Gojira – The Flesh Alive DVD

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Review by Jason Guest

Gojira fans are in for a treat. This limited edition deluxe package contains two DVDs, a CD, a poster and a booklet. Impressively designed, Gojira have spoiled their fans with this generous package.

The first of the two DVDs features a gig from the Garorock festival and captures the power and intensity of a Gojira gig on a grand scale. Well-filmed, the DVD’s audio and visual quality is outstanding, crystal clear, and when played through a surround system is monstrous. To begin with, the editing is paced maybe a little too rapidly to feel the full impact of the show in a home setting but it does tend to slow to a pace as the show progresses and makes for a much better experience.  The bonus footage from Les Vieilles Charrues may be just three tracks but they are not included in either of the other two performances in this set and are, in the proper use of the term, a bonus. The conventional filming also gives the viewer the opportunity to view the band’s impressive backdrops.

The gig on the second DVD is from a performance in a club in Bordeaux. With a set list that’s almost identical to the Garorock gig, you may well wonder why they included this gig at all. The main – and most significant – difference is that this gig is in a smaller venue and is filmed and edited in a more conventional manner than the festival show on disc one. As such it makes for easier and more, shall we say, “comfortable” viewing. As with the first disc, the audio is top notch and that pleasurable discomfort of a Gojira gig is at its most effective when the volume is cranked through a surround system.

The second part of the second DVD is saved for a documentary, The Way of All Flesh From the Inside. The easy approach would be for the band to have provided a track-by-track breakdown of the writing and recording of their fantastic album The Way of All Flesh. Though that would have been appealing, this documentary consists of footage from every aspect of the band’s life during the cycle of the album and makes for an interesting watch that though it wears a bit thin here and there, gives an insight into the life of one of the best bands that the 21st century has produced. There’s arty footage interspersed with the recording of the album, sorting the tracklist for the album, rehearsals, pre- and post-gig footage, roadies lugging gear around, the band in such surroundings as their humble studio, and excerpts from an intimate club show where the band tries out new material in front of a small crowd. The last fifteen or so minutes is made up of footage from their support slot on the Metallica tour. Here, both the trepidation and jubilation of the band is near-tangible and demonstrates the capacity of a band that have deservedly come a long way and continue to grow in terms of musicianship and popularity.

And as if the two DVDs and three live performances aren’t enough, Gojira have thrown in a third disc, a live CD that features a sixty five minute set that is of equal quality in terms of production, sound and performance. The packaging is a foldout DVD case with a booklet of writing and production credits and a poster in with the three discs. As much as credit must be given to all involved in this excellent packages production, the booklet could’ve benefitted from something extra, something additional to the three excellent performances, maybe an outline by the band of the album’s development and their thoughts on the album’s cycle from writing through recording, release, and performance. Such a minor detail is negligible because  Gojira are spoiling us with what’s here. In short, this is a necessity for fans of Gojira and a worthy introduction for those just discovering this phenomenal band.

8 out of 10

Track listing:

  • DVD 1:

Garorock (93 min): Oroborus, The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe, Backbone, Love, From The Sky, A Sight To Behold, The Art Of Dying, Drum Solo, Clone, Flying Whales, The Way Of All Flesh, Terra Incognita, Vacuity.

Les Vieilles Charrues (15 min): Indians, Toxic Garbage Island, World To Come.

  • DVD 2:

Bordeaux (80 min): Oroborus, The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe, Backbone, Love, From The Sky, A Sight To Behold, The Art Of Dying, Drum Solo, Clone,Flying Whales, Toxic Garbage Island, The Way Of All Flesh, Terra Incognita, Vacuity.

Documentary: The Way Of All Flesh from the inside (62 min) Eexclusive behind the scenes footage.

  • CD (65 min, with screensavers):

Intro, Oroborus, The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe, Backbone, Love, From The Sky, A Sight To Behold, The Art Of Dying, Clone, Flying Whales, The Way Of All Flesh, Terra Incognita, Vacuity.