Concert Review – Gojira & Deftones (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/22/2022)

A great night of Progressive, Groove and Alternative Metal in Toronto almost ruined by the total lack of organization and respect for customers by Live Nation.

INTRODUCTION: No VOWWS, and a massive headache caused by Live Nation

The only word I can use to start this review is “nightmare”. All the happiness from the moment I knew Australian Death Pop duo VOWWS was not opening for GOJIRA and DEFTONES at the Budweiser Stage, which meant more Gojira for me, simply vanished when I arrived at the venue and saw the massive line formed for what the so-called organization decided to do to reassign seats based on a “first come first serve” basis that absolutely NO ONE was informed beforehand. I bought floor tickets because I hate seats, and to my surprise I was assigned to seats at the 200 level. It’s like ordering a pizza but receiving a burger instead because “the pizza is over”, right? Not only that, seats at the Budweiser Stage are AT LEAST 40-50% cheaper than floor tickets, so not only I got a burger, but it was one 50% cheaper than the pizza I paid for. Live Nation is the sole responsible for such mess when they decided to move the concert from the RBC Echo Beach (which is basically a huge floor section with no seats) to the Budweiser Stage, and if you’re pissed off just like I am, I highly recommend you submit a huge complaint about the whole situation by EMAIL to Live Nation including your order details, screenshots of your tickets and anything else you might want to send them. This is absolutely ridiculous, and we should receive some sort of refund for their total lack of organization and respect for their customers.

GOJIRA

Moving on to the concerts, although I was completely disappointed and pissed off with our stupid seats, at least France’s own Progressive/Groove Metal masters GOJIRA were capable of reducing my stress considerably with another flawless performance in the city. Mixing some of their classics such as Backbone, Stranded, Flying Whales and Silvera with songs from their latest album Fortitude, including the fantastic Born for One Thing and Amazonia, the quartet comprised of the Duplantier brothers Joe and Mario, plus bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and guest guitarist Aldrick Guadagnino  of KLONE (as Christian Andreu returned home to be present with his first newborn child), inspired the fans in the floor section (not in the seats, of course, which made me even more furious) to jump up and down and slam into the circle pit nonstop during their longer set as VOWWS wasn’t there, as mentioned. Mario is a beast behind his drums, proving why he’s a reference to any rock and metal drummer these days, while also interacting with the audience all the time and throwing lots of drumsticks to the fans during the entire concert. To the floor section fans, of course.

Setlist
Born for One Thing
Backbone
Stranded
Flying Whales
The Cell
Love / Remembrance
Hold On
Grind
Silvera
L’enfant Sauvage
Amazonia
The Gift of Guilt

Band members
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums

DEFTONES

After a somewhat lengthy break, it was time for Sacramento, California-based Alternative Metal trailblazers DEFTONES to mesmerize their loyal and supportive fans with a long and very dynamic setlist that traveled through all of their albums until their most recent opus Ohms, released in 2020. Songs like Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), Swerve City, Change (In the House of Flies) and my favorite of the night, My Own Summer (Shove It), drove the crowd crazy and, for the ones who could make it to the floor section (and sorry for repeating this a thousand times, but I’m really pissed off with what Live Nation did to me and to so many others), the whole concert turned into a massive rock and metal party spearheaded by the band’s charismatic frontman Chino Moreno. And what to say about their lighting? It was a thing of beauty, adding an extra touch of insanity and passion to their solid performance. I’m beyond certain Deftones will return to Toronto several times due to the standing ovation they received from the fans when the concert was over at the Budweiser Stage this Sunday, and hopefully next time EVERYONE who bought GENERAL ADMISSION tickets can actually be in the floor section to jump and enter the circle pits freely without being stuck in a tiny, very uncomfortable and, above all that, unsolicited chair.

Setlist
Pompeji (outro)
Genesis
Rocket Skates
Prayers/Triangles
Royal
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Tempest
Swerve City
Digital Bath
Knife Prty
Beware
Sextape
Diamond Eyes
Rosemary
Bloody Cape
Change (In the House of Flies)
Ohms

Encore:
Lotion
7 Words

Band members
Chino Moreno – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Stephen Carpenter – lead guitar
Lance Jackman – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Fred Sablan – bass, backing vocals
Frank Delgado – keyboards, turntables, samples
Abe Cunningham – drums

Album Review – Gojira / Fortitude (2021)

Let’s all face up the world to the sound of the new masterpiece by one of the most dynamic, creative and thrilling bands of the current metal scene.

4.5rating

gojira-fortitude-2021Recorded at the famous Silver Cord Studio in New York City, the amazing Fortitude, the seventh studio opus by French Progressive/Groove Metal giants Gojira and the follow-up to their 2016 critically-acclaimed album Magma, is considered by the band a “groovy, aerated album” inspired as an encouragement to self-reinforcement, “to show courage to face up the world, to face tomorrow’s problems,” and after listening to each and every track from the album you’ll realize vocalist and guitarist Joe Duplantier, guitarist Christian Andreu, bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and drummer Mario Duplantier simply nailed it. According to Joe, the album’s title Fortitude “is to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and to be strong no matter what”, while the cover art, which represents “the spirit of the album”, was designed and painted by Joe himself. His brother Mario brought him various paintings of warriors and knights and showed him Pallas Athena, an 1898 oil-on-canvas painting by Gustav Klimt, and Knights of the Round Table. As he wanted to represent an indigenous person, it ended with his own interpretation of all these elements.

Their progressive vein explodes into sheer electricity in the opening tune Born for One Thing, with Mario proving why he’s one of the best metal drummers of the current scene. Put differently, it’s pure Gojira to properly kick things off, followed by the stunning Amazonia, where the band’s trademark metal is infused with local elements from the Brazilian culture for our total delight. Furthermore, it’s impossible not to sing along its lyrics with Joe (“There’s fire in the sky / You’re in the Amazon / The greatest miracle / Is burning to the ground / Godly Amazonia / Bloody Amazonia / Mighty Amazonia / Killing Amazonia”); and Joe and Christian keep kicking ass with their wicked riffage in Another World, another classic tune by the quartet perfect for banging our heads nonstop, not to mention how in sync Jean-Michel and Mario are with their heavy kitchen. Hold On is a more atmospheric and experimental composition by Gojira, bringing forward rhythmic beats, slashing riffs and the always visceral vocals by Joe, whereas in New Found we’re treated to strident, piercing riffs that only those French metallers can provide us all, feeling like it was taken from their 2005 cult album From Mars to Sirius. Needless to say, the Duplantier Brothers are on fire with their crushing vocals and pounding beats.

The title-track Fortitude is one of those classic Gojira interludes, an enfolding acoustic sound to soothe our souls before the beautiful The Chant fills outevery single space in the air, showcasing the band’s trademark, meaningful words (“You were told to swallow crawl and hide / Victims of fear and deception / Get ahold of yourself rise above / The better part of you, immortal”) amidst a lesson in Progressive Rock and Metal; and their sharp guitars come ripping in the neck-breaking Sphinx, where Joel invests into darker vocal lines accompanied by the vicious drums by Mario, not to mention how metallic the bass by Jean-Michel sounds. Let’s keep banging our heads to the fantastic Heavy Metal blasted by Gojira in Into the Storm, where the quartet enhances the epicness in their music considerably, resulting in a massive creation that will please all fans of the band, whereas slowing things down a bit and sounding more melancholic and somber than before it’s time for The Trails, a very introspective song spearheaded by Joe’s cryptic vocals. Lastly, slashing our ears mercilessly the band fires the awesome Grind, where Mario showcases all his dexterity behind his drums accompanied by the electrifying riffage by Joe and Christian, therefore ending the album on a kick-ass, piercing Progressive Metal note. In addition, if you’re lucky enough to find the Japanese edition of the album, you’ll be treated to three bonus songs (Silvera, Backbone and Pray) recorded live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the United States on May 11, 2017.

gojira-2021Are you ready to have your mind and soul hypnotized by the unparalleled music brought into being by one of the biggest names of the current metal scene worldwide? If your answer is yes, you can enjoy Fortitude in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy or stream such fantastic album. Also, don’t forget to follow Gojira on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates, initiatives they’re involved with, and so on, also subscribing to their YouTube channel for more of their music and other exclusive footage. As aforementioned, those French metallers wanted to create an album that would help us face our problems, our monsters and inner demons, and it’s impressive how they managed to do so without abandoning their core musical essence, providing us fans of Heavy Metal what’s perhaps the best album of 2021, an year where we lost so much but that at the same time is giving us some hope to keep moving forward.

Best moments of the album: Amazonia, New Found, Sphinx, Into the Storm and Grind.

Worst moments of the album: The Trails.

Released in 2021 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. Born for One Thing 4:20
2. Amazonia 5:00
3. Another World 4:24
4. Hold On 5:30
5.New Found 6:36
6. Fortitude 2:07
7. The Chant 5:12
8. Sphinx 4:00
9. Into the Storm 5:02
10. The Trails 4:07
11. Grind 5:34

Japanese Edition bonus tracks
12. Silvera (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 3:57
13. Backbone (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 6:23
14. Pray (live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre 2017) 10:20

Band members
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums

Guest musician
Adriana Vanella – vocals on “Amazonia”