Gojira is a band held in high regard by music’s toughest critics, yet commercial success has been harder to achieve. Could their new release “Fortitude” be the album that changes that? Listen in as Ozz chats with frontman Joe Duplantier about their quest to breakthrough on their terms.
Gojira are a French heavy metal band from Ondres. Founded as Godzilla in 1996, the band’s lineup—consisting of brothers Joe (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Mario Duplantier (drums), Christian Andreu (lead guitar), and Jean-Michel Labadie (bass)—has been the same since the band’s name change to Gojira in 2001. Gojira have been known for their style of progressive and technical death metal, and their spiritual and environment-themed lyrics. They have gone “from the utmost obscurity during the first half of their career to widespread global recognition in the second”.
Gojira’s first two albums, Terra Incognita (2001) and The Link (2003), and powerful live performances established their reputation as a leading band of the French metal scene. The band then released the critically acclaimed album From Mars to Sirius (2005), which featured “Backbone”, “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe”, and “Flying Whales”, receiving exposure in the British metal press. Subsequently, Gojira signed with Prosthetic, the label that gave them visibility in North America. The follow-up album, The Way of All Flesh (2008), marked the first time Gojira charted on the Billboard 200.
In 2011, Gojira signed to Roadrunner Records. The band released L’Enfant Sauvage (2012) and Magma (2016), which peaked at number thirty-four and twenty-four respectively on the Billboard 200. Gojira would put aside their death metal in favor of concision on Magma, an album which found the band breaking through commercially, introducing their music to a broader audience. The chart-topping Fortitude (2021) was the best-selling album in pure sales in the US during its first week. With the DIY ethic, Gojira produce their albums themselves at their own recording studios in France and New York City.
Gojira have released seven studio albums, three live DVDs and are the first French band to have topped the BillboardHard Rock Albums chart. The band are considered one of France’s most successful exports in the US. Gojira have received Grammy nominations for Best Rock Album for their album Magma and Best Metal Performance for its single “Silvera”. The band holds the record for the loudest concert and sound ever recorded at the Stade de France. Throughout their career, Gojira have been involved in environmental and animal rights activism.