Concert preview: Gojira embraces its inner wild child on L’Enfant Sauvage

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From the November 14, 2013 edition

L’Enfant Sauvage (translation: The Wild Child), the latest album from French metal masters Gojira, was inspired, in part, by the 1970 Francois Truffaut film of the same name.

In the movie, a young boy raised in the wilderness with little or no human contact is taken in by a family and gradually becomes socialized. In Gojira’s estimation, however, this development isn’t necessarily a good thing.

“The shame and sorrow, self-condemnation/Fill all the gaps and the spaces,” bellows Joe Duplantier on the thundering “The Gift of Guilt.” “The vital core is gone!”

“I saw the movie when I was young and I remember it was a shock for me,” said drummer Mario Duplantier, 32, in a recent phone interview. “We enjoyed the idea behind the movie, but we had our own interpretation.”

So while Truffaut presents a vague or even slightly optimistic view of modern society’s influence, Gojira, which opens for Slayer at the LC Pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 17, tends to view it as a destructive force that breaks our bond with the Earth and leaves us detached, corrupted and adrift. For this reason, Joe Duplantier spent nearly a year living in the French wilderness back in 2001, determined to reestablish a bond with his natural surroundings.

“He is the wild child, I think,” Mario Duplantier said, and laughed. “He built his own little cabin and lived without electricity by a lake in the forest.”

The brothers developed a strong attachment to the environment growing up in southwest of France, an idyllic setting bordered by mountains and the ocean, which explains why the band’s music frequently has more conservationist leanings (if the Lorax ever started his own metal band he’d almost certainly cover Gojira’s “Toxic Garbage Island”).

“It was our place to play when we were [children], so there’s totally a link between our ecological conscious and the place we grew up,” said Mario Duplantier, who was raised by an artist father and a yoga instructor mother. “It is wild, and has an amazing energy.”

The drummer described similar sensations discussing his first teenage brush with metal, and he said he was initially drawn in by the music’s equally untamed nature.

“I love the fact it’s so powerful, because life is powerful,” he said. “It comes from the gut [and] … you can be a bit crazy, like a beast.”

Gabrielle Duplantier photo