LIVE REVIEW: Gojira @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (01/07/2019)

Credit: Emma Stone

Date: July 1st, 2019
Venue: O2 Apollo, Manchester
Support: Rolo Tomassi / Dead Label


Over the past few years, the surge that has been pushing Gojira through the ranks of their metal contemporaries has been quite astounding. The quintet have fast evolved from small contenders to prime candidates of leading metal’s future.

Now six records deep into their career, with the follow-up to 2016’s critically-acclaimed ‘Magma’ being eagerly-awaited, the French metallers are treating the UK to small handful of shows before they deliver any fresh material.

Opening up the third and final date of the run in Manchester are Dead Label [6], who’ve stepped in last minute to replace Black Peaks who pulled out whilst their vocalist Will Gardner focuses on his health. The Irish quartet have an air of early era Bullet For My Valentine to them if they were heavier, thanks to Danny Hall‘s chunky riffs and some impressive work behind the kit from Claire Percival.

We get some dominating low growls from vocalist/bassist, Dan O’ Grady, who does briefly confuse Manchester for London when asking for a wall of death during set closer ‘Pure Chaos’. There’s definitely a bit of tweaking needed from these newcomers, but there’s a solid foundation here for sure.

Mathcore monoliths Rolo Tomassi [9] are up next, and they’ve been around the block more than a few times in their years. Though usually accustomed to smaller stages than they’re on tonight, they manage to consume it for themselves regardless, and songs like ‘Funereal’ and ‘Balancing The Dark’ are as enthralling as they are captivating.

Vocalist Eva Spence elegantly dances as she flips between demonic roars and angelic cleans that almost sound fragile in the midst of the chaotic ‘The Hollow Hour’. ‘A Flood Of Light’ brings the end to a set which is in equal parts an armageddon as it is a tranquil calm. There’s no one else quite like Rolo Tomassi out there today.

It only takes a few moments after Gojira [9] come out and kick into set opener ‘Orbourous’ that the pyro comes out, and indeed it continues to rear its head throughout the French outfit’s set, which sees them take us through cuts throughout pretty much all of their discography to date.

‘Silvera’ and ‘Stranded’ prove that there’s plenty of bite in their more recent cuts, the former of the two in particular gets heads banging and voices soaring, and when compared to something as old as ‘Love’ from their 2001 debut ‘Terra Incognita’ not only is the band’s progression clear, but it also signals how current these throwbacks still sound nearly two decades later.

Indeed, the band also briefly take a look back at how far they’ve come, reminiscing back to their first ever show in Manchester back in 2006 where they performed at the far smaller and dingier Satan’s Hollow. That’s right before the lunge into ‘Flying Whales’, which sounds as ethereal as it does punishing, and results in being one of the set’s most prominent highlights.

Drummer Mario Duplantier takes the spotlight on his own for a little while, delivering a primally driven solo before the band return onto the stage for the final segment of the night. ‘Clone’ gets us right back into the thick of it, complete with Joe Duplantier‘s brutish roars, but it’s by the time we reach set closer ‘The Gift Of Guilt’ that it really rings home that Gojira haven’t even reached their potential yet.

The next decade is going to be an important one for metal and heavy music in general, and you can guarantee that Gojira are going to be one of the biggest names to lead it into a bright and furious future.

A full photo gallery from the event can be found here.

Photos by Emma Stone