If you’re a fan of thought-provoking heavy music, then the idea of witnessing French progressive metal maestros Gojira in a venue of this size should have had your mouth watering. Yes, there is the chance that rooms the size of which the French band are playing on this tour could swallow up their dense, powerful sound but, thankfully, as they showed tonight, the French quartet is more than up for the task.
Opening up the bill are working metallic hardcore wrecking machine Employed To Serve who waste no time as they slam into opening number “Universal Chokehold.” With a short amount of time on stage and very little space afforded to them, the band make the most of the challenging circumstances. As vocalist Justine Jones strides across the stage, heads bang to the likes of “Sun Up Sun Down” and “We Don’t Need You,” but this still feels like a band hampered by conditions forced to perform well below their devastating best.
It would be fair to say that New Zealanders Alien Weaponry are literally a million miles from home but, judging by the reaction the band gets as they stomp through their tribal set, it feels like they’ve brought five thousand of their closest friends with them. From the moment drummer Henry Te Reiwhati de Jong pounds out his own version of the Haka, the Kiwi band has this room hooked.
It’s easy to see why as well. The relentless groove and pummelling heaviness of tracks like “Raupatu” and “Ru Ana Te Whenua” sink their hooks while the sight of fans everywhere singing along to “Kai Tangata” couldn’t have been a more welcoming one for three Kiwis thousands of miles from home.
By the time Gojira strolls onto the stage and lurch into their set, the Victoria Warehouse is absolutely packed out. As mentioned early on, there is the concern that a sound as deep and complex as the one Gojira pound out could get lost in a room of this size but as they thunder through “Backbone” and more blasts of Co2 spray out from the front of the stage, you realize you’re witnessing a band built for rooms of this magnitude.
The likes of “Stranded” and “The Art of Dying” are both visually and sonically breathtaking. A suffocating wall of dense, rib-cracking progressive metal fills the room performed by four musicians who, once the smoke clears, are found powering through their musical onslaught in front of an impressive wall of LED projections.
Band and fans lose themselves in the intensity of the experience as the set continues sublimely through “L’enfant Sauvage,” “Our Time Is Now,” and “Silvera.” It truly is a mesmerizing display from a band who have become one of the most devastating, powerful and thought-provoking purveyors of heavy music that this generation of fans has had the absolute pleasure of experiencing. If you get the chance to do so, make sure you grab this life-changing opportunity with both hands.