From Mars To Sirius

Jackson Pow, Contributor

An album wrapped in some clear and some not-so-obvious metaphors, From Mars To Sirius is the critically acclaimed third studio album of technical Death Metal band Gojira. Released on September 27th, 2005, the album’s title is a reference to the Roman gods Mars and Sirius, the gods of war and peace. While most of Gojira’s albums have included aspects of environmentalism, in From Mars to Sirius the environment is the main theme, along with spirituality. The album roughly follows the protagonist (likely an imprint of Joe Duplantier, the lead vocalist and songwriter) through a fictional future in which their home planet has been (or will be) destroyed, as they search for answers and a new home among the stars. 

Strong feelings of despair, confusion, loneliness, and anger are present throughout the album, although overall the message is one of perseverance and hope. Gojira manages something to do something not many others have done, which is express the genuine emotion that comes with an understanding of global warming. The despair and hopelessness will gnaw at the back of the mind, and these feelings can be difficult to place. Loneliness is also not something that comes to mind when you think of environmentalism, but as famous psychologist and philosopher Carl Gustav Jung once said, “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you”. This is what that album does so well, it communicates the powerful but confounding emotions that come with a nuanced understanding of our world.

From a musical perspective, the album uses almost exclusively guitars and drums. As per most heavy metal derived music, there is both a lead and bass guitar, as well as a rhythm guitar, all of which are heavily distorted. In general, Gojira tends to make use of simpler riffs as a backdrop to contrast with more technically difficult riffs and switch-ups. Drummer Mario Duplantier is excellent at the double bass pedal, and is able to anchor the rhythm quite well. Between the frequent use of the double bass pedal technique and the grind sections of guitar riffs, the music achieves a technical intensity that is impressive even for death metal. The vocals are of a typical death metal style, which is somewhat of an acquired taste. Joe Duplantier displays an impressive level of skill and vocal control, with a mastery over the pitch of his voice and use of vocal fry, as well as the more guttural “death growls” commonly associated with the genre. Despite this technical skill, the vocals ultimately come off as raw and sincere, which I think works out well for the album. Overall, the intensity of the music is very fitting to the emotional intensity of the lyrics. 

 

Between the technical perfection and the emotional impact this album had on me personally, From Mars to Sirius is easily one of my favorite albums of all time. 10/10