Rhythm & Views


French ecological death metal? It's the only way to characterize Gojira's fourth full-length, The Way of All Flesh, which isn't just the best aggressive-music release of 2008; it may just be one of the best metal albums ever.

Each and every track sounds like a skyscraper being ripped from its foundation and hurled across a burning megacity by an enraged Japanese giant monster. If you're someone who still chuckles at the old cliché that French bands can't rock, this CD will do to your ears what a certain radioactive dinosaur did to a certain woodland creature in the 1969 animated short Bambi Meets Godzilla.

Taking a cue from classic gore-grind and death-metal acts like Cannibal Corpse, Gojira--led by Joe Duplantier on vocals and guitar--dresses the skeleton of extreme music in uptown prog-music fashion by offering a combination of sculpted musicianship and pristine studio-recording techniques. No jagged edges here, only the clean blade of utter sonic carnage.

"Toxic Garbage Island," inspired by the real-life stew of plastic traveling the planet's oceans, hammers, shrieks and does God knows what else within the same riff; meanwhile, it's impossible to describe the wrathful digestion of "Wolf Down the Earth."

A concept album about death's many forms, including the ongoing ruin of our natural world, The Way of All Flesh provides a new benchmark for thoughtful brutality.