][34] On the return on investment, Joe Duplantier stated that “[t]he budget is important for this [second] record, but for the next one, it will be minimal”.[24]

The Link and From Mars to Sirius (2003−2007)

The composition of the second studio album, The Link, would last a year.[20] Mario Duplantier said of his approach on the album that “it was a period during which I wanted to play fast: I was starting to master well the grind parts and the double bass pedal“.[26] The newly purchased equipment had still not been delivered to the Studio Des Milans, while the recording start date for the album had already passed; it was hastily[26] self-produced and recorded with the band’s live engineer, Laurentx Etchemendy.[20][15] The songs were conceived without delay on the vocals nor reverb. Joe Duplantier described that it was “all very raw and very honest”.[20] In April 2003, Gojira released The Link, of which 2,500 were shipped to French stores,[26] via the same self-distribution as for Terra Incognita.[35][24] The Link was well-received upon its release,[36] which led the band to tour across metropolitan France (also known as the Hexagone), and beyond its borders,[37] including Bilbao, Swiss, and Belgium, allowing the band to gain recognition.[38][39] In June, Gojira played at the Furyfest, buried in a lineup of hardcore, in a festival created before the Hellfest Summer Open Air emergence.[40]

In March 2004, Gojira played alongside Loudblast, No Return, Scarve, The Old Dead Tree and Garwall, in a sold-out venue dedicated that night to French metal bands at La Locomotive in Montmartre in Paris.[41][42] Renowned for their live performances, Gojira was developing a steadily growing fan base at the time.[43] A reviewer described Gojira’s concert as “timed, with millimeter precision, of a phenomenal power… With a gigantic sound! An interpretation outside the norm”, adding, “the Landais cataclysm has just struck on La Locomotive”.[42] In April 2004, the band released a live concert DVD of The Link Tour, titled The Link Alive,[1] which was filmed by a team of seventeen cameramen during a sold-out show with an audience of 800 in Bordeaux in 2003.[44] The Link Alive, self-produced and self-distributed, was sold voluntarily without the support of a major distributor,[1][45] and was followed by the album version limited to 500 copies.[1] In July 2004, Terra Incognita and The Link had sold 7000 and 8000 copies, respectively.[46] The Link era would eventually end after a successful tour of almost two years and facing significant financial difficulties.[47] Gojira signed with Mon Slip label, which allowed them to have a higher financial advance,[36] followed by a contract with French-based Listenable Records, in December 2004.[48]Gojira in Nantes, France, during the Sirius Tour in October 2005

Gojira entered the Studio Des Milans to compose their third album, From Mars to Sirius, wanting neither pressure nor obligation but keeping as only objectives an “irreproachable sound” and a focus on a musical technicality.[36] Joe Duplantier, absorbed into the notion of other worlds and dimensions, contemplating outer space, devoted his time to reading The Celestine Prophecy as well as books by author Baird T. Spalding and others of spiritual seekers.[20] Mario Duplantier commented that the concept behind the lyrics and the album title, written by his brother, is “an allegory of his desire to see humanity go from a destructive and masculine energy, symbolized by the warrior Mars, to an energy based rather on emotion and femininity”.[49] It took seven months of work to compose the album,[36] with an overall sound reinforced by the involvement of Labadie and Andreu.[26][50] In April 2005, the band appeared at the twenty-ninth edition of Le Printemps de Bourges, performing “Backbone” and “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe” from their forthcoming album.[51][52] In September 2005, Gojira released their self-produced album, From Mars to Sirius, which marked a clear evolution and received positive reviews from French music critics[53] naming it “their masterpiece”.[54] Fifteen thousand albums were shipped to French stores.[26] The album entered the Top Albums chart in France at No. 44 where it remained for one week; it stayed in the chart for three weeks.[55][1] Following the release of the album, Gojira embarked on a tour across the country, Belgium, and Holland.[35] That year, Listenable Records re-released The Link album.[48][56]

In 2006, the “surging wave Gojira” seduced London journalist Lucy Williams of Kerrang! magazine, who then wrote a laudatory article about the album.[2][28] In February, the band performed a crucial concert at the Élysée Montmartre in Paris where a crowd of journalists had gathered for the event.[2] At the end of that month, The Link Alive DVD had sold over 5,000 copies, while From Mars to Sirius had sold between 12,000 and 13,000 copies in France alone. According to Labadie, they earned their living mainly through constant touring.[35] In May 2006, after 300 concerts in France and surrounding territories, the band signed a contract with American label Prosthetic Records—into an “exclusive licensing agreement” with Listenable Records—to help give them exposure throughout North America;[57][58] “Gojira wants to work with people whose approach is sincere. … [the band] wants to control all stages of creation, from composition to mixing”, said Labadie.[35] On 19 May 2006, Gojira performed in Brighton, their first UK show, and then forged links with England’s media community after the party organized by Kerrang![2][59]Brothers Mario (left) and Joe Duplantier (right) during a Gojira concert at the Roskilde Festival, Denmark in 2007

Following Williams’ article in Kerrang! and the consequent increase in exposure in the British metal press, Gojira was asked to replace Mastodon at England’s Download Festival 2006;[2][28] Joe Duplantier remarked that “It was a decisive concert”.[2] In June, they performed on the main stage at the Hellfest Summer Open Air in Clisson,[60] and in a series of summer festivals in GermanyEngland, and the Scandinavian countries.[35][61] On 22 August 2006, Prosthetic Records released From Mars to Sirius in the US,[58] which led to a sudden pre-order of 5,000 copies on the label’s website.[62] The US release was followed by an upload onto the internet site of a cover version of “Escape” by Metallica.[63] In September, a year after its release, the album had sold over 20,000 copies in France and the same equivalent abroad.[28] In early October, Gojira and Hatesphere embarked on a co-headlining tour of the UK.[62] In November, the band performed at the European Unholy Alliance Tour, headlined by Slayer at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy.[64] The band was included in Children of Bodom‘s US tour in late 2006, joining Amon Amarth and Sanctity as the openers.[65] Brandon Geist of Revolver commented that since the release of From Mars to Sirius “they have risen from virtual unknowns outside of their homeland to the single-most-buzzed-about metal band on the planet”.[66]

In March 2007, Listenable Records (Prosthetic Records in the US), reissued The Link with remastered audio and new booklet artwork in North America.[67][68] The following month, the label released The Link Alive DVD in the US.[67] Later they supported Lamb of God on their American tour along with Trivium and Machine Head.[69] Gojira made a cameo appearance in Machine Head’s “Aesthetics of Hate” music video, broadcast on 5 May on MTV2‘s Headbangers Ball.[70][71] The band also supported Trivium on the UK dates of their European tour with Sanctity and Annihilator,[72] and made numerous festival appearances.[1] In October, Listenable Records re-released Gojira’s 1997 demo album Possessed as a limited edition CD.[73] In late 2007, they took part in the Radio Rebellion Tour, featuring co-headliners BehemothJob for a Cowboy, and Beneath the Massacre.[74] Towards the end of the more than 220-concert tour they undertook to promote From Mars to Sirius,[75] Gojira embarked on work for the follow-up album.[74]

The Way of All Flesh (2008−2011)

Returning to the Studio Des Milans to pursue the songwriting of their fourth studio album, The Way of All Flesh, Gojira would reach the sound they desired at the time, influenced by incessant touring.[76][32] The album took four months to write and ended in late March 2008.[77][34] Joe Duplantier stated the album would be “more intense, more brutal, and more melodic” than its predecessor.[78] The Way of All Flesh discussed the question of life after death, he said: “That’s the theme it’s about death itself. … It’s also about the immortality of the soul. That’s the main subject for us.”[79] Commenting on his brother’s lyrics, Mario Duplantier said, “each album is a state of play of his life. I can see his convictions and his emotions of the moment by listening to our music again”.[49] The whole recording process lasted between April and June,[75] with drums initially recorded by Logan Mader with Joe and Mario Duplantier in Los Angeles before they returned to the Studio Des Milans to continue working on the songs with Laurentx Etchemendy.[20][80] Mader mixed the album in Los Angeles during two weeks.[76][20] Randy Blythe from the American band Lamb of God, an active supporter of Gojira in the US, co-wrote and appeared on the song “Adoration for None”.[81][32] In August, two months before the release of the album, Gojira performed “Vacuity” live for the first time at the Rock en France Festival in Arras, as the opening act for Metallica.[82]

The Way of All Flesh was released on 13 October 2008 in Europe via Listenable Records and the following day in North America through Prosthetic Records.[80] The album debuted at No. 138 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 4,200 copies in its first week of release.[83][84] It reached No. 28 on the Top Albums chart in France,[85] and No. 25 on The Official Finnish Charts chart.[86] The album topped the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart where it stayed for one week, and a total of four weeks on the chart.[87] It reached No. 21 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart.[88] Music critic Eduardo Rivadavia wrote that the album provided “imaginative progressive headbangers […] that were rife with technical fireworks and songwriting variety” with “few failed experiments”.[89] In October, Gojira toured supporting In Flames‘s European headlining tour,[90] followed by North America from November to December.[91] In mid-December, The Way of All Flesh ranked No. 5 on Metal Hammer‘s list of the Top 50 Albums 2008,[92] and LA Weekly included the album in its list of the Top 10 Metal Albums of 2008.[93]

In late January 2009, Gojira began a headlining tour to promote the album, which crossed France,[94] the UK, and Ireland.[95] On 17 March 2009, the band’s first North American headlining tour was announced. The opening bands were The Chariot and Car Bomb.[96] In June, Gojira performed after Soulfly at the Hellfest Summer Open Air.[97] In July, the band played for the fourth time at Belgium’s Dour Festival,[30] Eurockéennes Festival in Belfort,[98] Sonisphere Festival in Barcelona,[99] Graspop Metal Meeting, and other summer festival appearances.[100] Terra Incognita was re-released with bonus tracks on 24 August in Europe and 15 October in North America.[101] Gojira accompanied Metallica on their tour around the US and Canada from 14 September to 12 October, performing before Lamb of God.[102] Over the years, Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe would join Gojira to sing on “Backbone” at concerts, whenever they shared the same dates.[81][103] The tour included headline dates on “off” days with support from Burst and Zoroaster.[104][105] As their popularity spread into America’s metal scene, Blabbermouth.net wrote that the band “has become one of metal’s most acclaimed and admired acts”.[101] Following the US tour, the band returned to France for a few concerts, and then started a six-month hiatus, invoking saturation after only “a five days break” since 2004.[106]Andreu performing at Bergen Calling Festival, Norway, 2011

The band’s break ended earlier than expected after Gojira was announced as the opening act of Metallica’s European and Russian tour in April 2010.[107] In July 2010, Gojira was included in the lineup of the rock-oriented Vieilles Charrues Festival in Brittany.[108] Performing for an audience mainly unaccustomed to metal music, Gojira’s “delicate mission” was to close the evening of Saturday on the Glenmor stage.[109][nb 1] Described as “more powerful” than Motörhead‘s concert in 2008 on the same stage, the show began with the song “Lizard Skin” with an estimated crowd of between 40,000 and 50,000 people. Twenty minutes later, between 4,000 and 5,000 participants remained.[109] Newspaper Le Télégramme claimed that “the show was of a rare sonic power. … So brutal, that the band lost 90% of the attendance along the way”. The context did not discourage the band who continued to perform “as if their lives depended on it”, with a drum solo executed with “breathtaking mastery”. Since Gojira’s concert, metal has been gradually excluded from the Vieilles Charrues Festival.[109] In August, Gojira headlined the Rock Altitude Festival in Switzerland.[110] The band continued the promotion of the album into 2010, including dates at European festivals such as Wacken Open Air,[111] Bloodstock Open Air,[112] Brutal Assault,[113] and Pukkelpop.[114]

In March 2011, Gojira had made substantial progress in the composition of the fifth album, claiming to have written almost half of it; “These songs are original and a good reflection of what we are today”, said Joe Duplantier.[115] Throughout 2011, the band remained relatively private, focusing on new material, the Sea Shepherd EP, and played a handful of concerts in Europe during June and July, notably at Sonisphere Festival in France,[116] Switzerland,[117] the UK, Spain, and Greece.[118] The band had been free agents since the summer of 2011 after their contract with Prosthetic Records expired.[119] Esteemed by Monte Conner, Gojira was acquired by Roadrunner Records on 9 November 2011.[120][nb 2] In the wake of the new contract, Gojira entered Spin Studios in New York City in November to set about recording their follow-up album.[122][119]

L’Enfant Sauvage (2012−2015)

Gojira’s fifth studio album, L’Enfant Sauvage, was co-produced by Josh Wilbur and Joe Duplantier.[20][123] On L’Enfant Sauvage, the band juxtaposed their death metal roots with elements more ambient and sophisticated,[124] with an intent to find “the ultimate sound” on which they were working since their beginning, based on experimentation and research.[20] The title translates to The Wild Child. Joe Duplantier explained that titling the album in English inadequately encapsulated the meaning of the French term: “Sauvage is something that is not educated or something that is like free and completely free in nature. … The idea with L’Enfant Sauvage is like with a human that would grow up in nature, raised by wolves, for example, without the influence from others and the influence from institutions or society in general.”[125] The album’s title made an indirect reference to the French film The Wild Child of François Truffaut—”but it’s first of all about poetry”, noted Mario Duplantier.[126] In 2012, K2 Agency founder John Jackson who represented Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Mastodon,[127] and Guns N’ Roses, signed Gojira to a global deal for the production of their concerts abroad.[128]

In March 2012, Devin Townsend and Meshuggah‘s Fredrik Thordendal joined Gojira to perform their collaboration track “Of Blood And Salt”, supposed to appear on the Sea Shepherd EP, at the Soundwave Festival in Australia.[129][130] After the band teamed up with Volcom Entertainment, a limited edition of the 7″ single containing the songs “Bleeding” and “End Of Time”—originally on Godzilla’s 1997 Possessed demo, was released in a 12″ vinyl packaging in North America and Europe.[131][132][nb 3] After returning from an Australian tour with Mastodon and Kvelertak,[133] Gojira began a national tour supporting of the album.[126] After the many tours shared with Metallica, the band was accordingly invited to open a series of concerts of the European Black Album Tour,[134] notably at the Stade de France, the largest stadium in the country, on 12 May 2012.[128] On that day, the loudness of sound during Gojira’s performance was measured at 120 decibels in the corridors backstage,[135] which broke the record of the Stade de France and has remained the loudest sound ever recorded at the stadium.[128][nb 4] Commenting on Metallica’s motive for taking Gojira on tour with them, James Hetfield told a reporter, “I discovered their music with From Mars to Sirius, an album that I loved. Humanly speaking, I liked them a lot. They have their feet on the ground, are intelligent, sensitive. I have immense respect for them. And then Mario is an incredible drummer.”[137] In May, Gojira performed at the Sonisphere Festival headlined by Metallica in Switzerland, Finland, and Poland.[138] The band shared two dates in France with Slayer as headliner, on 27 May in Toulouse and 29 May in Clermont-Ferrand.[139] Mascot Label released a live DVD/Blu-ray titled The Flesh Alive on 4 June in Europe.[140][141]Gojira performing at Aalborg Metal Festival in 2012

Gojira released L’Enfant Sauvage in June 2012 on Roadrunner Records for worldwide distribution.[126] The album reached No. 34 on the Billboard 200, selling 11,000 copies in the US in its first week of release. L’Enfant Sauvage was 104 places higher than the first-week rank earned by The Way of All Flesh.[83][142] It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Tastemaker Albums chart,[143] and No. 13 on US Top Rock Albums chart.[144] The album reached a peak position of No. 6 on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart.[145] It landed in the Top 40 albums chart in six European countries,[146] including France, where it entered the Top Albums chart at No. 7 and the Digital Albums chart at No. 17.[147][142] In Flanders and Wallonia, it charted for 10 and 14 weeks, respectively.[148] Terrorizer‘s Rob Sayce said of the charts achievement that it was done “without making a single concession to accessibility”.[121] On the Metacritic website, L’Enfant Sauvage received its lowest review score of 70 out of 100, and its highest review score possible of 100 out of 100,[149] from predominant critics.[150] Stephen Hill of Metal Hammer described the album as “The bridge between Gojira’s past and future”.[124]

On 31 July, The Flesh Alive DVD was released in the US.[140][141] Then, Gojira embarked on L’Enfant Sauvage World Tour[151] encompassing extensive years of touring.[1] The band participated in music festivals, including Nova Rock Festival,[152] Copenhell,[153] and at Slipknot‘s Knotfest at the Somerset Amphitheater, joining among others Cannibal Corpse, Deftones, and Serj Tankian.[154] Gojira was scheduled to tour North America with Lamb Of God and Dethklok, but it was canceled due to the incarceration of Randy Blythe in the Czech Republic.[155] Initially planned for August and September, the tour was postponed to October.[141][156] In August 2012, at the Heavy Montréal Festival, Labadie announced the European tour scheduled until the end of 2012 and the US and Canadian tour in 2013.[157] By this time, Joe Duplantier lived in New York for a year—unlike his brother, Labadie, and Andreu, who remained in the South West of France. Labadie said that “we communicate differently, because of the time difference, and it is not really easy, but that is okay because he is truly happy to live in the States,” adding, “he is passionate about the United States, his mother is American”.[157] On 15 December, the band was the headliner at Indian Metal Festival in Bangalore; “the whole front row was crying”, said Joe Duplantier.[158] During the tour, Gojira’s setlist contained a short interlude called “Tron”,[151] where Mario Duplantier and his brother swapped their instruments.[159][160]Labadie performing at Wacken Open Air in 2013

From January to February 2013, Gojira, the Devin Townsend Project, and the Atlas Moth teamed up for a North America tour.[161] In March, the band undertook a handful of concerts throughout the UK as a supporting act for Ghost on the Jägermeister Music Tour.[162] In mid-March, Gojira headlined Trondheim Metal Fest in Norway.[163][164] The band was nominated for Album Of The Year for L’Enfant Sauvage at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards at Club Nokia on 2 May 2013 in downtown Los Angeles.[165] Gojira took the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards for Best Live Band at The O2 on 17 June 2013 in London.[166] The tour continued, and the band appeared, among other festivals, at the Hellfest Summer Open Air,[167] Wacken Open Air,[168] and Bloodstock Open Air.[169] On 15 August 2013, Gojira made their first Israel appearance in a “packed venue” at Reading 3 in Tel Aviv,[170] where the security barriers had been seen twisted by the strength of the excited audience.[158] In November, the band performed at Austin‘s Fun Fun Fun Fest,[171] followed by a North American tour with 4Arm and Slayer.[172]

In March 2014, Gojira released a Live CD/DVD/Picture book titled Les Enfants Sauvages, documenting the more than 150 concerts that the band played on three continents in support of L’Enfant Sauvage.[173] The DVD features a concert for the Jägermeister Music Tour captured by 14 camera angles in March 2013 at the Brixton Academy in London.[174][175] In an interview conducted the same month with AMH TV at Australia’s Soundwave Festival, Mario Duplantier stated that the band was working on a new album.[176] In May, Gojira supported Mastodon and Kvelertak for a string of dates in North America,[177] whose concerts in Oakland and Chicago generated gross sales of $67,940 and $60,956, respectively.[178] The band performed concerts throughout the United States and Europe, including the Rock on the Range,[179] Resurrection Fest,[180] Garorock Festival in Marmande for the third time,[181] Graspop Metal Meeting,[182] among others.[183] Gojira continued to tour the festival circuit, headlining both the Sylak Open Air Festival on 9 August 2014 in France[184] and the Vagos Open Air Festival the following day in Lisbon.[185] Subsequently, the lineup of Mastodon, Gojira, and Kvelertak reconvened for another US tour spanning from October to November.[186] In November 2014, Joe Duplantier began constructing a recording studio in RidgewoodQueensNew York City. The same month, Mario Duplantier moved to New York.[187]

Magma (2015−2019)

In early April 2015,[187] Joe Duplantier, with his brother’s participation, finished the construction of his own New York recording studio, called Silver Cord Studio.[188] It has become the recording studio and headquarters of Gojira in America – alongside Le Studio Des Milans in Ondres.[189] While audio files were created sporadically from late 2013 “on the computer in the tour bus”,[190][191] the new songs marked a change in style for the band, with Joe Duplantier experimenting with clean vocals.[190] On 6 April, both brothers set up at Silver Cord Studio to begin recording Gojira’s sixth album titled Magma.[192] However, ten days into recording there, Joe and Mario Duplantier learned that their mother had fallen ill, and they flew back to France, which led the band to suspend recording sessions.[187][59]The death of Mario and Joe Duplantier’s mother greatly affected Magma‘s recording process

Gojira played a handful of dates in Europe, including at Tons Of Rock in Halden in southeast Norway,[193] and Rockavaria Festival in Germany.[194] On 5 July 2015, Patricia Rosa Duplantier died from cancer,[59][195] leading to the cancellation of the planned concerts and subsequently had a profound influence on the recording process.[187][195]

Gojira went on tour again worldwide, including performances at the Heavy Montréal Festival,[196] Reading Festival in England,[197] and was billed beneath Korn at the Rock Off Festival in Istanbul.[198][199] On 28 August, Mario Duplantier announced before Gojira’s concert in Dublin that the recording sessions had been resumed and almost completed.[191] Two months would be required to record the vocals.[200] From mid-September to mid-October, the tour visited CanadaMexicoArgentina, and Chile at the Santiago Gets Louder Festival.[201] On 19 September, the band played at the Rock in Rio Festival, the world’s biggest music festival in Brazil, and closed their set with “The Gift of Guilt”.[202][203] In October 2015, Gojira went to Japan as the supporting act for Slayer in Osaka and Tokyo, followed by a performance at Loud Park Festival held at Saitama Super Arena, and the band returned to Israel shortly after this date.[201]

Rolling Stone named the upcoming release their sixth-most anticipated album of 2016.[204] In May 2016, Joe Duplantier announced the itinerary in France, ItalyPoland, Switzerland, Belgium, and the UK launched in support of the upcoming album, with increased venue capacity.[59] In early June 2016, a private concert of the band booked for one hundred people was shot in black and white and filmed by seven cameras at a television studio located in the Plaine Saint-Denis near Paris. Film director Paul Ouazan decided to create a special performance video focused on the crowd, saying, “I was immediately convinced that the band had a fifth member; its audience”. It was broadcast on Arte later that month.[205] On 13 June, the band was included in the live lineup of the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, held at the Eventim Apollo in London.[206][59] On 16 June, the band made their first world television appearance as musical guests of the day at Le Petit Journal, performing an extract of “Silvera” in primetime on Canal+ in France.[195][207]

The self-produced album,[200] Magma, was released on 17 June 2016 through Roadrunner Records. It was available for streaming in its entirety in the band’s YouTube playlist two days before its official release.[190] The album debuted at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 17,000 copies in its first week of release in the US, which marked the band’s most significant progression in both chart and sales since the beginning of their career.[83][208] It debuted and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart and No. 6 on the Tastemaker Albums chart.[144][143] The album topped the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart where it remained for one week,[145] placing them as the first French band to hold the No. 1 position on that chart.[209] It also reached No. 8 on the Billboard Vinyl Albums chart.[210] The album debuted and peaked at No. 17 on the Canadian Albums Chart,[211] while on Australia’s ARIA Albums Chart, it arrived at No. 11.[212] On 9 July 2016, Magma peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Top Album Sales chart,[213] where it stayed for one week.[214] Gojira ranked at No. 68 on the Billboard Artist 100.[215][216] Magma landed in the Top 40 albums chart in twelve European countries—including the Top 10 in France, Norway, Austria, Finland, and Swiss.[217] The album received generally favorable critical reception, scoring a 79 on Metacritic.[218] Gojira departed from their tech-death[190] and sought to emphasize the progressivepost-genres side, which led some devotees to be divided in their opinions.[219][124] However, Forbes called Magma the “band’s 2016 masterpiece”,[209] while Remfry Dedman of The Independent called them “pioneers of modern 21st-century progressive metal”.[190]Gojira performing in TorontoCanada during the Magma Tour, 2016

The band launched the Magma World Tour spanning over three to four years,[220] starting in Europe and at numerous summer music festivals,[221][222] followed by a run of 27-date of a headlining tour of North America with Tesseract as the opening act from mid-July through October 2016.[223][224] At this stage of their career, the band had made seventeen tours in the US.[2][158] During November and December, the band embarked on their UK and European arena tour with Alter BridgeVolbeat, and Like a Storm.[225][226] In November 2016, Metal Hammer stated that Gojira had “emerged as one of the most important metal outfits on the planet”,[20] with a “loyal, passionate, fiercely evangelical fanbase”.[59] In mid-November, the band appeared on the live broadcast of BBC Radio 1 Rock Show at the Maida Vale Studios in London.[227][228] Kirk Hammett would say later that Magma was “an incredible piece of art”.[229] On 20 December 2016, Philadelphia‘s Electric Factory announced a “massive outdoor metal show” featuring Gojira, Opeth, Mastodon, Eagles of Death Metal, Devin Townsend Project, and Russian Circles, which took place on 6 May 2017.[230]

In January 2017, Gojira began a French leg tour playing seven consecutive sold-out concerts.[231][189][nb 5] Within six months of its release, Magma had sold 400,000 copies worldwide.[49][128][232] On 12 February 2017, Gojira was nominated for two Grammy Awards.[233] Magma was nominated for Best Rock Album.[233] Its second single, “Silvera”, was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.[234][233] Magma won Best Album at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards on 12 June 2017.[235] Two more sold-out concerts concluded the French leg of the tour at the Paris’ Olympia on 1 and 2 April.[236] The band embarked on a short run of US co-headlining dates with Opeth,[237] and then played as a supporting act on Metallica‘s US WorldWired Tour in summer along with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat.[238][239] Gojira headlined the Main Stage 2 at Download Festival—before Linkin Park on the Main Stage 1—in Paris on 9 June and Spain on 22 June.[240][241] On 15 July, the band took the top billing at Dynamo Metal Fest in Eindhoven.[242][243] Gojira did a US headliner throughout the fall; ConvergeCode OrangePallbearerOni, and Torche supported them on selected dates, with festival appearances.[244][245] In 2017, Mario Duplantier returned to France due to visa-related issues and for his family, saying that Gojira “is a bit in Ondres, a little bit in Brooklyn, a bit in Bassussarry… Between the Landes, the United States, and the Basque Country”.[189]

By 2018, Gojira was elevated to headliner status in Europe.[246] The band performed a string of festival headline dates throughout the summer, including at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival,[247][246] Brutal Assault Open Air,[248] Into The Grave Open Air in Leeuwarden,[249] and Bloodstock Open Air.[250] In early August 2018, Gojira played to the first largest crowd of their career at Pol’and’Rock Festival in Kostrzyn nad OdrąPoland. More than 400,000 people attended the festival.[251][252] On 8 September 2018, Nick John, the manager of Gojira, Mastodon, and Slayer, died from cancer. John managed Gojira since 2012.[253][254]

On 16 January 2019, Gojira released its entire Pol’and’Rock Festival 2018 set on YouTube.[252] In the summer of 2019, Gojira visited the United States to support Slipknot on their Knotfest Roadshow tour. Behemoth and Volbeat joined in as supporting acts.[255] On 21 June 2019, the band headlined the first day of the Hellfest Summer Open Air, one of the biggest metal festivals in Europe, with visuals displayed on giant screens behind them.[256] On 2 November 2019, they also supported Deftones during their Dia De Los Deftones Festival with ChvrchesYouth CodeJPEGMafia, and Brutus at the Petco Park in San Diego.[257]

Fortitude (2020−present)

In late April 2020, Gojira debuted at No. 48 on the Billboard Bandsintown + Billboard Global Top Artists Index and reached No. 24 after three weeks on the chart.[258] In May 2020, the band streamed on YouTube their 2017 concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, titled Live At Red Rocks, and celebrating Gojira’s thousandth performance.[259][260] On 5 August 2020, the band released a new single called “Another World”, their first single in four years.[261] It became their first Billboard-charting song, debuting at No. 12 on Hard Rock Digital Song Sales and No. 25 on the Hot Hard Rock Songs chart.[262]

On 17 February 2021, Gojira announced their seventh studio album titled Fortitude.[263][264] The album’s production began in early 2018 at New York’s Silver Cord Studio, which would become “the cocoon for a two-year creative odyssey”, with its original release date slated for June 2020, then pushed to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[265] The album, produced and recorded by Joe Duplantier, was mixed by Andy Wallace.[266] Forbes named Gojira’s upcoming album as one of the “most anticipated metal albums”.[209] Gojira’s 2021 single “Amazonia” was released as part of a month-long fundraiser for a Brazilian indigenous rights charity curated by the band.[267][268] Gojira released Fortitude on 30 April via Roadrunner Records.[269] Shortly after, it hit No. 1 on the American iTunes all-genre sales chart[270] and charted at No. 15 on the Worldwide Apple Music album chart, between Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish.[271] The album topped the Worldwide iTunes all-genre album sales for three consecutive days.

Discography:

Terra IncognitaFull-length2001
Maciste all InfiernoEP2003 
IndiansSingle2003 
The LinkFull-length2003
The Link AliveVideo2004
The Link AliveLive album2004
From Mars to SiriusFull-length2005
This CallingSplit2006 
The Way of All FleshFull-length2008
Of Blood and SaltSingle2011
End of TimeEP2012 
L’Enfant sauvageSingle2012 
The Flesh AliveVideo2012 
L’enfant sauvageFull-length2012
ExplosiaSingle2012 
Born in WinterSingle2013 
Gojira / Kvelertak – LiveSplit2013 
Les enfants sauvagesLive album2014
2014 Tour SamplerSplit2014 
MagmaFull-length2016
Another WorldSingle2020
FortitudeFull-length2021 
Jean-Michel Labadie
Bass (2001-present)
See also: ex-Godzilla
Mario Duplantier
Drums (2001-present)
See also: ex-Godzilla, ex-Alone and Tired, ex-Empalot
Christian Andreu
Guitars (2001-present)
See also: ex-Godzilla
Joe Duplantier
Vocals, Guitars (2001-present)
See also: ex-Godzilla, ex-Cavalera Conspiracy, ex-Empalot

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