France's Gojira have established themselves as one of heavy metal's most wildly creative and cerebral forces. Their fifth studio album sustains their trademark blend of unfathomable heaviness, structural invention and ecological-cum-existential poetry while subtly enhancing its dramatic and emotional impact. As fans have come to expect, songs such as labyrinthine opener Explosia and the scabrous, melancholic trawl of Planned Obsolescence eschew metal cliches in favour of exhilarating percussive twists and turns, churning dissonance and deft flashes of melody. The uninitiated may detect shades of Killing Joke amid the epic, tectonic grind of Mouth of Kala and the skittering menace of the title track, but overall this is a ferociously original piece of work that reaches its electrifying zenith on The Gift of Guilt: six minutes of sledgehammer sorrow built from riffs that sound like warning shots fired from the planet's doomed and turbulent core. This is metal taken to a higher plane of brilliance.
TRACK LISTING: 1. Explosia 2. L'Enfant sauvage 3. The Axe 4. Liquid Fire 5. The Wild Healer 6. Planned Obsolescence 7. Mouth of Kala 8. The Gift of Guilt 9. Pain Is a Master 10. Born in Winter 11. The Fall 12. This Emptiness 13. My Last Creation