GOJIRA – Bergen – Ole Bull Scene
When I first came to Norway, I had to live with the fact that Norwegians have no idea of the richness of the French metal scene. Besides some fans of Blut Aus Nord and the old guy I met at some Hole in the Sky digging Magma, well, my co-citizens are not good to make themselves talked about beyond enemy lines. Gojira though, fortune helping – touring with Metallica and Slayer – has been on all mouths for some years as the only famous (some would say the only good) French metal band. Mainstream media describe them as young and potent newcomers but seem to forget that the band has been active for sixteen years with no line up change. It is true however that they only took off in 2003 in France with The Link and in 2005 internationally with From Mars to Sirius. The last album L’Enfant Sauvage is as usual a (anti) nuclear bomb despite the fact that nobody seems to be able to pronounce it correctly – ha ha ha ha.
Bergen has been well served by the guys from Bayonne with gigs at HITS in 2006, USF in 2010, Koengen in 2011, Plenen this summer and finally, the classy Ole Bull Scene last sunday. And they still manage to sell out. Gojira never disappoints, so it’s confident I’m entering the venue, a beautiful theater, seven years after the last time I saw the band for almost five times cheaper in a local club in my home district of Brie (ja, ostelandet).
The band is by the way sharing the bill with two other snail-eating combos, a seldom setup for an European tour. Both Klone and Trepalium have a solid reputation as medium metal bands in France and in direct neighboring countries, and have experience of festivals and bigger stages, including.
Klone was a strange choice to support Gojira internationally, but in the end, why not? They tagged along as members of the Klonosphere with Trepalium. The band delivers a groove/stoner metal a step more technical than acts like Dagoba and is hardly accessible when seen live for the first time. A skilled singer (underlined) moving like a stage actor and a versatile sampler-guy using wind MIDI controllers, saxophone and guitar pedals give envelope to an already well potent sound. As expected the response from the public was shy, but interested, even if most of the people here at this time were the youngest fans of Gojira. They however finished their set on a cover of Björk,
Army of Me, in an almost filled up theater.
Gojira next. I mean, the kids in front were really screaming the name of the ugly Japanese lizard until Trepalium began to play! Yes guys it’s three bands tonight. The band has a sulfurous reputation of a killing machine when they play live, and Bergen got beaten up like and old sack by a tiny guy with dreadlocks and his pals. If Klone is bidding on powerful clean vocals and electronics, Trepalium maximizes its groovy structures with almost jazzy guitar solos, building a hopscotch of notes for the frontman to lay growls or flows.Their originality and straight-in-the-face attitude pleased and the shirts bearing the band’s name started to pop around before dessert.
Seeing Gojira live is always goodie. It’s like listening to a 10/10 deaththrash CD with eight EVL 5150 cabinets in your room and a boner lasting for a while. The stage is clean. No fuss, no bullshit. Drums, guitar cabinets in the back, bass cabinets on the sides facing the band, with guitar pics carefully laid on them. And the sound. Wow. Seldom a band has played around with the sound it deserved, especially on the drums. I mean this guy is a self taught trommemishandler from hell.
He must have bongo-bongoed on beer kegs with whole Bayonne hams in his youth. Who else, at his age, is playing so light and technical? The whole package is played tight and square, something usually boring for many bands but not for Gojira. They were simply flawless. If there is one little thing to dig up and to fix: maybe push the vocals knob an inch more. That’s it. Flawless.
Run before they only do arenas Norway doesn’t have.