Gojira: Ranking All 6 Studio Albums

5. Terra Incognita (2001)

Despite spending most of the past seventeen years as an out-of-print rarity, Terra Incognita nails the fundamentals of the Gojira style from the very start. It may have more in common with the mania of death metal names like Death and Morbid Angel than later releases, but the hour-long piece remains heavily loyal to the groove/prog/extreme metal fusion that would fuel its creators for the next two decades.

“Clone”, “Love”, “Blow Me Away You(niverse)” and “Fire Is Everything” are especially effective in introducing the percussive and thundering pomp that would later fuel albums like From Mars to Sirius and L’Enfant sauvage, while the touching instrumental “04” demonstrates Gojira’s clear affinity for the ambient and beautiful.

Since its release, history has relegated Terra Incognita to providing the odd song or two for Gojira’s live setlists, but its obscurity belies its quality and maturity. With the album now more readily available after a 2016 reissue, it would be a brilliant spectacle to experience fiery cuts like “Rise” and “Lizard Skin” permeate a live show with their old-school-inclined and face-melting vigour.

Terra Incognita was a sure-footed start for Gojira, but where the band would eventually end up surpasses even the promise of this underrated debut…

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