The first time I listened to Gojira, it was a refreshing departure from the more or less archetypical sound of the modern 'extreme' metal scene ("New Wave of American Heavy Metal"). Their chops certainly stood out with their use of changing time signatures, poly-ryhthmic syncopations, and technically demanding arrangments.
The Way of All Flesh is still undenaibly Gojira, with the implementation of the aforementioned qualities as well as their now trademark use of accenting pinch harmonics, glass-like pick slides, and tribal percussion interludes. And while their approach largely sticks to this formula, Gojira's latest release lacks both the itensity and that Terra Incognita possesed and the subtlene nuances and hooky riffs on From Sirius to Mars.
Merely having the components, like some kind of formula, that made previous releases catchy and interesting is not enough to make a follow-up record a winner. Gojira seems seems to have made a conscious effort to streamline their sound on The Way of All Flesh. That's not to say the release is by any means some kind of alt. metal or "mallcore" album, but it's easy to see where their headspace is going towards with the guest appearance of popular Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe on "All the Tears" and campy song titles like "Toxic Garbage Island."
The songs as whole have a noticeably more accessible, mainstream vibe to them, lacking the spastic, stop-start fretwork of previous efforts. Although I've never been against low speed metal, the band seems less able to use the room afforded by the slower tempos to let their instruments breathe and creatively fill the space on this one, ultimately giving the record a plodding, overly mediocre vibe.
The Way of All Flesh is certainly not a record that I couldn't listen to or would consider poor. But as with many bands who start getting exposure to the media, the spark that made previous efforts fresh and interesting seems to diminish proportionately. Gojira's muscianship is certainly competent, and I would still consider this to be a technical record, but at the cost of their former creativity.
also review of: From
Mars To Sirius