From Mars to Sirius is the third album by French progressive death metal
. It was released in 2005 to Prosthetic Records, and was the album that brought worldwide exposure to the band after albums Terra Incognita
and The Link
. Gojira is from Bayonne, and consists of Joe Duplantier (vocalist/guitarist), Mario Duplantier (drummer), Christian Andreu (guitarist), and Jean-Michel Labadie (bassist).
Gojira's breakthrough record is a concept album dealing with global warming and environmentalism. Some songs address this explicitly, while others serve to form a surreal science fiction story. In the story, the narrator embarks on a journey through space to find great, god-like beings he calls the "Flying Whales," who he hopes can teach him and guide him. It is implied that the Flying Whales helped man long ago when it became apparent that the Earth was ruined. Man took to the skies and relocated to Mars, and the Whales disappeared. The narrator finds a sort of second Earth in the system Sirius C (the actual existence of which is debated), though the people he had left behind had told him it was a futile search. The narrative ends at the start of the twelfth and final track, Global Warming, and the unreal story is brought down to Earth, quite literally.
I had this dream, our planet surviving./The guiding stars always growing.
And all the worlds, the fates, all the countries,/They're all rebuilding at the same time.
The story of whales and interplanetary travel is swept aside now, and the message is clear to the listener. The environment is in trouble, and if we don't take drastic steps
and make some heavy changes, we are going to ruin the planet. The lyrics address the difficulty of our next moves in regards to environmental concerns
. In the songs World To Come, From Mars, and To Sirius, the narrator tells how no one had faith
in his quest for a new world. No one thought it was even possible, and they settled for a barren ball
of rock. It's not hard to apply the same words to the people of today. As the last song fades out with the echoing words, "we will see/Our children growing
," the listener is left with the warning that certain practices will have to change or stop, but there is that reassuring glimmer of hope.
With From Mars To Sirius, Gojira tell an allegorical story that entertains but also hits home. It's a topical issue, wrapped in a fantastic, imaginative tale. What's more, the music is great. I'm not a death metal fan by any means, but when I first heard From Mars to Sirius I listened to it constantly. It's very accessible to new listeners of the genre. The vocals do come off as angry, but given the subject matter - the threat of a dying world - it isn't a pointless, aimless angst like so many metal bands have. More often it comes off as passionate. It isn't a violent attack from start to finish, either. Occasionally there will be a gentle interlude that surfaces amidst the thundering drums and guitars, and samples of whale song are quite prevalent throughout certain songs.
1. Ocean Planet (5:32)
2. Backbone (4:18)
3. From the Sky (5:48)
4. Unicorn (2:09)
5. Where Dragons Dwell (6:54)
6. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe (3:57)
7. Flying Whales (7:44)
8. In the Wilderness (7:47)
9. World to Come (6:52)
10. From Mars (2:24)
11. To Sirius (5:37)
12. Global Warming (7:50)
The use of whale song coupled with the characterization of ecological spirits as flying whales has lead some fans to jokingly refer to Gojira as "whalecore", along with Mastodon's album Remission and the funeral doom band Ahab. Both Remission and Ahab are based on Moby-Dick. Whalecore is just one example of a recent string of joke subgenres, the idea of which arose due to the frenzy of classifying nearly every band with its own ultra-specific genre. This practice, which became popular in the 00s, started as a simple attempt to organize the world of music, but quickly got out of hand as people failed to realize the futility of grouping bands together beyond a vague description. Joke subgenres focus on superficial details to connect one band to another, making the point that earnest subgenres rely on the same method. "Beardcore" (Iron & Wine, Devendra Banhart) is another example.
From Mars To Sirius - Gojira - 2006 - Prosthetic Records