Early years and Terra Incognita (1996−2002)
Gojira was formed in 1996 by Joe and Mario Duplantier, Christian Andreu, and Alexandre Cornillon in their hometown of Ondres. Gojira's music combines elements of death metal, groove metal, thrash metal, and progressive metal. The band started touring and recording under the name Godzilla and released their demos Victim, Possessed, Saturate, and Wisdom Comes in 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2000, respectively. After touring, supporting Cannibal Corpse, Edge of Sanity, Impaled Nazarene, and Immortal in September 1999, legal problems forced Godzilla to change their name. They changed their name to Gojira, the rōmaji spelling of the fictional monster Godzilla. Their debut album Terra Incognita was released under the new name in 2001.
The Link and From Mars to Sirius (2003−2007)
The band released their second studio album, The Link, in 2003; it was reissued in 2007 with remastered audio and new booklet artwork. After the success of the first two albums and their live performances, they made a DVD in Bordeaux produced by Gabriel Editions. Since 19 May 2004, The Link Alive has been on sale in France. In 2005, Gojira decided to sign with French-based Listenable Records to help give them exposure outside France with the album From Mars to Sirius.
Gojira were included in Children of Bodom's US tour in late 2006, joining Amon Amarth and Sanctity as the openers. Gojira also supported Trivium on the UK dates of their European tour in 2007 with Sanctity and Annihilator. Later they supported Lamb of God on their 2007 American tour along with Trivium and Machine Head. In late 2007, they took part in the Radio Rebellion Tour, featuring co-headliners Behemoth, Job for a Cowboy, and Beneath the Massacre. In October 2007, Listenable Records re-released Gojira's 1997 demo Possessed as a limited edition.
The Way of All Flesh (2008−2011)
The Way of All Flesh was released on 13 October in Europe via Listenable Records and 14 October in North America through Prosthetic Records in 2008. On 25 July 2008, the band announced the track listing and revealed the final cover art for the record. Joe Duplantier stated about the album, "This record is a lot darker — like, a lot darker, I would say. The music is darker and more violent." Duplantier stated the album will be "more intense, more brutal, and more melodic" than its predecessor. "That's the theme — it's about death itself," he explained. "It's also about the immortality of the soul. That's the main subject for us". Randy Blythe from the American band Lamb of God appeared as a guest vocalist on the song "Adoration for None" The album took four months to write and record, and three months to mix. On 17 March 2009, the band's first North American headlining tour was announced. The opening bands were The Chariot and Car Bomb. Gojira accompanied Metallica on their tour from 14 September to 18 October, performing before Lamb of God.
Gojira entered a studio in Los Angeles, California, in early November 2010 with producer Logan Mader to begin recording a new non-profit four-song EP, the proceeds from which will benefit Sea Shepherd, an anti-whaling organization. According to Joe Duplantier, the EP was going to feature guest appearances from the international metal scene. "Of Blood And Salt" features Devin Townsend as a guest vocalist and a guest guitar solo performed by Fredrik Thordendal. The other tracks feature Randy Blythe, Anders Fridén, Jonas Renkse, and Max Cavalera. As a preview of the Sea Shepherd EP, Gojira released "Of Blood And Salt" in May 2011, but the EP has yet to see a release, as the hard drive which held the recordings crashed.
L'Enfant Sauvage (2012−2015)
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Gojira were acquired by Roadrunner Records and released L'Enfant Sauvage on 26 June 2012 on that label. The title translates to "The Wild Child". Joe Duplantier explained that titling the album in English inadequately encapsulated the meaning of the French term: "'Sauvage' is something that is not educated or something that is like free and completely free in nature. A wild flower that goes wherever she wants and becomes something beautiful. The idea with "L'Enfant Sauvage" is like with a human that would grow up in nature, raised by wolves, for example, without the influence from others and the influence from institutions or society in general."
The title song "L'Enfant Sauvage" was released as a single on 27 April 2012, along with a video to support it. It was followed by a release of the song "Liquid Fire" as a free download on Gojira's official website. On March 11, 2014, Gojira released a Live CD/DVD/Picture book Les Enfants Sauvages, which was recorded at Brixton Academy London in March 2013.
In November 2014, the band began constructing a recording studio in Queens, New York City. That same month, Mario Duplantier moved to New York.
In an interview conducted in February 2015 with AMH TV, Mario Duplantier stated that the band was working on a new album. Further speaking with AMH TV, he went on to say that "[w]e spent two months...composing new stuff, composing new songs. And we feel very optimistic about the future. We're already enjoying a lot of the new stuff. We want to make the strongest album we can do. I mean, all the bands say they try to make the strongest album, but this time, I think we will really do it."
The death of Joe
) and Mario Duplantier
's mother greatly affected Magma'
s recording process.
In April 2015, the band finished the construction of their New York recording studio, Silver Cord Studio. However, ten days into recording there, Joe and Mario Duplantier learned that their mother had fallen ill, so the band put the recording session on hold. Their mother later died, which had a profound influence on the recording process.
On 4 January 2016, the band posted a video on their YouTube page announcing the new album would be out in spring. That same month, Rolling Stone named the album their sixth-most anticipated album of 2016. On 13 April 2016, the band released a thirty-second video teaser confirming that the album will be titled Magma and would be released 17 June 2016 through Roadrunner Records. They followed this with the release of the first song from Magma, titled "Stranded", on 22 April. The single's music video was directed by Vincent Caldoni. On 20 May 2016, a second song, "Silvera", was released, accompanied by a music video directed by Drew Cox.
Magma was officially released through Roadrunner Records to a generally favorable critical reception, scoring a 79 on Metacritic. The album marked a change in style for the band, with Joe Duplantier experimenting with clean vocals, and with Mario commenting that "this time, we just felt all together that we wanted something straight to the point more. We wanted to change the dynamic." The band toured North America with Tesseract from mid-July through October 2016 in support of the album. In 2016, the band toured the United Kingdom with Alter Bridge, Volbeat, and Like a Storm.
Gojira were nominated for two Grammy awards in 2016. Magma was nominated for Best Rock Album, and its lead single "Silvera" was nominated for Best Metal Performance.
The band played as a supporting act on Metallica's U.S. WorldWired Tour in summer 2017, along with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat.