The prog-metal takeover of the Electric Factory last week is one that my ears are still struggling to recover from – and in this case, that’s a very good thing. The bill of Gojira and Tesseract drew a perceptive crowd, eager to watch the labryinthine songs of both bands come alive on stage. U.K. djent sculptors Tesseract embodied the heavy sounds they played by banging their heads low to the ground en masse. Jarring breakdowns were juxtaposed contemplative interludes. Daniel Tompkins, the latest in a conga line of vocalists for the band, fit in perfectly with his ethereal voice. This was likely the last we’ll see of them for a while; after this tour, Tesseract will take time off from the road to get to work on their fourth studio album.
Gojira walloped and smashed through every measure of their set like the Godzilla monster that inspired their name. The French foursome have managed to make death metal palatable even for those wary of the genre, weaving thunderous grooves into devastatingly beautiful soundscapes. Abstract time signatures are child’s play for drummer Mario Duplantier, who during longer passages allowed his eyes to roll back into his head, overcome by the momentum of the music. His brother Joe Duplantier singled out “Stranded” as one of their favorite new tracks but, not wanting to distract from the rest of the new Magma album, the frontman added that the songs are “like children” and they shouldn’t be partial to one over the rest. Indeed, “The Shooting Star” is another Magma cut that deserves praise, as well as the opener “Only Pain”.
Another highlight was “Flying Whales”. It’s an older song, but it still held the same unrestrained intensity that it did upon its release over a decade ago. It was around that time that Gojira embarked on their first stateside tour, with Philadelphia as the starting point, and Joe made it a point to thank the Philly fans for their continued loyalty.
Check out photos from the show and Gojira’s full setlist below.
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
The Shooting Star
Toxic Garbage Island