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LIVE REVIEW: Gojira @ Academy, Manchester

GOJIRA are at the forefront of the modern era of heavy music. Releasing their latest album, Magma, to critical acclaim last year, performing an exhilarating performance at Bloodstock Festival and supporting rock superstars ALTER BRIDGE, you get the feeling that GOJIRA have exploded onto a bigger playing field. Now, 2017 sees the arrival of a full headlining tour of the UK to maintain their explosive charge, but would the band be able to deliver a performance that replicates their recent surge in popularity?

Car Bomb live @ Academy, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan Photography
Car Bomb live @ Academy, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan Photography

Despite a career that spans nearly two decades, US mathcore/progressive outfit CAR BOMB are only just establishing a foothold in the UK. With this tour being the band’s ‘proper’ tour across the British isles, the band’s long lasting career worked in their favour as they gave a performance that reflected their professional nature and was dazzling to witness. Through the band’s expansive, and at times dizzying, soundscape, CAR BOMB opted for a shock and awe approach and it worked to a wonderful effect. Through a massive wall of sound from drummer Elliot Hoffman and bassist Jon Modell, that echoed the pummelling rhythm of FEAR FACTORY, CAR BOMB’s overall sound was utterly massive and equally devastating. Awkward time signatures and mind-bending solo guitar play from Greg Kubacki kept the crowd on their toes consistently throughout the band’s set and whilst frontman Michael Dafferner’s vocals were sometimes lost in the chaotic sound, CAR BOMB’s impact was thoroughly effective and showcased a band that are really beginning to make waves on our side of the pond.

Rating: 8/10

Code Orange live @ Academy, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan Photography
Code Orange live @ Academy, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan Photography

CODE ORANGE have exploded into the spotlight in heavy music. The band’s latest album, Forever, was met with thunderous applause from critics and fans alike so the band’s main support role to GOJIRA was met with a huge sense of anticipation and by God, the band delivered a set that oozed sheer aggression. The band have more than demonstrated their pummelling anger on their studio output but in the live environment the output felt much more raw. And for good reason to, as CODE ORANGE gave absolutely everything in their performance that showcased the exciting energy within their destructive audio output. Through the triple vocalist assault allowed the band to expand their vocal output, giving a dynamic range of pitches and tempos that ebbed and flowed perfectly to the carnage. From drummer Jami Morgan’s lead vocal charge that was jam-packed full of anger, with opening track Forever showcasing the band’s no-nonsense approach from the forefront, to gang shouts, CODE ORANGE gave a whirlwind performance that was utterly aggressive to say the least. Yet, there was so much more beneath the surface and that was where CODE ORANGE demonstrated their brilliance. Subtle use of synthesisers created a daunting atmosphere and a breathtaking rendition of Bleeding In The Blur with Reba Meyers’s chilling clean lead vocals cleared showcased that CODE ORANGE are so much more than just another one-dimensional hardcore band. The release of Forever back in January was met with critical acclaim, but in the live environment CODE ORANGE more than showcased why they are one of the most exciting prospects in heavy music today.

Rating: 10/10

Gojira live @ Academy, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan Photography.
Gojira live @ Academy, Manchester. Photo Credit: Christopher Ryan Photography.

With GOJIRA‘s surge up the tiers of heavy music, a lot was riding on their headlining performance to ensure that the momentum kept on storming forward. Despite a brief delay and a clever use of visual trickery with a backing screen, GOJIRA‘s entrance was met with rapturous applause before the band let their music do the talking through opening song Only Pain. From there, the band continued to fire on all cylinders, deploying song after song with absolute ease and the crowd responded with fiery enthusiasm. From the dual guitar riff assault from Joe Duplantier and Christian Andreu on The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe to the roaring and iconic lead rhythm on Flying Wales which had the crowd bouncing, GOJIRA were effortless in demonstrating their prowess. With the band still very much in support of their most recent album, Magma, it made sense that a fair portion of the band’s set was comprised of material from their latest album and how well it stood compared the band’s back catalogue of heavy hitters showcased GOJIRA’s continuing success. Silveria’s meaty drops and Joe Duplantier’s soaring vocal deliveries was utterly energetic whilst Stranded’s anthematic chorus was a clear highlight to the band’s ability of delivering intoxicatingly heavy music.

As a unit on stage, each member of the band shone in their respective departments. Mario Duplantier’s performance on the drums was, at times, utterly breathtaking; from a memorable drum solo to the crushing percussion on Backbone for example, Mario Duplantier kept the band’s rhythm flowing effortlessly. Jean-Michel Labadie’s thick bass tones kept the band’s sound heavy and crushing and the dual riffing from Christian Andreu and Joe Duplantier ebbed and flowed; from the breathtaking tone to the spell-binding intricacy on Terra Inc for example. In terms of the vocal deliveries, Joe Duplantier’s deliveries were not lost in the massive mix, rather riding the explosive sound. Given the band’s largely successful year in 2016, GOJIRA gave a performance that surely pushes their surging momentum forward at top gear.

Rating: 9/10

Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from Christopher Ryan Photography here:

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