This is the one, people. You know when Mastodon had that record that really divided fans? That apparently crossed the line between what’s suposedly metal and what’s something else? This is the one that’s gonna do it for Gojira. It’s short (Only eight songs if you don’t count the two brief instrumentals), it’s concise, and there’s actual singing! But it’s still wholly a Gojira record. Trust me.
The “Gojira sound” is still firmly here but man has the band morphed. If you’re expecting L’enfant Sauvage Part Deux (See what I did there?) then you really might wanna look elsewhere. If you’re still reading/interested then you’re in for one of Gojira’s most potent and personal efforts to date.
“The Shooting Star” is a driving dirge that sees Joe Duplantier open up vocally in a way he hasn’t done before and it’s gorgeous when mixed with the tone of the tune. Like their other releases, the musicianship on Magma is incredible. In teaser tracks like “Silvera” and “Stranded” it’s the little shreds or sonic squeals that dig deep and stay long after the song fades out then Duplantier sings showing another side to the band keeping listeners constantly in awe.
“The Cell” leads with some of the fastest Gojira riffing ever and “Pray” has a The Way of All Flesh feel but more restrained until it finally lets itself go and absolutely pummels your brain proving that, despite your fears, Gojira still rocks hard.
The title track, however, is the linchpin of Gojira’s transformation and of the album. Crushing riffs broken up by Duplantier’s layered, almost chorale-like drone pushes the song to new Gojira heights culminating in a chugging prog breakdown and a conclusion that fades out just as easily as it faded into your ears.
“Only Pain” sees those squeals return and bounces with Jean-Michel Lamadie’s bass and Mario Duplantier’s drums intertwining like a caduceus while the spaced out “Low Lands” lumbers into a brutal Duplantier and Christian Andreu guitar attack that is just as quickly consumed by a somber acoustic outro.
The album as a whole feels frantic. It’s soaked with the inkling that something awful is about to happen and therein lies it’s brilliance keeping listeners on edge until the quiet “Liberation” concludes Magma. It’s not quite their heaviest yet (From Mars to Sirius still holds that crown) but definitely their best.