The doors of the Limelight were thrown open early on Thursday for an evening of metal madness, courtesy of French progressive death metal kings Gojira.
County Kildare’s Dead Label were first to grace the stage, drawing together old school metal and thrash influences to “redefine the modern thrash metal template”. Their opening tribal Sepultura style riff slithered through the crowd as they blasted new song “Salvation in Sacrifice” and title track from their first album Sense of Slaughter. Further sludge influences were notable as Dan O’Grady’s gutsy growls penetrated through their brutal breakdowns; Danny’s simple yet brutal riffs were interspersed by drummer Claire Percivals incredible double kick, reverberating through the venue, and probably the majority of Belfast.
It was difficult to believe that was a three piece standing up there – the amount of power and energy created on stage was mind blowing, and definitely set a high bar for Gojira to follow. Dead Label exited, leaving a beer thirsty crowd with necks suitable warmed gagging for more.
The crowd had multiplied and the excitement intensified as Gojira stepped onstage. Met with a solidarity metal – horned salute, four silhouettes stood against smoky blue lights and erupted into ‘Oceans Planets’. Flashes of white light pierced the audience with each deep bass chug-chugga-chug forcing and vibrating through my body. To say that it was atmospheric would be a considerable understatement. L’Enfant Sauvage’s “The Axe” filled the room with not only an impenetrable sound, but also a heightening sense of collectivism within the crowd.
Their devotedness continued to grow and expand through “Heaviest Matter in the Universe” and “Backbone”, both off their 2005 album ‘From Mars to Sirus’. Their lyrics of transcendence, hope, light, and the metaphysical further elevated the sense of positivity felt at the gig, and this unified feeling within the crowd made it feel truly intimate, particularly in ‘Backbone’ – a clear favourite judging by everyone’s reaction.
After a ‘thank you’ from the band and the crowds chorus of a few “hey hey heys”, Gojira continues dominating the Limelight with further tunage off L’Enfants and ‘Way of the Flesh’. Joe Duplantier’s screaming vocals over Mario Duplantier’s drums alongside their intricate time signatures and ridiculous rhythms assert their stage dominance further; this set against the (still) deep blue stage lights and collective clapping crescendo to a white flash.
Joe thanks us again for being so fantastic, to which we respond with an obligatory ‘yeeooo’ – to which we are thanked again by an impressive drum solo. A green flash filled the room, setting off the first of the crowd surfers and plummets the audience into ‘Flying Whales’, undoubtedly one of their favourites judging by the reaction. The place was blown apart, and those rocking their necks soon found their whole bodies uncontrollable as Gojira unleashed an 8 minute epic.
Finishing with thrashy number “Wisdom Comes” from their second album, and finally “Vacuity”, they exited before coming back for a three song encore. After an incredible set list, playing an extensive discography off four of their albums, Gojira ended as they began – four silhouettes standing and commanding Limelight in front of those red and blue lights. An aural, visual, emotional, and mental assault on the senses, and one that will be imprinted on a lot of the attendees memories for a while. Natasha Kennedy, GiggingNI.com