October 31, 2016 Gojira Connect With NYC 10-23-16 w/ TesseracT & Car Bomb
Months following the release of their universally acclaimed album, Magma, France’s Gojira set their sights on a fall North America tour not to be missed. Known for their often technical, textured, and atmospheric sound, Gojira has been demolishing audiences around the globe since their 2001 debut album, Terra Incognita. While the underground knew of this monster through their earlier years, it was not until 2008’s The Way of All Flesh that they really began to attain mainstream attention, and 2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage pushed them directly into the spotlight where they belong.
Now a household name in the international Metal community, Gojira’s reach continues to grow to new heights with the release of Magma this past June. Peaking in charts all the way from France to the US, the month long Magma Tour began on September 21st and rolled across the continent, crushing all in its path, until it finished up in New York City on Sunday, October 23rd. A sort of hometown show for the band, considering Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Joe Duplantier and Drummer Mario Duplantier moved to New York City prior to recording Magma, their visit to Terminal 5 would also mark the final night of the tour. Adding to it all, tack on support from England’s Djent leaders TesseracT, along with New York natives Car Bomb, and excitement descended upon Manhattan’s West Side as Metalheads entered the venue.
A clear, cool night in the city, the buzz began with the introduction of Car Bomb, a discordant, erratic, unpredictable band that is also heavy as hell. Hailing from the Long Island village of Rockville Centre, in the early 2000s, Vocalist Michael Dafferner, Guitarist Greg Kubacki, Bassist Jon Modell, and Drummer Elliot Hoffman formed Car Bomb from two existing projects. Responsible for three full-length records, their latest, 2016’s Meta, was c0-produced by Joe Duplantier at Silver Cord Studios in Brooklyn.
With Meta set for release on October 28th, the local heroes were greeted by a full house. Cheers rose from the crowd as Dafferner stepped to the center of the stage and took the microphone from its stand while guitar feedback permeated the room. As the intro from the song “H5N1” began, fists rose as they moved quickly into “Finish It,” from their second record, 2012’s w^w^^w^w. Providing syncopated, irregular heavy chugs on “Cielo Drive” and “The Sentinel,” Dafferner looked out over the sea of people, delighted to see them thrashing along. Thanking them for coming out, he spoke of how gracious the band was for being a part of this tour and close it all out in New York City.
Inspiring more positive crowd response, they blasted into the quick-hitter “Auto-Named,” followed by a showcase of their newest material – “Gratitude,” “Black Blood,” and “From the Dust of This Planet.” The new music, which was heavy, intricate and chaotic, was welcome with open-arms before “Lower the Blade,” “Bra-c-ket,” along with “Pieces of You,” wrapping up Car Bomb’s unpredictable set. Appearing on October 25th at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus to celebrate the release of Meta, Car Bomb will be a must see when they head back out on the road with The Dillinger Escape Plan in November.
Next up was the the British Progressive Metal act known as TesseracT. Out of the Milton Keynes area, TesseracT came together over a decade ago and have been wowing listeners since their 2010’s debut EP, Concealing Fate. Having a style that is complex, intense, and atmospheric, TesseracT are a defining act in the Djent movement. Releasing three engaging studio albums, including 2015’s Polaris; which welcomed back Vocalist Daniel Tompkins to the mix, Tesseract’s Progressive aggression continues to compel audiences.
Completed by the consistent cast that includes Alec “Acle” Kahney on lead guitar, James Monteith on rhythm guitar, Amos Williams on bass, and Jay Postones on drums, the pulsing beginnings of “Phoenix” heralded the band’s arrival. Anticipating the opening vocal before cheering in approval, everyone on the floor and up to the balconies stood mesmerized, as if trying to hear every nuance in TesseracT’s music. Two parts of a longer musical piece followed with “Concealing Fate, Part 2: Deception,” and “Concealing Fate, Part 3: The Impossible,” taking the audience on a trek deeper into the abyss. A five piece juggernaut, they moved on with “Of Matter – Proxy” and “Of Matter – Retrospect” as the audience responded kindly to the shift in intensity.
Continuing to elevate their sound, they delivered heavier passages that were technical, precise, and intently focused. Then, breaking the spell for a moment, Tompkins stepped to the front of the stage to say, “We are TesseracT From the UK and we want to thank you for absorbing what we do.” Also speaking of how elated they were to be a part of this tour, they moved into “Dystopia” and “Survival,” which had the audience fully engrossed at times, and at others, singing along while throwing their fists into the air. Closing out with “Of Mind – Nocturne,” the heavy, downtuned groove washed over the crowd in waves of sound as Tompkins topped off a strong performance with stronger and melodic vocals.
Bidding the audience goodnight, Tompkins was followed by the rest of the band, acknowledging the crowd, raising guitars and waving, before disappearing into the darkness. A great combination of technical prowess and straight-forward heaviness, TesseracT bridged the gap between the chaotic Car Bomb and the heavily melodic Gojira.
Speaking of Gojira, it was time to awaken the beast. A moment all had been waiting for, silence and darkness filled the room, with the exception of a orange glow coming from the giant video screen. Molten lava danced, flowed, and exploded as Mario began the drum intro for “Only Pain.” As Guitarist Christian Andreu, Bassist Jean-Michel Labadie, and his brother Joe joined, nearly everyone in attendance began to bounce, shaking the foundation of Terminal 5, through the opening song. Without a moment to spare, no one had a chance to catch their breath because the heaviest song in the universe, “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe,” came next and the already large pit grew, swallowing more of the crowd.
With an adrenaline rush flowing throughout the room, the pulverizing single “Silvera” kept it going before Joe asked all those gathered, “How’s it going ?” Met with an eruption of emotion, the band soaked it in briefly before the singer added, “We have played Terminal 5 many times before, but this is their first time headlining. It feels amazing, it’s beautiful.” Going on to tell everyone that Magma was in fact recorded in New York City, the reaction was even more defeaning cheers before Joe said, “It’s great to be back in our second hometown, with our family and friends. My kids are here, it is a very special night.” All adding to the overall excitement and the personal feel of the night, the Duplantier Brother’s launched “Stranded” to a mass of swirling fans.
Amped up, the crowd began screaming requests, and most were for the fan-favorite, 2005’s “Flying Whales.” Then the noise level grew louder as fans heard the sounds of whales and saw an underwater scene appear on the screen. With that, Joe called out “This is Flying Whales!” which sent grateful fans fists flying upward into the air. Continuing the chaos through “The Cell,” the super heavy “Backbone,” “Remembrance,” and “Terra Inc..” after a sound thrashing, no one showed signs of fatigue. Wanting more, Gojira delivered the eerie “Wisdom Comes” before walking off stage, leaving Mario on his own to do his work. Taking the spotlight, he pounded out a complex drum solo using intricate patterns and rhythms lasting several minutes. Cheers rose throughout his solo until the band returned and churned out “The Shooting Star,” “Toxic Garbage Island,” and “Pray,” ending a precision set that included a great mix of songs from their varied and fearless catalog of music.
Returning to satisfy fans’ hunger, Gojira delivered an encore of “Clone” followed by “Ouroboros.” Still not nearly satisfied, the crowd demanded more and they received a grande finale with 2008’s “Vacuity.” Not too far from his children during the evening, Joe Duplantier, a proud father, brought them onstage to show them off and to bond with their new community. Gifting Terminal 5 a nice helping of new tracks from Magma, it was a personal and amazing closing night to the tour. Combined with the frenetic Car Bomb and the mesmerizing TesseracT, it was a memorable showcase of the heaviest at its finest!Photos credit: Stephanie Pearl Photography