Two years ago when Gojira sub-headlined the Saturday night of Bloodstock, they blew bill-toppers Mastodon clear off the stage in a serious statement of intent. Now, 24 months later, they’re closing the show and there’s not even a whiff of trepidation in the air. Everyone has been talking about Gojira all weekend because they know it’s going to be magnificent. It has to be. And it most certainly is.
The downpour during Cannibal Corpse an hour previous has thinned the main stage crowd somewhat, but there is an ocean of poncho-clad metalheads ready to submerge themselves in Gojira’s brand of hulking progressive metal.
Last time the French four-piece played here they had just unleashed the monolithic masterpiece Magma, and tonight’s set leans heavily on the latest album, in stark contrast to Judas Priest the night previous and Sunday headliners Nightwish who are playing their career-spanning Decades set. Gojira are obviously proud of the record, and it speaks volumes about Bloodstock’s desire for fresh takes on heavy metal that the likes of Silvera and The Cell are met with a deafening reception.
Despite releasing their debut album some 17 years ago, Gojira are still considered a new band by metal standards, and for Bloodstock to elevate them to headliner status seemingly on the basis of their bulldozing performance in 2016, it’s something we as metal fans should celebrate. A band bridging the gap between extreme and progressive metal have ploughed away for over two decades, carving themselves a niche, honing their craft and slowly gaining the momentum and acclaim to move into these coveted spots. This is just as much a win for the band as it is for their fans.
And the band are not here to fuck around. The pyro budget must be astronomical as we’re blasted with fire, CO2, confetti and fireworks barely four songs into the 90-minute set. Everyone has forgotten about Priest last night, as Bloodstock stands in wonderment, staring at the fearless dominance onstage. From The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe to L’Enfant Sauvage, Gojira make it look effortless, seamlessly moving from pristine instrumentals to crushing heaviness, threatening to swallow the inflatable whale-waving crowd in one gulp.
There is nothing Gojira could do to improve tonight, unless they felt like doing it all again five minutes later. They came, they saw, they conquered, and hopefully they’ll be back to do it all again soon. Gojira are one of us and after planting their flag at Bloodstock two years ago, they are back today to claim the entire festival as their own. They’re one of the best bands on the planet and we should cherish them as such.
The Heaviest Matter In The Universe
The Shooting Star
Toxic Garbage Island
The Gift Of Guilt