The days when metal practically dominated the mainstream are over, but signs are pointing to breakout success for Gojira’s upcoming album Magma. Will the public really embrace French prog metal?
Slash once called metal “the only thing in Rock n’ Roll that’s survived the test of the millennium”, but from an outsider perspective that’s all it’s been doing. Its place in mainstream consciousness has been taken over by grime, hip-hop and indie bands with names that start with “∆”.
There’s no shortage of new and interesting acts for true genre explorers, but the public perception has been caught in a time-warp – last year’s chart is dominated by old names like Guns n Roses, Pink Floyd, Muse and Foo Fighters. The genre is mired in its own nostalgia. But one of those under-appreciated acts could be about to break the cycle of stagnation.
Gojira aren’t a new band. This French act have been releasing album after album of mindbending progressive riffs since their 2001 debut Terra Incognita, but their newest release – Magma – stands a real chance of appealing to a wider audience outside the niche of wine-swirling, headbanging connoisseurs.
The Duplantier brothers have taken a lot of steps to make the album more accessible: the tracks are shorter – no 10 minute epics here – and the hype machine is hitting overdrive. It’s even being streamed on The Independent before release, something none of their previous releases have enjoyed. Comparisons are already being made to The Black Album, which launched Metallica to mainstream success.
Much like Skepta’s Konnichiwa made grime more accessible to the entire world, Gojira’s Magma could bring underground metal out of hibernation and encourage a new generation to explore other artists that are pushing boundaries.