November 12, 2011. I’m in Long Island City, heading towards Spin Recording Studios, where the mighty Gojira have recently begun recording their new album with producer Josh Wilbur. It’s a big deal because a) it’s Gojira’s first album in more than three years, b) the band has just announced that they’ve signed with Roadrunner Records, and c) Gojira fucking rules, and I’m a massive, massive fan.
I’m still a good block-and-a-half away when I hear it. It’s so incredibly LOUD and metallic, it almost sounds like machine gun fire — but it’s too rhythmic to be a weapon. I decide it must be a street performer, banging on some sheet metal or something… except that I can see the street all around me, and it’s completely deserted. If it is a street performer, he’s very well concealed, and is apparently playing to an audience of no one.
By the time I arrive at the front door of Spin Studios — a large, steel entrance — the sound has become deafening. And as I peek through the small, submarine-like door window, I finally see the source of the sound: it’s Gojira skinsman Mario Duplantier, drumming on the door like the thunder god that he is.
Mario sees me, stops what he’s doing, and opens the door. I introduce myself; he shakes my hand enthusiastically. “Go upstairs to the studio,” he tells me. “I just to have finish this, then I’ll be right up.”
I assume he’s warming up for a take — yes, I know it’s a tad odd to warm up against a door, but who am I to tell to Mario Duplantier what is or is not normal? — until I begin to walk up the steps, and I see microphones strategically positioned all around the stairwell. At which point I realize, Holy shit, they’re recording this.
Gojira are comprised of vocalist/guitarist Joe Duplantier, who has a previous relationship with Roadrunner, having played bass on Cavalera Conspiracy's debut Inflikted, along with guitarist Christian Andreu, bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and drummer Mario Duplantier, who is also Joe's brother!
"We are so stoked to walk with the legendary Roadrunner," Joe said about the new partnership. "We discovered Sepultura, Machine Head, Death, Fear Factory and so many other great bands thanks to these guys. Roadrunner has been a great source of inspiration for us as metal fans. It's an honor to be part of this family today as a band. We feel we'll get the right support at the right moment in our career. We cannot wait to release our new record and get back on the road."
The band's Roadrunner debut will be its fifth album overall. It was 2005's From Mars to Sirius and 2008's The Way of All Flesh which established Gojira as a metal force of nature and a key player in the scene. The band will record in New York City, also the label's headquarters, in November 2011, with a spring 2012 release date being eyed. Joe Duplantier will serve in a co-producer capacity along Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God).
“I’ve been a huge Gojira fan ever since their monumental From Mars to Sirius album and have been actively pursuing them ever since," Roadrunner Senior VP of A&R Monte Conner said. "I am thrilled to finally be welcoming them to the Roadrunner family. Gojira are one of the best bands in metal today, with a sound and style all their own. Their live shows are unreal, from the level of playing, to the intensity, to the Godzilla like stomp that hits you in the chest."
Gojira have kept busy in between albums. They recently recorded the four-song Sea Shepherd EP, with all proceeds from the EP benefiting the Sea Shepherd charity. Sea Shepherd is a Washington-state based non-profit marine conservation organization which employs direct action tactics to protect sea life. One of the songs, "Blood And Salt," recently surfaced on a Metal Hammer UK sampler CD. Release details on that EP, which is loaded with A-list metal guests like Mastodon's Brent Hinds, Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe, Soulfly’s Max Cavalera and Strapping Young Lad's Devin Townsend to name a few, are yet to be determined.
In other Gojira news, the band will perform as part of Australia's Soundwave Festival, which is slated for February 2012.
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