Gojira’s seventh album, Fortitude, is a watershed release for the both the band and for metal in 2021. One of the most striking things about the album beyond the music is its enigmatic artwork, created by frontman Joe Duplantier.
As part of this month’s exclusive Metal Hammer cover feature with the band, the magazine’s Deputy Editor Eleanor Goodman spoke to Joe and his brother, Gojira drummer Mario Duplantier, about the meaning of the artwork - and the inspiration behind it.
“We had the title, we knew we wanted to call the album Fortitude,” says Joe. “People will understand why it’s called Fortitude when they read the lyrics. [For the cover], I wanted to represent an indigenous person, because a lot of the album is a tribute to indigenous communities – I wanted to represent that aspect.”
For inspiration, Mario showed his brother several paintings and pieces of art. Among them was Pallas Athena, an 1898 painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.
“It’s a beautiful painting,” says Joe. “He showed me some more examples of warriors and knights, and the artwork ended up being the Knights Of The Round Table mixed with indigenous culture.”
“It represents the spirit of the album.” adds Mario, who also paints. “Joe asked me, ‘Do you want to draw something?’ I said, ‘No, no, it’s your role, because you’re the one putting the words together. The words and the visuals fit so well together.”
The drummer adds that there’s a visual link between many Gojira album sleeves. “I do like the fact that there is a line between The Link, From Mars To Sirius, The Way Of All Flesh, L’Enfant Sauvage and this one. And there’s a spirit behind the technique of the drawing as well – it’s like a mask for the people who enjoy the music. It’s very comforting.”
You can read the full interview with the Duplantier brothers in the brand new issue of Metal Hammer, out now.