Gojira & Devin Townsend Project Ignite Red Rocks Morrison, CO 5-11-17 W/ Opeth

Gojira & Devin Townsend Project Ignite Red Rocks Morrison, CO 5-11-17 W/ Opeth

Since the birth of Metal, the genre has gone through more than its fair share of changes. Artists such as Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and AC/DC took power chords and molded Blues riffs and made them the very foundation of the genre so many have come to worship and revere.

For generations to come, the art of loud and abrasive music morphed time and time again into 1980s Metal (W.A.S.P., Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, etc.), followed by the sonic shift in the ’90s by bands like Pantera, Soundgarden (one should listen to 1991’s Badmotorfinger before judging this example), and the rise of Sepultura. However, in the 2000s, a clear fact became evident, where did all the innovators go? The aforementioned bands that began this genre are either finished or finishing their illustrious careers, most of the bands of the ’90s are either broken up or shells of their previous selves. The answer is slowly coming to focus that bands such as Opeth, Gojira, and Devin Townsend Project are set to carry the torch and help lead the next generation of innovation in Metal.

Luckily for Metal audiences everywhere, this very lineup has been leveling North America. This lineup should be no surprise to fans as Opeth has a long standing reputation for bringing out, simply put, the best talent the genre has to offer, always offering up the most diverse collection of co-headliners and supporting bands. One has to admire the vast differences in the sound for all of these powerhouses, while each maintain their integrity despite all three hitting so much success as of late.

While Opeth started as a brutal Death Metal band, they have long since evolved and become much more complex. Gojira’s sound has been around much longer than most seem to realize, but they have found their stride and have continued to build on it. Devin Townsend has etched himself long since Strapping Young Lad into one of Metal’s most respected guitarists and producers. Bringing such a monumental lineup to one of the world’s most cherished venues, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, located just outside Denver, Colorado, on Thursday, May 11th, was a sure way to bring such a great line up full circle.

As fans coursed into the massive amphitheater, legions of the devoted commented on how vastly different each band was from each other. However, many did point out that while each band had their own unique styling, their mentality was rather on the same plateau. All three bands featured brought a sense of mixing melodies with Heavy Metal influences that would give Slayer a run for their money. Outside of experimentalism each band has managed, for over a decade, to keep their devoted fans guessing as no album either band had released ever sounded the same, nor did any follow a formula, this truly was Metal with only one rule, “there are none.”

From the second Devin Townsend and company hit the stage, it was clear this was not an evening where the fans were going to be eased into the festivities as they kicked off with the track “Rejoice.” As one coursed through the set, it was clear through Townsend’s sheer virtuosity and very presence on the stage why legends such as Steve Vai took notice and demanded to work with the mad surgeon of Metal. The construction of tracks such as “Deadhead” and “Supercrush!” almost show off the genius production Townsend has. The proverbial cherry on top had to be Townsend’s psycho charisma on stage, his presence commanded the audience, and though this was the opening band for the evening, it literally punched the crowd and got their strict attention.

Next up was the one and only Gojira, and one did not need more then the chanting of their name by the audience to realize they had arrived. While the band itself has been around since 1996, they did not take on the moniker of Gojira until 2001. Led by Vocalist Joe Duplantier along with his brother Mario on drums, Christian Andreu on guitar, as well as Jean-Michel Labadie on bass, their chosen name was adopted from the romaji spelling of Godzilla, and as the quartet from France erupted with their first track, “Only Pain,” it is clear that name suits the sound.

Like their six studio albums, including their most recent, 2016’s Magma, their massive live sound is something of a sonic output that literally shook the mountains in Morrison, Colorado. Granted Gojira’s larger than life sound is undeniable, one cannot be mesmerized by the layers of melody that they perfectly unleashed with tracks such as “The Heaviest Matter in the Universe” and “Stranded.” As they closed out with the track “Pray,” the band had the whole audience headbanging, screaming, and raising their horns in unison. Had there been an area to stage a mosh pit, there is no question the fans would have gone berserk.

Unfortunately for those who missed this monolithic tour date, they are at a loss as this tour has come to an end. However, before readers go running for that big box of Kleenex to mourn the loss, one can catch each band still on the road. Devin Townsend Project is still on the road through Australia and Europe supporting 2016’s Transcendence. In addition, Gojira will be joining none other than the legendary Metallica for a few dates in the US before taking off for Europe. Also, Opeth will be hitting Europe continuing to spread the word of 2016’s Sorceress, so make sure not to miss their electrifying set.

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Rafi Shlosman
rshlosman@yahoo.com
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